Category Archives: Premium books

Ultraverse Staples

cg16I’m going to let you in on a secret. One of the harder-to-find Ultraverse books is the Ultraverse Premiere 0 error edition, which I first read about in the Collector’s Guide to the Ultraverse.

The reason it is so hard to find is that there are only a few hundred of these and I’m not sure how they were distributed. I believe the total print run for Ultraverse Premiere 0 was in the gazilllions (even though it was a premium book that you could only get by sending in coupons); I base this print run number on the fact that I find these damn things everywhere I go. I have about 20 and I never pay more than a buck. Except for the error edtitions. I’ll pay $5-10 for one of those.

Anyway, here is some basic info on the error books. Basically it’s the same book but in the wrong order.

But getting back to my secret. There is an easy way to spot the error books without opening them up, which comes in handy if you are trying to buy one off an auction site. It’s the staples.

Here is the regular edition. Small staples.

uvpreg

Here is the error edition: Bigger staples, and riding higher.

uvperror

Yeah, I realize those books look a little rough. Sheesh.

I don’t know if this is iron clad or not. I do know that every time I bought a book with the large, higher staples it was the error edition. Every book I have seen with the small staples is not.

Advertisements

Magic City Comic Con

So my kid wanted to go to a comic convention down in Miami, which is about five hours south from here. It wasn’t very hard to convince me! So off we went last weekend to Magic City Comic Convention, which is a smaller event (compared to, say, MegaCon in Orlando) at a convention center next to a hotel over by the airport.

I decided to go cheap on the hotel to leave us more money for the con by staying at a Motel 6. Next time, there will be less scrimping, I assure you.

uvbooksmantraAnyway, we got to the con pretty early. There were a lot of actors, wrestlers, voice actors, etc. And about 20 comic book creators,including Mantra writer Mike W. Barr. I stopped by his booth and got a couple of things signed. I’m not sure if he had ever seen one of the holographic covers before. Mainly people were bringing him Batman books to sign; I saw one dude give him a couple of Break-Thru books.

So that’s Ultraverse Note No. 1. It’s 20 years later but there are still signs!

Ultraverse Note No. 2: One of the comic book dealers (there were about 10 total) actually had several quarter bins. I love quarter bins! So I dove in and found he had a number of Ultraverse books that had the UPC codes on the cover (follow this link for that nerdiness). And when I say “a number,” I actually mean “80.” To me that was 20 bucks well spent.


Well, this is rare …

photo (2)

I have thought for years that the Mantra Ultra-Limited Archive Edition is one of the tougher Ultraverse books to find. You just rarely see one for sale, even though the COA says that there were 500 of them. And 500 of something is rare but not, uh, Ultra-rare.

photo (3)Anyway, I found a copy on eBay last week and punched a BIN for $13. That’s more than I like to spend, but like I said, you hardly ever see this book. It arrived safe and sound and I put a couple of pictures up on the Ultraverse Facebook group, which led to some background information being posted.

This book was the brainchild of then-Malibu Marketing Manager Ross Richie. His idea was “to give retailers something super-rare and extra special they couldn’t get anywhere else. It was like a customer loyalty program — you supported Malibu, now we’re supporting you and appreciate you. My job was to handle retailer relationships, so I’d talk to them and put together a care package of posters and buttons and add that or some other curio and ship it out.”

Head of marketing Tom Mason (who also was an Ultraverse co-founder and wrote Dinosaurs for Hire and co-wrote Prototype) gave him the okay, so Richie ordered the stamp, created the certificates and got Chris Ulm and Mike Barr to autograph them. When he wanted to send one out he would stamp the book and put a package together. But he says he did this less than 30 times.

Then Marvel bought Malibu. Richie left Malibu shortly after, followed by Mason. The Ultra Archive project shut down when Richie left and the remaining certificates, as far as he knows, were tossed in recycling bins like so many other incentive books when the Malibu offices closed.

So good luck finding one of these! There are definitely some hard-to-find books from the early days of the Ultraverse … this might be the toughest of all.

Richie went on to become the CEO and Founder of BOOM! Studios, which is hitting a 10-year milestone for publishing comics in 2015.


Ultraverse Secrets …

uvs1

uvs2

OK, so this book took me a loooooooong time to find. I’ve actually never seen one for sale before last week, and I’ve been looking for years. Years. I know several other hard-core Ultraverse collectors, and all but one of them had never seen one, either.

But there it was on eBay for a $5 BIN. That’s a no-brainer.

It’s not a comic book (it’s about the height and width of a regular sheet of paper). I’m pretty sure it was just one of those promo booklets that used to be thrown in with the weekly shipments to comic shops around the country.

Back in the 1990s I had a friend who owned a shop and I would work for him one day a week in exchange for comics. Good for him, good for me. Each week the comics would arrive in several boxes and there were always promo booklets, posters and what-nots from all the big companies. I’m pretty sure that’s what this book is. It’s a bunch of pin-ups and text blocks hyping upcoming titles and storylines. I read through it; it’s interesting and makes me miss those days. Ah, well.

There were probably several thousand of these printed. Of those, I’d wager the vast majority were tossed in the trash. There might be some more in warehouses or garages, but it’s not really something that your average comic book collector is chasing. I’m not saying this is rare, but it is really freaking hard to find!

