This is a pretty cool little catalog that a friend sent me. It’s from the early days of the Ultraverse, and solved the mystery for me about how a lot of things were distributed (such as watches, shirts, standees, etc.)
It’s a single sheet tri-folded, so I scanned in all six portions. Over the years I’ve collected just about everything here (I picked up the Malibu watch just last week) but now I have a couple more things to keep looking for (two-pocket folders, license plate holders, lithographs).
Click on the thumbnails to see. Enjoy!
Here’s another weird thing I got from eBay. It’s a mock-up for proposed Ultraverse advertising on city buses. It’s not very big, just a couple of inches tall and about seven inches wide.
Here’s how it was described in the auction:
A rare relic salvaged from the fallen Malibu Comics empire… When an ad agency was tasked with creating bus ads for the Ultraverse, they sent Malibu execs this mock-up of how the projected campaign would look.
Recovered from an ex-Malibu employee who was there.
Insanely rare. Only a handful ever made.
Here is a picture of an actual bus advertisement, courtesy of Ultraverse co-founder Tom Mason (he says it came from the advertising agency and is dated from 1994).
You can watch one of the buses in action (sort of) in the 1994 movie The Chase, starring Charlie Sheen. No, seriously, you can watch it on Youtube. At about the 10:50 mark you get a quick glimpse of this:
And at that point you really should quit watching.
Marvel used to offer up these black and white preview books to retailers called Sales to Astonish. At some point after Marvel bought Malibu, they used the back half of one of these to give the Ultraverse some love. At least that’s what I think happened. I’ve seen a bunch of different copies of Sales to Astonish but this is the only one with a Malibu Flipside. And that’s all I know about this, but at least I have a couple of pictures.
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.
Anyway, 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.
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.
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.
I thought this was a pretty good find. Solitaire 1 by itself isn’t rare at all, but this is one of the lowest runs I have ever seen for a Dynamic Forces signed version … just 50 (I got No. 36). This was the book that came in the black bag with a card. I’ve busted open a few and just about every one I have opened had an Ace of Clubs. After a lot of searching I found an Ace of Diamonds on eBay. And now I have a Heart. Since the promo card is a Joker (very easy to find) that just leaves me one more card for the set. Pretty low on my list of priorities, though.
For some reason Solitaire was the focus for three different Dynamic Forces signings: this one, a 75-count set that had the first four issues signed by Jeff Johnson and a 7500-count set that was just the first issue. There weren’t too many other DF Ultraverse books; this post has the list as I know it.
These are a couple of sketches I picked up from eBay. The seller sold about a dozen of these, a couple or three each week. Most of them went for between $10 and $25.
The story behind them is that an artist named Scott Hampton did them as preliminary sketches for the Ultraverse Masterpieces card set. Then Dave Dorman used them as guides for his paintings (every card in the series, including the chase cards, was painted by Dorman).
I asked the artist about it and he said that was how it worked. The seller said he bought them from an artist who had kept them in a drawer for years and didn’t think about them until recently.
Anyway, they look cool. I don’t really know how to describe the art style, it’s grey paper with black and white pastel sketches. Each is a little bigger than a sheet of office paper. And as you can see, Dorman was extremely faithful to the original sketches when he painted. That was a great series of cards.
I actually already had a copy of the Rune Spin comic, just not one that was still in the bag with the magazine. This one is in OK condition; if I see a really nice copy somewhere down the road I might pick it up. Then again, I might not. I don’t rate this very high on my Ultraverse “needs list.”
This was originally a Halloween promotion and a way to get the Rune comic into the hands of non-traditional readers. It is not too different from the Rune 0 that was an incentive-based comic you had to send away for (you needed coupons from 11 different comics, although you could also use the “wild” coupons that came with some poly-bagged issues).
In case you’re interested, I paid $13 shipped.
Actually, I picked this up a while ago. It’s the third Prime watch I have found, although the only real difference is the packaging. I wrote about the other two watches a while back.
It looks about the same as the others, no great shakes. The price is a little surprising, just $4.99. It boasts Super Quartz Accuracy and a limited one-year warranty. Made in China.
Yeah, probably not going to wear this anytime soon but it still looks nice in my collection.
This was a good find … $10 (plus $10 more for shipping) on eBay. Actually, let’s call it a great find.
Two things of note: First, this binder was full of complete sets of Ultraverse Series 1, Series 2 and Ultraverse Masterpieces sets. With all the chase cards! And some promo cards. And a signed, stamped card from Series 2. And second, I was able to score for another $10 a Spider-Man binder from 1995 that was also complete with all chase cards.
I have no idea how these slipped under the radar; my bids were set quite a bit higher but nobody else bid.
All of the cards are in great condition. I already had full sets anyway, but this is the first time I have seen the binder sell that low. And that was the main thing I wanted.
Usually these hit $50 or more, and you only see one every few months or so. As far as I know, the Series 2 cards were the only ones that had their own binder.
Nearly all of the Ultraverse cards are easy to find on eBay. You should never have to pay more than a few bucks for a set. You can also get an unopened box for a decent price. I’ve bought all three boxes separately for under $10 shipped.
But … there was some bad news. The inside of the binder was cracked and ripped on the corner. It looks fine from the outside but the inside looks kind of chewed on.
I guess I will have to keep my eyes open for another, but I’m still stoked to have this one in my collection.