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Ultraverse Revisited: Early House Ads August 1993

ultraverse_revisited

Here are house ads from the third month of the Ultraverse line: August 1993! We have one full-page and one split-page ad for actual Ultraverse titles, one for the "other" group of Malibu titles (that preceded the Ultraverse line), and then the "Ultrafiles" pages which were all the same across the various titles.

ultraverse_ads_firearm

I’m almost certain this ad was the first I saw of the Firearm character. It’s certainly (to me) an "iconic" image–something far too lacking in modern comics! This title would be one featuring a "non-Ultra" dealing with a world of Ultras. Though I recognize James Robinson now by name, the name didn’t stand out whatsoever to me in 1993, where I barely knew creator names.

I like the continued "tag line" nature of text on the ad…this would be right at home on an ’80s/’90s action flick.

ultraverse_ads_hardcase_strangers_prime_04s

This is the first of the house ads to 1. feature multiple titles and 2. be for something other than a #1 issue. I like the use of the single page to show off three titles. Not every issue needs a full page, but seeing the stuff at all puts it or keeps it "on the radar" as well as showing at least part of an image to be on the watch for, in terms of covers.

As with text on other ads, getting a "blurb" about the issues goes a long way in letting one know what to expect, to be "sold" on an issue along with having art from the cover(s).

ultraverse_ads_genesis

Genesis is not Ultraverse, but IS Malibu. I’m nearly certain this ad is what put most of these titles on my mental radar as a kid. To this day, I don’t think I’ve gotten all chapters of this Genesis story arc, but I’ve certainly meant to, and probably have several duplicates by way of getting issues when I’ve seen them in bargain bins.

Though this "line" went away not long after the Ultraverse hit, it’s one that I’ve contemplated digging into as a "finite universe" of issues. Whether I’ve known it in the past or not, I don’t consciously recall details about bringing these titles together as a group vs. the fresh launch of the Ultraverse, but that’s a topic I’ll surely research later for my own curiosity.

ultrafiles_august1993a

Some things never change, and it’s interesting to me to see this "time capsule" bit of having to "pre-order" comics at a local shop to be able to get a copy.

ultrafiles_august1993b

With only six covers displayed across the bottom of these pages, we’re missing the Hardcase cover. Not a huuuuge deal, but I would think with so few titles it could be worked in somewhere.

The "preview" of the Wrath character on this second page is interesting: at first glance I thought it was Marvel‘s Omega Red. I’m sure it’s the hair/color and the red/white color scheme. Also, this is from the ’90s, where many visual designs seemed to feed off each other as ‘trends’ and such.


And here we are–another "month" of Ultraverse books completed! Not many house ads this time around, and I noticed that none of the titles had an ad for The Solution, which also premieres in the September 1993 group with Firearm. I strongly suspect that is part of how I initially missed the title. The ads certainly helped cement the first issue covers as "iconic" for me, and so it’s odd that one title out of 8 or so got "left out."

NEXT WEEK: I’ll begin Month #4 of the Ultraverse with titles released for September 1993!

ultraverse_early_house_ads_august1993_blogtrailer

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Ultraverse Revisited: Early House Ads July 1993

ultraverse_revisited

Here are house ads from the second month of the Ultraverse line: July 1993! We have two with dates, one without…and then the "Ultrafiles" pages which were all the same this month across all five titles.

ultraverse_ads_prototype

I’m pretty sure that this one for Prototype is my favorite of the month’s ads. There’s just something to the design of the armor that I really like, and I swear this scanned image doesn’t do the print version justice…there’s just something I really like about the coloring. And as with many ads for comics, I really, really like the fact that the promo image basically IS the cover of the first issue. This shows us the character, as well as the image to look for to get the actual comic itself!

Helpful as the "text boxes" may have been on the first round of ads, I find the "tagline" format to be more effective here, making the ad more of a poster image than something in a pamphlet.

ultraverse_ads_exiles

Fighting to Save Themselves From Mankind and Mankind From Itself. Another large-font, central sort of tagline for a new title. Exiles gave us another super-team (seemed the Ultraverse was full of those!) and definitely has a very ’90s look from the ad.

ultraverse_ads_rune

Lacking both tagline AND text box, we have this add with some character and the small Rune logo serving almost as a signature, with the large-text format of Barry Windsor-Smith. This also lacked any date. So we had this image of something called Rune, associated with BWS, and based on other ads, one would only assume this was another title or such "coming soon."

Of course, years later, it’s interesting to look back on it, especially knowing that October 1993 became "Rune Month" with a 3-page story-chunk as flipbooks to the month’s issues, that collectively made up the contents to a Rune #0 issue, with coupons to send away for the standalone #0 issue as its own thing. But more on that in posts to come, as the house ads get closer to the ‘event’ itself.

ultrafiles_july1993a

Where text was swapped out for the Ultrafiles pages to make them unique to each title in the June 1993 issues, for July 1993 they seemed to all be exactly the same, and show all 5 titles out for Ultraverse month #2. The first page (above) is the "Ultratorial #2."

ultrafiles_july1993b

…while the second Ultrafiles page has quick quotes from the creators on the two new additions to the line: Freex and Mantra.

