Tag Archives: Hardcase

Hardcase Print


I don’t know a heck of a lot about this. Here is what I do know.

  1. It’s a print.
  2. It appears to be art by Hardcase artist Jim Callahan.
  3. It is numbered 3 out of 100.
  4. It’s about the size of a regular sheet of paper.
  5. It has something to do with Wizard Magazine.
  6. I got it for cheep with some other stuff.
  7. I had lasagna for dinner.

Sketch Certificates


There is a pretty stout list of Ultraverse books that got the “creator autograph” treatment; some distributed by Malibu, some by Dynamic Forces and a few others including Catalyst and Atomic Comics. I’m putting a list together.

strangerssketch1 hcsketch1But I would put these books at the top of the list just for being cool. They are signed first issues of Strangers and Hardcase, but each certificate includes a hand-drawn sketch by artist Rick Hoberg (Strangers) and Jim Callahan (Hardcase). They are numbered to 200 but I don’t recall seeing these when they were released so I am not sure how they were distributed.

These are authentic. Says so right there. I even erased a tiny bit of one line to make sure it was an actual pencil sketch. Yep, authentic. Should have trusted the certificate.

I paid in the range of $20 each for these (they were in a lot with a few other things). The only difference between them is that the Hardcase book has a special sticker on its cheap plastic sleeve. I will probably take it out of there anyway and put it in a nice bag/board.


Florida SuperCon

Time for another convention in Miami. Same deal, just me and my son. And like I promised myself, a better hotel. Or so I thought. We picked a boutique hotel (I guess that’s what those damn things are called) about two blocks from the Miami Beach convention center. Seemed like a nice place, and then the music started blasting up and down the street.


Midnight passed.


2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. …


Finally at 5 a.m. it shut down. Until 9 a.m.


So I was freaking exhausted when we went over to the con. At least the night after the con (and 11 miles of walking according to my phone, including treks to lunch and dinner and a boatload of late-night panels while my kid went to a dance) I was tired enough to sleep through it all.

hardcaseThere were a couple of dozen comic dealers at the show, but not a lot of Ultraverse. I scraped a few out of some cheap bins, including four Ultraverse Premiere 0s and some UPC variants (although not nearly as many as the last time I was in Miami).

But I did bring a few things for Mike Zeck to sign, including a full run of Eliminator and a couple of Hardcase cards. Then someone in his booth told me he was charging $5 a signature. I have no problem at all with that, but I decided to just get a couple … Eliminator 0 and a Hardcase card. Really nice guy.

I actually would recommend this convention to anyone who can deal with South Florida in July. The guest list was great, it was never that crowded and there was a really diverse set of dealers on the floor. I’ll probably go back next year, and just stay in a bigger hotel.

The Hardcase movie


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.

and …

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.

hc1  hc2

Hardcase Motor City Comic Con

Getting so, so close now … I think the toughest book I have left on my checklist is the Firearm Ultra 5000. Especially since I just got this book for about $15 on eBay (more than I would usually spend, but what the heck?)

I was a little disappointed to crack it open and find out that there is no story, just black and white promo pages. Oh well …

Hardcase in action

Again, not really “in action.”

It’s either some kind of mechanical glider or a Russian gulag’s interrogation chamber.

Hardcase 1 cover for sale

I have to admit this is pretty sweet, but since I don’t have $1,250 laying around (actually I do, but I have to pay the usual bills) I will take a pass … the original art for the cover of Hardcase 1 is up for sale.

You can occasionally find some decent Dead Universe covers for a couple of hundred bucks, but this cover by Dave Gibbons is iconic and symbolic of the launch-day possibilities of the Ultraverse.

You can see the scan right here. I would run a picture here but I’m not sure how the guy would feel about it.

Hardcase cover gallery

This is one of the bigger runs, clocking in at 26 issues. There are also hologram and Ultra 5000 variants, along with a handful of ashcans (you can read about those here).









Polybag price variants

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!

Firearm: 1
Hardcase: 4
Mantra v1: 2
Prime v1: 4 (both versions)
Solution: 1
Strangers: 4
Ultraforce v1: 1

I have copies of all of them except for the Mantra 2 and both Prime 4s.

First round of polybags

You had five books from the first couple of months in the Ultraverse that were polybagged. That was something of a little trend in the early 1990s; it’s hard to believe there used to be arguments for and against leaving the books in the bag.

Prime, Hardcase and Strangers (all No. 2 issues) came with just a card. As far as I can tell they were always the same promo cards — although the Hardcase card came with the Strangers book, and vice-versa — for the inaugural Ultraverse card set.

Freex and Mantra (both No. 1s) came with a card and a wild coupon for Ultraverse Premiere 0. These are all great books to read. As collectibles, not so much. They’re among the most plentiful Ultraverse books you will find, bagged and otherwise.