Category Archives: Premium books

NecroMantra and Lord Pumpkin

NecroMantra was a four-issue limited series that took place before the relaunch. I skimmed them, there’s nothing really to distinguish these books. And it’s pretty easy to find them all in one lot for a good price, except for maybe the Limited Special Edition to No. 4 (see below) which is usually a buck or two by itself. I got one in a quarter bin once, though.

Each of the first three issues had NecroMantra on the front and Lord Pumpkin as a flip-cover on the back:

 

But here is something weird I noticed as I was scanning these in. With the second and third issues the UPC code is on the Lord Pumpkin side, I guess making that the default cover. I’m not sure yet if there are two versions of these books. Time to do a little digging. If somebody knows, please drop me a note.

 

 

No. 4 did not have a flip-cover, but there was a separate Limited Special Edition version that had the Lord Pumpkin cover.

 

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Foxfire

Foxfire was a short-lived series from the relaunch, spinning out of the Phoenix Revelation stuff. It mixed and matched with some Marvel characters, notably the Punisher.

All I have to say is that the Ultraverse Punisher is a complete doosh, with a stupid ponytail and impossibly tight pants that reveal the fact he has no man parts. No wonder he wanted to kill everyone.

The first issue of Foxfire had a couple of variant covers. One was just your standard variation, but the other had an “Ultra Gold” stamp and a gold logo. I suppose this was the new version of the Ultra 5,000 series, but I bet the print run was a lot lower.

They’re easy to pick up on eBay and online comic shops, rarely for more than a buck or two. In fact it’s pretty easy to get the full four-issue series as part of a larger lot … I see these all the time.

 


Flood Relief

This was a special comic book produced to benefit victims of a massive flood in the Midwest in  the summer of 1993. There were 15,000 books printed, each sold for a minimum contribution of $5 (Malibu absorbed all the production costs) to the American Red Cross. And you could only get the book through the mail (coupons were printed inside the regular comics).

It’s a fairly common book, although a lot of auctions on eBay have a BIN that’s too high. This one’s easy to get inside larger lots of books. It was for a great cause, but this is still a fairly common and inexpensive book today.

A side note: I forgot to put in a bid a few years back when the original cover art by Norm Breyfogle went up for sale on eBay. It sold for $70. Still kicking myself for that one.


Ultra 5000s

“Ultra 5000” sounds like an exclusive item. And back in the mid-1990s, a print run like that sounded pretty small. These were used as retailer incentives and rewards for fans. There is nothing special to distinguish them beyond the extra foil on the cover. And although a couple can be hard to find (Break-Thru, Ultraverse Origins gatefold and Ultraverse Premiere seem to be less common than the rest) there are usually a bunch of these on eBay or at shops like Mile High or MyComicShop.com. I spend a buck or two on them when I feel like it.

There are 21 of them. With 5,000 of each, that makes 105,000 in all. Doesn’t really sound that exclusive any more.

Edit: I added the Firearm 1 Ultra 5000 to this list on Oct. 5, 2011, since one was spotted on eBay last month. First one I’ve seen. If I ever get one for myself I will add the scan, but you can read about it here.

 

 

 

There were two versions of Ultraverse Origins and each got the Ultra 5,000 treatment. The one on the right is the only newsstand version.

 

 

 

 

 

Ultraverse Premiere 1 is the flip book on the other side of Rune 3. There is no foil on the Rune side of the book.

 

 

If you’re collecting these, just be patient. One year’s worth of scanning eBay and you will see 90 percent of them at a good price. You could also try the Dead Universes section over at Valiantfans.com. Some of those fellows might swing a trade.

Here’s the Ultra 5,000 checklist:

BreakThru 1
Exiles 1
Firearm 1
Freex 1
Hardcase 1
Mantra 1
Nightman 1
Prime 1
Protoype 1
Rune 1
Sludge 1
Solitaire 1
Solution 1
Strangers 1
Ultraforce 1
Ultraverse Origins 1 regular cover
Ultraverse Origins 1 gatefold cover
Ultraverse Premiere 0
Ultraverse Premiere 1 (on flipside of Rune 3)
Warstrike 1
Wrath 1


Prime Printer’s Proof

You want oddball? We got oddball.

This is one of the first Ultraverse items I collected after a long “career” of chasing down Valiant stuff. Like the certificate says, it’s a printer’s proof. I suppose that means this was taken from some of the first comics off the press, and the sides have not been trimmed (it looks sort of like a newspaper’s edges). It’s definitely different, and fun variants like this are part of why I like collecting this stuff.

Prime was the inaugural launch title from the Ultraverse, and this is one of the ways Malibu commemorated it. As far as print runs … who knows? Printer proofs are created so editors can check for mistakes and color corrections, so normally the print run should be small. I don’t recall seeing any of these back in the 1990s and I have no idea how they were distributed.

