Tag Archives: James Hudnall

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

UV Creators: James Hudnall

James Hudnall was the writer for two of the cornerstone titles of the original Ultraverse, Hardcase and The Solution. He’s still writing comics today along with political blogging and a number of other endeavors; you can keep up with him on his web site.

He took some time this week to answer a few questions about his time working on the Ultraverse.

How did you come to work on the Ultraverse?

I was between projects, looking for work and I heard at a convention from some friends that Malibu was looking to start something and they needed creators with some name cache, so I talked to Tom Mason and Chris Ulm at the con, then Dave Olbrich and agreed to talk to them some more at their office. It snowballed from there. They were flush with money from Image which started out with them, and they wanted to create a new universe with established comics creators that could be a new DC/Marvel if things worked out. The industry was still doing really well at that point.

Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea. There were tons of these new companies from Valiant, Milestone, Defiant, etc. Not to mention Image, which was the hottest new company. Competition was fierce.

What is your best memory from working on the Ultraverse?

The friendships made and the fun times at the conferences we had. They were great times. Also being able to produce regular comics and get paid well. That’s always enjoyable. I miss those days.

Did you keep a favorite souvenir or collectible from your time working on those books?

I kept as much as I could. I still have boxes of some of my books in storage. My favorite are the NME and Hardcase toy figurines which I have somewhere.

How do you feel about Hardcase being basically erased from the Ultraverse in the Black September storyline?

Fine. Better that than they ruin him more than they had. Nothing that happened when the original creators left is real. Just consider that stuff bogus because it was. Marvel wanted to put in “hot” creators who frankly had no interest in doing anything good. It showed.

What are you up to these days?

I have comics projects I want to do and have artists but it’s a very tough time to do books. Waiting to see if I can get financing to do them myself. I am also a web developer.

Any chance we’ll see books like Hardcase or the Solution in print again?

It’s not up to me. I would love to revisit them with what I know now, and make them work a lot better. But I seriously doubt that will happen. Marvel seems extremely disinterested in the Ultraverse. There are legal obligations they have to follow if they use them which means paying us founders some royalties. They seem to be dead opposed to that. Sorry.