Eclipse Comics

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Eclipse Comics
Status defunct, 1993
Founded 1977
Founder Jan Mullaney, Dean Mullaney
Headquarters location Staten Island, New York, then Columbia, Missouri, then Guerneville, California, then Forestville, California
Key people Catherine Yronwode
Publication types Comics, Trading cards
Imprints Independent Comics Group

Eclipse Comics was an American comic book publisher, one of several independent publishers during the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1978, it published the first graphic novel intended for the newly created comic book specialty store market. It was one of the first to offer royalties and creator ownership of rights, and the first comics company to publish trading cards.

History[edit]

The company was founded as Eclipse Enterprises by brothers Jan and Dean Mullaney in 1977.[1][2] Eclipse published one of the first original graphic novels, and the first to be sold through the new "direct market" of comic-book stories,[3] Sabre: Slow Fade of an Endangered Species by Don McGregor and Paul Gulacy. Published in August 1978, it led to a 14-issue spin-off series for Eclipse.

McGregor went on to write two additional early graphic novels for Eclipse, each set in contemporary New York City and starring interracial-buddy private eyes Ted Denning and Bob Rainier: Detectives, Inc.: A Remembrance of Threatening Green (1980), with artist Marshall Rogers, and Detectives, Inc.: A Terror Of Dying Dreams (1985), with artist Gene Colan, who would become a frequent collaborator.

The company had early success with the anthology magazine Eclipse and color comic Eclipse Monthly, as well as with the detective series Ms. Tree by Max Allan Collins.

Creators whose early work appears in Eclipse publications include Chuck Austen, Donna Barr, Dan Brereton, Chuck Dixon, James Hudnall, Scott McCloud, Peter Milligan, Tim Truman, and Chris Ware. Veterans published by Eclipse include Steve Englehart, Don McGregor, Gene Colan and Mark Evanier. The company published the American reprints of British author Alan Moore's series Miracleman.

Locations[edit]

During the early 1980s, Eclipse moved several times: from 81 Delaware Street, Staten Island, New York, to 295 Austin Street, Columbia, Missouri, and then to the small towns of Guerneville and later Forestville in Sonoma County, California.

Expansion[edit]

Beginning in Missouri, Eclipse expanded operations under editor Cat Yronwode (who was married to Eclipse co-founder Dean Mullaney from 1987–1993). With Yronwode as editor-in-chief during a period of expanding attention to the art form, Eclipse published many innovative works and championed creators' rights in a field which at the time barely respected them.

During Yronwode's tenure, Eclipse published superhero titles including Miracleman by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens, and Zot! by Scott McCloud.[4] and also brought out graphic novels featuring opera adaptations, such as The Magic Flute by P. Craig Russell and children's literature such as an adaptation of The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.[5]

In 1985, Yronwode and cartoonist Trina Robbins co-wrote the Eclipse book Women and the Comics, on the history of female comic-strip and comic-book creators. As the first book on this subject,[citation needed] its publication was covered in the mainstream press in addition to the fan press.[6][7][8]

Trading cards[edit]

During the 1980s, Eclipse brought out a new line of non-fiction, non-sports trading cards, edited by Yronwode. Controversial political subjects such as the Iran-Contra scandal, the Savings and Loan crisis, the AIDS epidemic, and the Kennedy Assassination, as well as true crime accounts of serial killers, mass murderers, the Mafia, and organized crime were covered in these card sets.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

Viz Communications[edit]

In 1988, in partnership with Viz Communications and Studio Proteus, Eclipse published some of the earlier Japanese manga translated into English—Area 88, Mai, the Psychic Girl, and The Legend of Kamui. With the success of these titles, the manga line was expanded.

