The Ultraverse was the name given to a comic book imprint published by the American company Malibu Comics. The Ultraverse was a shared universe in which a variety of characters — known within the comics as "Ultras" — acquired super-human abilities.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2011)|
The Ultraverse line was launched by Malibu Comics during the "comics boom" of the early 1990s. Following the success of Image Comics (a studio of comics' top artists each publishing their own book contained in its own mini-universe) and Valiant Comics (a cohesive universe shared by all the Valiant characters; the model the Ultraverse line aimed to imitate), a number of new universes were launched including Milestone from DC and Comics Greatest World from Dark Horse.
While it was not as successful as Image Comics or Valiant Comics, Ultraverse was successful relative to the other universes. They boasted improved production values over traditional comics (especially digital coloring and higher-quality paper). Following the Valiant Comics formula closely, Ultraverse emphasized tight continuity between the various series in their line; Malibu made extensive use of crossovers, in which a story that began in one series would be continued in the next-shipping issue of another series. Various promotions for special editions or limited-print stories also encouraged readers to sample issues of the entire line. Some fans complained of the effort and cost of buying the issues necessary to keep track of it all. Regardless, the Ultraverse line came to dominate Malibu's catalog.
As American comics sales declined in the mid-1990s, Malibu canceled lower-selling series. The company was purchased by Marvel Comics in 1994. Reportedly Marvel made the purchase to acquire Malibu's then-groundbreaking in-house coloring studio, and/or its catalog of movie-licensable properties. Marvel canceled the entire Ultraverse line, but (during the controversial Black September event) re-launched a handful of the more popular titles as well as a number of crossovers with Marvel characters. The initial move was foreseen with popular franchises and characters from the Avengers guest-starring in their books. The "volume 2" series each started with "#∞" (infinity) issues and were canceled a short time later. Within the Marvel Comics multiverse, the Malibu Universe is designated as Earth-93060.
Several characters from the series Ultraforce were featured in a short-lived animated series by the same name.
Malibu's Ultraverse titles included:
- The All-New Exiles
- Angels of Destruction
- Black September (universe changing event)
- Break-Thru (a crossover mini-series)
- Codename: Firearm
- Godwheel (mini-series; first Marvel/Ultraverse crossover)
- The Night Man
- The Solution
- The Strangers
- Ultraverse Premiere (a rotating backup series)
- Ultraverse Future Shock (Ultraverse epilogue)
- Ultraverse Unlimited
- Witch Hunter
When Malibu was bought out by Marvel Comics, the entire Ultraverse line was cancelled and restarted, with only a few of the more popular series being rebooted and relaunched, sometimes in radically altered form. The history and continuity of the Ultraverse was retconned in numerous ways, and a number of characters simply ceased to exist (or in the new continuity, to have ever existed). Many of the series became a platform for crossovers with Marvel characters, and fans complained of a drop in quality of the storylines and virtually nonexistent characterization. After "Black September", the Ultraverse-universe diverged again, with the introduction of "New World," "Time Gem reality," and so-called "true future" and "alternate future" worlds. This now-modified Ultraverse lasted less than a year and a half before being cancelled once again.
The event connects issues that were part of the countdown to Black September — Ultraforce #8-10, Ultraforce/Avengers Prelude, Avengers/Ultraforce, Ultraforce/Avengers — after which all the surviving Ultraverse titles restarted with a special "∞"-numbered issue.
|“||Let's just say that I wanted to bring these characters back in a very big way, but the way that the deal was initially structured, it's next to impossible to go back and publish these books.
There are rumors out there that it has to do with a certain percentage of sales that has to be doled out to the creative teams. While this is a logistical nightmare because of the way the initial deal was structured, it's not the reason why we have chosen not to go near these characters, there is a bigger one, but I really don't feel like it’s my place to make that dirty laundry public.
Crossovers with Marvel Comics
- Prime vs. the Incredible Hulk
- Nightman vs. Wolverine
- The All-New Exiles vs. X-Men
- Conan vs. Rune
- Prime/Captain America
- Rune vs. Venom
- The Phoenix Resurrection
- Rune/Silver Surfer
- Ryan McLelland on the history of the Ultraverse
- Joe Quesada on Ultraverse revivals
- Rich Johnston's Lying in the Gutters, speaking with creators on an Ultraverse revival
- details of Ultraforce and Ultraverse