I bought this card a while back (it’s about the size of a comic, thinner than a backing board). Like it says, it’s a promo for the Hardcase movie and is signed by director Darren Doane and writer James Hudnall. So I looked for the movie and couldn’t find it. Comic shops, eBay, fan groups … nothing turned up.
Most Ultraverse fans know about the Firearm movie that came packed with the 0 (zero) issue … I also have a card for that movie. Now that one I have seen. But this Hardcase movie … I had no idea.
So I turned to the Ultraverse Facebook group. If you are a fan of the Ultraverse at any level, that is a great group to join. Many of the original creators drop in and offer up great stories and nuggets from their days working at Malibu. Very cool.
So I checked in over there and found out that there never was an actual movie, just a 30-second trailer. Tom Mason, one of the Ultraverse creators, had this info:
Action movie star Gary Daniels was Hardcase. The short teaser was done not for us or even the direct market but more as something to show off the movie potential of UV properties. And we could also show it off on the convention circuit.
Both Darren Doane and Ken Daurio were on staff, with another guy Larry Gitlin, at Malibu during that time. They had a division inhouse called “Malibu Films” that was responsible for all of our promotional videos and short films. After the division was shut down, Darren went on to make music videos and Daurio started writing screenplays.
So there you have it: A bit of a background. But I still haven’t seen an actual hard copy of this movie in person. A fellow Ultraverse collector has one, and he donated the pictures of the sleeve below. The movie itself is a regular VHS tape. It’s just one more thing for me to keep on my list.
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.
A handful of Ultraverse issues came with polybagged variants that had different prices from the regular versions … 50 cents more. They also have UPC symbols on the front. You can tell these from the initial run of polybagged books by the color banner on top of the bag.
The cards seem to have been selected randomly from the inaugural set of Ultraverse cards, so I guess there could be as many as 90 different variations for each. If anybody collects all 90 of an issue let me know and I will send over a truck from the loony bin to take you away.
I never noticed this before but the covers to Hardcase 4 and Strangers 4 make up a single image when placed side by side. Cool.
Ultraforce 1 is slightly different with a red banner. The card is always a Prime promo from the Ultraverse Masterpieces card set but it’s behind the comic.
Here is a list of all the Ultraverse books that came polybagged with price variants. I’m pretty sure it’s complete but I’ve been wrong before!
Mantra v1: 2
Prime v1: 4 (both versions)
Ultraforce v1: 1
I have copies of all of them except for the Mantra 2 and both Prime 4s.
While we’re on the subject of the Firearm movie …
This is a card I picked up off eBay for about a buck. Very cool. It’s about the size of a comic book, but just a simple piece of cardboard. Maybe this was used for convention signings or something, but it has Darren Doane’s signature on the front.
You have to give Malibu credit for trying new things with the Ultraverse. The Firearm movie is probably the best example.
The deal here is the story in Firearm 0 is continued from the movie, which was 35 minutes long … a live-action film. I wanted to watch this again to brush up on the story but to be honest I don’t have a VHS player any more. I guess that makes me like most people.
I don’t think anyone won Oscars for their work here but it was an interesting concept. Darren Doane was the director; IMDB has him down for 16 directing credits, mostly music videos or music related.
James Jude Courtney played Alec Swan. He has 21 acting credits but hasn’t worked since playing “Huge Goon” in 2002’s The Gray In Between. He was Der Kindestod on Season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, although I can’t tell you if that is impressive or not.
The comic and the movie were packaged together for a cover price of $15. Not a bad price point considering what you got.
Reported distribution numbers were 30,000, according to the Collectors Guide to the Ultraverse. There was also a signed and numbered edition (2,000 of them), although these just came from the regular print run.
This is pretty easy to find online, even in the original packaging. Finding one in packaging that still looks pretty nice can be difficult, though. Most of the ones I have seen are pretty frayed and bent. But I would happily pay $15 or so for one that looks to be in really good shape.