Decline[edit]

In 1986, Eclipse lost most of its back-issue stock in a flood.[22] This event, along with the repercussions of Mullaney and Yronwode's divorce, and the mid-1990s collapse of the direct market distribution system, caused the company to cease operations in 1994.[23][24] and file for bankruptcy in 1995.[25] The company's intellectual property rights were later acquired by Todd McFarlane.[26] Mullaney also attributed the company's demise to a problematic contract with the book publisher HarperCollins.[27] Eclipse's last publication was its Spring 1993 catalog, which was a complete bibliography of its publications.

See also[edit]

Titles[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mullaney, Jan; Mullaney, Dean (August 1978). "A Word from the Publisher". Sabre: Slow Fade of an Endangered Species (Eclipse Enterprises). p. 1 (unnumbered). 
  2. ^ McGregor, Don (August 1978). "Afterword". Sabre: Slow Fade of an Endangered Species (Eclipse Enterprises). pp. Afterword 2–3 (unnumbered). 
  3. ^ Gough, Bob (2001). "Interview with Don McGregor". MileHighComics.com. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ Yronwode, Catherine. "The Eclipse Comics Index". LuckyMojo.com. Archived from the original on September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011. 
  5. ^ Rockwell, John (April 5, 1990). "Conan in Comics? Yes. Hulk? Sure. But Fafner? Wotan?". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ "Women in the Comics: Assertive and Independent Women Make a Comeback" Miami Herald (newspaper), Dec. 1, 1988.
  7. ^ "Comic Books Are For Adults Too" by William Singleton, Scripps Howard News Service, Chronicle-Telegram (newspaper), Jan. 7, 1988.
  8. ^ "Funny How Things Change" Daily Herald (newspaper), Dec. 28, 1988.
  9. ^ Crossen, Judith. "Trading Card Fame for S&L Scoundrels", Reuters via Philadelphia Daily News, September 9, 1991
  10. ^ Trausch, Susan. "A Full Deck of Scandals at a Glance", Boston Globe, September 18, 1991
  11. ^ "Insider Trading with Keating, Milken", Los Angeles Daily News, October 20, 1991
  12. ^ Jones, Kathryn. "Price tag on JFK intrigue Assassination aficionados spawn cottage industry",The Dallas Morning News, November 22, 1991
  13. ^ "Kennedy Assassination is an Industry with Growing Market", Associated Press via The Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, Ohio), November 28, 1991
  14. ^ "Ban Urged on Sale of Crime Cards", The Record (Bergen County, New Jersey), April 30, 1992
  15. ^ "'True Crime' Cards Thriving Despite Outrage", The New York Times, June 16, 1992
  16. ^ "Killer Cards Hit Capital Stores Amid Criticism", Sacramento Bee, June 19, 1992
  17. ^ "Killer Cards: Two groups trying to deal fatal blow to criminal cards", The Oregonian, August 18, 1992
  18. ^ "AIDS cards to include condoms", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (newspaper), September 23, 1992)
  19. ^ "AIDS Awareness is in the cards", Dallas Morning News, July 7, 1993
  20. ^ "AIDS Activism turns to cards", Dayton Daily News, July 13, 1993
  21. ^ "Ban Sought on Cards depicting AIDS victim", Boston Globe, January 15, 1994
  22. ^ Yronwode, Catherine; Nagasiva, Nagasiva (2002). "The Lesser Book of the Vishanti: A Companion to the Dr. Strange Comic Books". LuckyMojo.com. Archived from the original on September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Newswatch: Business News: Eclipse Copes with Divorce and Back Debt". The Comics Journal (165): 12. January 1994. 
  24. ^ "Comics Publishers Suffer Tough Summer: Body Count Rises in Market Shakedown". The Comics Journal (172): 13–18. November 1994. 
  25. ^ "Newswatch: Eclipse Files for Bankruptcy". The Comics Journal (174): 25. February 1995. 
  26. ^ "McFarlane Buys Eclipse Assets at Auction". The Comics Journal (185): 14–15. March 1996. 
  27. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (March 30, 2007). "Mullaney on Eclipse". "The Beat" (column), Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. 

External links[edit]