Ultraverse Premiere

One of the more novel ideas Malibu used to promote their Ultraverse line from within was the Ultraverse Premiere “floating flip book.”

From March of 1994 to February 1995, UP would appear as a flip-book published on the reverse side of a different Ultraverse core title. One month, UP was published as the flip side of Rune; the next month UP was published as the flip side of Mantra.

Ultraverse Premiere #1

Taking its lead from the #0 issue of November 1993, UP consisted of three short stories featuring three different Ultraverse heroes and villains. It acted as a springboard for new characters, such as Ripfire, allowed for group book characters like The Strangers’ Lady Killer to receive some solo attention, or to show how Ultras affected their world.

It was also a clever excuse to get readers of UP to pick up titles they would otherwise have avoided.

Most importantly, it was a noble experiment the likes of which hasn’t been duplicated to the same extent. There have always been back-up features and flip-books, but never to the same full-length degree Malibu attempted.

Yet another reason to miss the Ultraverse.

Ultraverse Premiere #7

Debutant Debut – Mantra #1

Mantra 1

Mantra 1

As referenced in the first episode of our Ultraverse Podcast, The Prime of Your Life, here is the cover to Mantra #1.

Upon initial review, I’d argue that the cover depicts an adventure that’s taking place elsewhere and off-screen. Where is this half-naked and oddly posed woman leaping? And who is it that yelling guy with triple-barreled gun shooting? And who is the weird guy whose face is horribly obscured by the logo?

I do my best not to nitpick. I try my hardest not to be a jerk. But this cover does nothing for the fantastic book inside.

I love you, Mantra. Let’s not fight.

Me and You and ‘Bu

What brought me to this sweet thing we called the Ultraverse?

Mantra #4 cover by Terry Dodson & Al Vey

Mantra #4 cover
by Terry Dodson & Al Vey

My then-girlfriend, Monica.

It was the fall of 1994. We were in both in college in Austin. After a brief two year break-up with comics, I decided to start reading them again.

Only too much was happening. There was a new Green Lantern because the old one went crazy. Bruce Wayne wasn’t Batman but was again. And wasn’t Superman dead? And who the hell are all these X-Men?

I was looking over the Marvel and DC Comics at my local comic store when I heard Monica ask if I’d ever read this book called “Mantra.”

What the hell was Mantra?

She handed me Mantra issue 4.

I stared at the cover. While not dynamic or inventive, there was something intriguing about this jaundiced cyborg cuddling up next to a beautiful masked woman spilling out of her armor. And that color! Who did color like that?

Monica told me she thought we should buy it – and by “we” that meant me.

So I did. And I read it and learned about a single mother named Mantra caught up in an centuries old battle with the evil Boneyard  — only Mantra possessed the body of a goddess inhabited by mind and soul of a man!

Crazy stuff. I was sold.

The next day I returned to the store and picked up issues two and three. And then something called Firearm caught my eye. Then there were these books called Prime and Hardcase.

It was new. It was young. It was dynamic.

It was the Ultraverse. And comics won me back again.