So what’s the big deal? I know for those of us over at Valiantfans.com who tried to put together an Ultraverse checklist a few years ago, one of our best early resources was this site by a guy named Big Tel. His site had scans and a little bit of info on all kinds of Malibu variants, and really helped us get the ball rolling. That site has since been taken down, but before that I didn’t even know things like gold holograms existed.

Anyway, one of the things on there was this book, The Ultraverse Secrets Marvel Doesn’t Want You to Know. None of us had ever seen it, and I’ve been hunting one down ever since. If it had not been on Big Tel’s site during the early days of mapping out the Ultraverse checklist, I don’t think I would have cared too much one way or the other. But now that I’ve put so much of an effort into finding one, it feels nice finally putting this in my collection.

I was going to scan in the pages but it’s too big to fit on my scanner. So I just took pictures; those are all down below.

1uvs

3uvs2uvs

4uvs 5uvs 6uvs

7uvs 8uvs 9uvs


Firearm Ultra 5000

I guess this book exists after all:

I know a bunch of people who have been collecting Ultraverse stuff for years who had never seen one of these (I had heard that someone might have seen one, but without photo evidence I didn’t want to add it to the checklist). But you can see the evidence on this eBay auction. About $25 shipped.

I’ve already updated the checklist … now I have to keep an eye out to get one for my collection.


Rune 0 sendaway

 

They sure did love their coupons in the Ultraverse. One of the cooler sendaway deals was for Rune 0 (a copy of Solution 0 exclusive to this deal was also thrown in).

You needed 11 coupons (click on the pages below to read the instructions) although you could photocopy the coupons and there was a “wild coupon” in Ultra Monthly No. 4.

 

I also have a poster that might have come with this. I have to confess I did not send in any coupons; I picked up my copies on eBay a couple of years ago. They’re usually fairly cheap. You can check eBay just about any time and there will be 10 or so copies of Rune 0 along with six or seven copies of Solution 0 (I guess Rune was the bigger name).


Short stack of Prime vs. Hulks

OK, I bit.

I noted a while back that someone on eBay was selling huge lots of the Limited Premium Edition books. I sent him a Best Offer bid of $5 for 25 of the Prime Versus Hulk books. He approved it, and the lot was mine for under $10 shipped.

Yeah, I know there is no real point to collecting comic books this way, but the deal seemed too good to pass up. Not that they are worth too much, but these books were originally solicited for $10 each.

The books were well packed, they’re still in great shape and he was nice enough to throw in No. 26 for free.


Phoenix Resurrection

These books kind of slipped under my radar when I first started collecting Ultraverse stuff. I re-read them this week, but I’m still not entirely sure what happened. Characters from the Marvel Universe joined the Ultraversians, Phoenix went wild and split in two and the story continues in Firefox.

I think by this point the Ultraverse was being pulled in too many directions and the main characters were losing their focus, but these books have good art and pacing nonetheless.

Each main book in the series had an Ultra Gold Limited Edition counterpart. When I was trying to fill out my collection I thought these were tough to find but I’ve seen quite a few lately. They tend to arrive on eBay in waves. This week I bought a set of all four golds for $5 shipped.

 

 

 

 

The Red Shift version is the same as the regular Resurrection issue with an extra story. It’s also fairly easy to find cheap online but you have to keep an eye out for Phoenix Resurrection lots where it is included. It’s often easier (and costs about the same) to buy that way than by seeking it out as an individual issue.


Silver hologram covers

As far as Ultraverse comics go, the silver hologram covers were the bee’s knees. I would have been stoked to find one of these for under $50 back in 1994. Now I wouldn’t pay $50 for a set of all seven ($40, tops).

I still think they are very cool and I have picked up a bunch over the years, it’s just that you don’t have to pay that much for them (just ignore all those BINs for $20 and up on eBay). It’s very easy to pick up individual copies for under $10 shipped, sometimes half that much.

Just make sure the person you’re buying from has a decent rating and reliable shipping feedback. Hologram covers are easily damaged and once they have a ding or a few crinkles they don’t look nearly as nice. I won a lot of all seven for $20 once, and somebody in the post office must have dropped the envelope on its corner, because all seven books had a massive ding in the same spot. Ruined. And they appeared to be pretty much in near mint condition beforehand. I looked like that guy in the bottom left of the Prime cover (above).

 

 

 

Actually, these books aren’t that rare. There were 5,000 copies printed of each for a total of 35,000 (not counting 5,500 for the gold Ultraforce comic or the seven gold hologram versions — no idea of the print run on those, probably not very high). But for eye appeal, you can’t beat them. Any self-respecting Ultraverse collector should nab a full set of these.


Rune and Silver Surfer

Rune and Silver Surfer got the flip-book treatment for a one-shot deal. The story starts with the Rune side to about the middle of the book and then you flip it over and start reading the Silver Surfer side.

 

There are two other versions of the book, and although the book is bound differently the interiors seem to be the same. Each has the same Silver Surfer flip-cover.

These are fairly common on eBay. I picked up all three as part of a large lot of Rune books (he was featured in a number of different Ultraverse titles) for $15. I wouldn’t pay $15 for just the Silver Surfer books, though … $5, maybe.

 

The scan doesn’t do justice to the white Collector’s Limited Edition. It is one of the nicest-looking of all the Ultraverse books …  pristine white, shiny cardstock cover with perfect squared-off corners.