I really like these pages as a common piece across all titles, as well as the "checklist" of showing the covers of the month’s issues. And again, this was a time when the vast majority of comics DID only have one cover…or the "variant" was some sort of spot-coloring or foil in place of color or the presence or not of a UPC box. Not completely different art pieces!

Essentially, the issues thus showed off all of the current month’s titles, plus most of the  issues had full-page ads for the next month’s new series’ debuts. One would not even need the internet or such to know what they’re looking for in shops; one has what one needs from the actual single issue…NO "homework" required.

ultraverse_early_house_ads_july1993_blogtrailer

Marvel Universe Series IV Revisited, Part 20

This page of cards is a bit more interesting looking back, as being a bit more relevant to comics I was reading at the time, or within a couple years of this set.

Ghost Rider vs. Blaze, Hulk vs. Hulk, Spider-Man and Cardiac, Punisher and Ghost Rider, Wolverine and Omega Red, Cable and Deadpool all grab my attention just by concept. Hulk vs. X-Factor grabs my attention now due to knowing both were being written by Peter David at the time…though that was something I had not yet come to notice in 1993. At the time, other than perhaps the Superman books’ writers and Alex Ross on Marvels, I really didn’t have much concept of specific writers and artists.

In 2013 with the internet and such, it seems rather silly to have a checklist card, when one could likely very easily look up a “checklist” online for what cards exist. Back in ’93, though, this was an extremely valuable resource for knowing how many cards there were and what they were, in the holes in my collection. The checklist card was–outside of seeing cards for sale at the comic shop–the only real means of seeing the set as a whole.

Nowadays I would certainly feel a certain bit of disconcertment over having a “wasted slot” in a card pack taken up by a checklist.

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Marvel Universe Series IV Revisited, Part 19

While informative, I don’t have all that much to say about this page of cards, except that I probably referred to the Warlock vs. Man Beast card when I got into the Warlock character a couple years later; and though I’m aware of some of these conflicts, they don’t particularly interest me on the whole.

Still, I definitely like that these cards had a bit of informative substance on the backs rather than simply listing an issue # of battle and leaving it at that.

Some of these are a bit of “history” that’s held to this day, I think…while others have mostly faded to just being objects of their time.

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Marvel Universe Series IV Revisited, Part 18

I’m pretty sure that for the longest time, the X-Cutioner’s Song card was the primary information that I had on the story; same for the Infinity War. I have yet to actually read the Spirits of Venom story, nor the Hulk vs. Leader (though I’ve snagged a couple copies of the issue referenced from bargain bins, for the shiny cover!)

These ‘Famous Battles’ cards continue to be some of the more substantive cards of the set, as well as being interesting reference points looking back…to me, most notably the Wolverine vs. Cyber card, and realizing how relatively “young” that conflict was at the time and even leading up to what happened with Cyber in the run-up to Wolverine #100 shortly after the Age of Apocalypse stuff.

Not a whole lot of worthwhile thoughts to say about these beyond that…

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Marvel Universe Series IV Revisited, Part 17

There’s not really a whole lot to say about these cards, except that they were among some of the most informative cards of the set, for me, detailing the various conflicts, which included background on some of the characters and their relations to one another.

I think of these nine, my favorite cards are the Spider-Man vs. Carnage, Cable vs. Stryve, Wolverine vs. Sabretooth, and Spider-Man vs. Venom.

Additionally, the War Machine card reminds me that I have yet to read the issue and “experience” Iron Man of this period rather than being aware of Iron Man of this period.

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Marvel Universe Series IV Revisited, Part 16

I’ve commented mostly on the visual/art side of the cards in this set so far…I don’t care at all really about the “stats” given to the characters, and kind of had a blind eye to the lack of truly informative value of backgrounds for the characters…at least they had the first appearance listed, team affiliation, and a random factoid for context.

But with these 9 cards we actually get some real “meat” in the way of text with some detail about the “mysteries.”

These all were mysteries in 1993 when these cards were published. In the 20 years since then, I’m pretty well aware of the revealed origin of Wolverine (Origin); the background of Cable (Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, The Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, and much of Cable’s own series); that more was touched on with Ghost Rider in his series and the Midnight Sons stuff; we’ve had Onslaught as I believe the “official” revelation of the X-Traitor (Xavier himself), though the issue was brought up again in Messiah Complex with Bishop turned into a villain. I’m not sure if we’ve seen Doom’s face as yet.

I believe that the sixth member of the Infinity Watch was actually revealed in 1992 as Thanos, unless the Reality gem was passed to someone else after the Magus rather than given back to Thanos.

I remember being disappointed at the revelation of Spider-Man’s parents and the involvement of Norman Osborn. And while I believe I own the arc, I have yet to read the actual issues with Nightcrawler’s “true” origin, though I’m aware of it, as penned by Chuck Austen.

Other than the discrepancy on the Infinity Watch, these are–to me–some of the better cards in the set, simply for there being more TO them than the single-character cards.

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