James Hudnall was the writer for two of the cornerstone titles of the original Ultraverse, Hardcase and The Solution. He’s still writing comics today along with political blogging and a number of other endeavors; you can keep up with him on his web site.
He took some time this week to answer a few questions about his time working on the Ultraverse.
How did you come to work on the Ultraverse?
I was between projects, looking for work and I heard at a convention from some friends that Malibu was looking to start something and they needed creators with some name cache, so I talked to Tom Mason and Chris Ulm at the con, then Dave Olbrich and agreed to talk to them some more at their office. It snowballed from there. They were flush with money from Image which started out with them, and they wanted to create a new universe with established comics creators that could be a new DC/Marvel if things worked out. The industry was still doing really well at that point.
Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea. There were tons of these new companies from Valiant, Milestone, Defiant, etc. Not to mention Image, which was the hottest new company. Competition was fierce.
What is your best memory from working on the Ultraverse?
The friendships made and the fun times at the conferences we had. They were great times. Also being able to produce regular comics and get paid well. That’s always enjoyable. I miss those days.
Did you keep a favorite souvenir or collectible from your time working on those books?
I kept as much as I could. I still have boxes of some of my books in storage. My favorite are the NME and Hardcase toy figurines which I have somewhere.
How do you feel about Hardcase being basically erased from the Ultraverse in the Black September storyline?
Fine. Better that than they ruin him more than they had. Nothing that happened when the original creators left is real. Just consider that stuff bogus because it was. Marvel wanted to put in “hot” creators who frankly had no interest in doing anything good. It showed.
What are you up to these days?
I have comics projects I want to do and have artists but it’s a very tough time to do books. Waiting to see if I can get financing to do them myself. I am also a web developer.
Any chance we’ll see books like Hardcase or the Solution in print again?
It’s not up to me. I would love to revisit them with what I know now, and make them work a lot better. But I seriously doubt that will happen. Marvel seems extremely disinterested in the Ultraverse. There are legal obligations they have to follow if they use them which means paying us founders some royalties. They seem to be dead opposed to that. Sorry.