I paid a couple of bucks for mine. Every now and then — a couple or three times a year — they show up on eBay. Sometimes there is a minor bidding war to help the price reach double figures but usually these sell for a couple of bucks.


Limited Super Premium Editions

Now that’s a pretentious-sounding category. And they had a price to match; IIRC these were sold for $40 each (you could also buy a simpler Limited Premium Edition without the signatures and with a different cover for $10). Each book paired an Ultraverse franchise with their Marvel counterparts: Exiles and X-Men, Prime and Hulk, Nightman and Wolverine.

The stories were … well, never mind. The art is straight out of those mid-1990s stylebooks. It’s hard to believe they sold many of these at those prices. Now you can get them cheap, of course. I pay a buck or two when I can. I bought a short stack of the Nightman and Wolverine signed books once for $1.50 each. I see these all the time on eBay for $30-40 BINs, sometimes even over $100. Good luck with that.

The signed versions look pretty nice.

 

There are two different versions of each, although the only difference is the certificate of authenticity. One was done by Dynamic Forces, the other by American Entertainment. As far as I can tell, the signatures are the same for each version.

 

Here are the three Limited Premium Editions. These did not come with COAs or signatures.

I really can’t imagine paying $15 for a single comic book, but those were some free-wheeling days.

Still, I would not be surprised if there were several large boxes of these stashed in a warehouse somewhere.

These are pretty cheap now; last time I checked on eBay somebody was selling these in bundles of 25 (and he had several of these for sale) for less than $15 shipped. Maybe he’s the dude with the warehouse.

 

Once when I was looking around eBay I noticed an auction for one of the Limited Super Premium Edition Prime and Hulk books. But it didn’t say anything about it being signed, and from the picture I could not tell if there were any signatures. What the heck, I spent a few bucks to see what it was.

When I got the book, sure enough it was the version that was supposed to have signatures but the cover was not signed. There was no COA either. This seems like more of a mistake than something that ought to be on the checklist, but I still think it’s pretty cool. Then a few months later I got a similar LSPE Exiles and X-Men with no signatures. I have yet to find the Nightman and Wolverine version, but I’m sure it’s out there.

   


Mantra Ultra-Limited Archive Edition

This is definitely one of the harder-to-find books. They made 500 of them but they don’t really look that special so I would imagine that many of these are languishing in comic shop budget bins or stuck in closets. You see one on eBay once in a great while. I got mine, like so many other Ultraverse books, on accident. I bought a silver Mantra hologram cover and this book was thrown in as a freebie. Nice!

Its value is hard to define. I would pay $5 if I saw one at a convention or comic shop, maybe $10 depending on how my day was going. And for me that is a lot. There are very few Ultraverse books for which I would pay more than a buck or two. Not that I don’t want them, but I will probably see them somewhere else for a very low price. If you’re patient, all this stuff is cheep. Er, cheap.

The thing to distinguish this book as an “archive edition” is a unique stamp that you can barely see on the right side of the cover (it says “Mantra Archive Edition“). And if there were 5,000 of each Ultra 5,000 print run, well, here is what happened to 500 of them.

The certificate is signed by Mike Barr and Chris Ulm. The cert says the book came in a ProGard but mine is just in a regular bag and board.

Edit: Snarky bits removed …


Gold hologram covers

To me, these are the crown jewels of collecting Ultraverse comics. I have no idea how many of these were printed, but I don’t think the number is too high.

When they first launched the Ultraverse, seven of the first series (Exiles, Freex, Hardcase, Mantra, Prime, Prototype, and Strangers) had variant silver hologram covers for the No. 1 issues. I suppose these were mainly dealer incentives, but I remember seeing these going for $100 or more at comic cons back then.  The official print run for each was 5,000, but I couldn’t tell you if all of those made it into circulation.

But the gold hologram covers … I never saw one of those until a few years ago on eBay. I don’t have the data to back this up, but my hunch is that these are really freaking rare. But since nobody seems to care much about collecting Ultraverse anymore, you can still get them relatively cheap. I picked up a Prime gold when I thought I was buying a silver for $5 on eBay. I bought a Freex gold for $8 from Mile High Comics. It took me several years to put together a full set; the most I paid was around $20. I saw a full set of all seven go for about $150 a couple of years ago (all of the silvers were included in that auction).

Here are the seven. I also included the Ultraforce gold, although it is a different type of gold hologram and did not have a silver counterpart. I think they are pretty common (official print run was 5,500); I bought 20 of them from Mile High for $32 a few years back.

   

   

  

  

Click on the image to see a larger picture, but these things don’t really scan in all that well. Help me out if you might know how many of these were made, or what happened to them.