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Ultraverse Revisited: Early House Ads


Here are several early "house ads" for the first few Ultraverse titles, plus the "Ultratorials" from Prime, Hardcase, and The Strangers #1s.


For me, one of the most noticeable differences from ad to print with Prime was the title logo–the lower portion was removed, and the cover of the first issue features only the full, heroic Prime–not the two-stage transformative part next to it.

The text description sorta fits what I remember, in the "hype" sense, but doesn’t feel entirely accurate on the first issue in particular.


This Strangers ad is the image for the first issue’s cover, and offhand seems like what was printed, albeit with some different coloring, perhaps. And with Malibu‘s coloring department (long-rumoured to have been why Marvel bought the company) it makes plenty of sense to me offhand that that would make for some simple changes, and the coloring (of the background) can make an image look at once familiar yet suitably different like this.

The text definitely fits, though sorta "gives away" the "lost city" bit…but had you asked me before looking at/reading this ad, I would have been able to tell you essentially the rest of it, just not "…with a sorceress from a lost city…"


I feel like Hardcase was another logo that changed between ad and print, with a more "basic" and bigger/blockier design. This logo is familiar enough that I want to say it got used on later issues of the series.

This image is completely different from the first issue’s cover, though 25 years later, this would simply be a case of "I didn’t get the variant cover." I like the image in terms of the ad, but it would seem rather boring and "off" to me for what I recall of the first issue itself.

The text piece mostly gives the premise of the series, but I wonder (now) about the timing of stuff for what I recall of the character only having a year "off" from super heroics–is that really time to build a huge film career?


I like this Freex ad–it’s the image I associate with the first issue, and I think I even have a poster of this. I prefer the text being part of the image, rather than a Microsoft Word "text box" dropped onto the image…it feels a lot more dynamic…and memorable!

I do notice a small "text box" but even that seems a bit fancier than the first three ads, and actually does NOT stand out so much. "Life’s tough when you’re a super-power freak."


Mantra is another where the image from the first issue’s cover is used, which I definitely like!

The text box seems a bit much, with two ‘paragraphs’ of premise given…it makes it look a bit more complicated. Of course, I like that this info is provided, as it beats the heck outta just simply giving the image and saying "blindly buy me!" It also somewhat spoils developments in the first couple issues, and as I recall, technically "spoils" the first issue’s cliffhanger.

Additionally, for a "solo title," the cover makes it look like a bit of a team-up book, with Mantra and Warstrike fighting together, and possibly for the shadowy guy in the background (the villain Boneyard). The main character is the smallest figure on the image!


Here’s the "Ultrafiles" page from Prime #1. While I the first part is the same across the several issues, the latter part is changed up to fit the specific issue, with small quotes from the creators of the specific issue.


Here’s the page from Hardcase #1…


…and here’s the page from Strangers #1.

Though I’ve been almost certain that Strangers had been the first of the titles out (granted, this was 25 years ago and I was a 12-year-old kid at the time), that its page showed the covers of the next month’s new #1s has me slightly doubtful.

Regardless, I appreciate that these pages were changed to fit the specific issue–they were not just a one-size-fits-all static thing inserted into each issue.

This is also from a time when the "primary" cover was what was marketed–not the variants. Variants existed–specifically full-cover holographic covers, and versions with silver foil logos–but they were not the marketed versions. They were special "additional" versions! The hologram images I’ve come to learn were actually different from the printed art; but the foil editions are the same exact cover, just with the bulk of the logo as silver foil. The hologram covers are extremely distinctive–you’d know EXACTLY what you’re looking at to see one; and otherwise, the marketing (like these pages and most of the house ads) show you exactly the cover image you’re looking for, on whichever series!

Two and one half decades later, and going through back-issue bins, one can immediately tell what issues are what and the (series) reading order and all that.


#TBT Throwback Thursday: Entertainment This Month and American Entertainment

Once upon a time–over 21 years ago–I would occasionally get mail like this:


And I looked forward to this. It meant a new catalog–or catalogs plural–for mail-order comics! As of this typing, I don’t remember for certain, but I’m pretty sure there’d be a new Entertainment This Month catalog with the current month’s worth of "new, hot comics" available for pre-order with an accompanying general catalog of "back issues" and such in the American Entertainment catalog.


While some might say "hoarder," at the moment I’m taking to the term "master of ephemera" in finding a box of these old catalogs. Of course, growing up in the ’90s with the collectorism and such, I "saved everything." It helped that it was pre-internet and so outside of getting the actual issues, stuff like this was the only way to get and see some pieces of art…and with some of the promo images (like the Batman one in the lower left above) these may not have even made onto the covers or been finalized images…so might only have been here.


Still on other ones there are just favorite images–like the Superman one above taken from the "newsstand edition" of Adventures of Superman #505.

While I was very definitely aware of the advance-order cycle in comics–I recently re-discovered that I have a 2+ year "run" of Advance Comics from 1993 into 1995ish–I do recall American Entertainment and Entertainment This Month being a key part of my awareness.

Additionally, I credit them as getting me back into comics in 1992, after letting comics slip outta my life in 1990/early 1991. (Long origin story told briefly: my sister got a subscription to Barbie through a school magazine drive, which got her onto a mailing list for an Entertainment This Month mailing, which led to my "return" to comics.)

Funky Numbering = Missed Sale

I do not feel that I should HAVE TO do RESEARCH on comics that I buy. Whether about story content, or the comics themselves.

Yesterday, I went to a second comic shop for the first time in a few weeks (lately sticking with my pull list at the “main” shop I go to) and browsed their rack. Bloodstrike #1st issue….er…#26 kinda stood out to me. I physically picked it up to look closer, being struck by the blurb across the top of being a 1st issue…but then I saw the #26.

I remember the “Images of Tomorrow” thing from the 1990s where a number of books put out a #25 being where the creators planned to have their books by then, but never got around to seeing how that worked out (and I believe most of those titles never actually made it to their 20s?).

Bloodstrike was one I do remember buying the #25 for, so this struck me as curious.

This #26, a first issue in a brand new era or whatever the blurb said–did I miss 25 issues the last few years? Is this picking up the numbering of the original series?

I put it back on the shelf, as I had no interest at the time of “gambling.” Is there a “ten year gap” in-story? Other than being the first issue published in years, what incentive makes it a good jump-on issue or not? Is it even aimed at a new/casual reader or is it aimed at fans of the old issues in particular?

This is the sort of case where I truly feel that “a new #1” or “relaunch” or whatever IS appropriate. The title, the property/character(s) have been gone for years (that I’m aware of), so give me a #1 as at least some overt declaration that this is new, fresh material that is at least supposedly geared for the new reader (if, indeed, that’s the case).

Where new #1s and ‘relaunches’ are NOT justified in my eyes are one month to the next, or even an intentional several month hiatus where those involved in the “final issue” of one iteration are already gearing up for the “first issue” of the next iteration. (Such as putting out #544 one month and then in the next 4-6 weeks putting out #1 with the same ongoing continuity.)

While Bloodstrike missed my sale this week, plenty of others have missed my sale when I opt to pass on something “on principle,” such as avoiding the high-number-this-month-#1-next-month stuff. (Or not buying solely because of the $3.99 instead of $2.99-or-less on the cover, etc).

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