Tag Archives: BreakThru

UPC codes

Well, here’s a slippery slope. I already have a complete run of all the regular Ultraverse issues but I’ve known for a while that there were two versions of most of the earlier comics. The only difference is a UPC code on the front (there were also price differences on some of the polybagged issues that had UPC codes … I’m also working on a list of those).

I haven’t been making much of an effort to collect those UPC variants. I think (please correct me if I’m wrong) that the UPC code means that book was sold somewhere besides a comic shop (book store, grocery store, etc.). The ones without the UPC code are more common for that reason, since most collectors bought their books from comic shops.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago my local comic shop closed. After 16 years of getting my new books there, I had to find a new place. There are a few around town and I finally settled on one downtown near my office. After setting up a pull list I went through their back issues and found a few Ultraverse books with UPC codes. I bought them.

So, therefore, I am now officially collecting them … at least that’s where my typically OCD response will lead. These are my first five. I might have some more stored away, but I’ll have to pull some boxes out of the attic to check. I paid a buck each for these, a lot more than I would usually pay for a common UV book, but what the hell …


I spent a month scanning through photos on eBay (Bruce helped) to make a list of which books had UPC variants. This is just the list of books that were visually verified.

Break-Thru: 1, 2
Exiles: 1, 2, 3, 4
Firearm: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12
Freex: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9
Hardcase: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8
Mantra: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 14, 15
Night Man: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
Prime: 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, Annual 1
Prototype: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 10
Rune: 1, 2, 4
Sludge: 1, 3, 4, 5, 9
Solitaire: 1, 8, 9, 11
Solution: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6
Strangers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Ultraforce: 0, 1, 2
Warstrike: 1
Wrath: 1

I don’t think that is anywhere near a complete list. My hunch is that every single book from the first year-and-a-half or so of the Ultraverse has a UPC variant. Later on practically all of the books had the UPC code box, so that put an end to this silliness.

Ah well, it will give me something to look for.

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