Trading Cards: Firearm

Ultraverse started into the trading card business almost immediately.  Here are some of the Firearm related cards featured in the first set they produced.

Firearm card 13

 Firearm card 83

   Firearm card 79

Alec Swans former employers got their own entry as well.

Firearm card 93

Also, in case you wondered what happened to the Jerry Bingham design for Firearm…that design was reworked and became Requiem.

Firearm card 14

Firearm card 14 back

Ask Around!

The Ultraverse has always been described as a ‘Writer’s Universe” with emphasis over story building then imagery (pun intended).  James Robinson, who produced some of his first professional work in the Ultraverse, is a writer often name dropped when supporting this claim. James Robinson wrote for Firearm.  Firearm was very will written with very funny and poignant dialog.  Firearm was also very well designed with beautiful imagery. If your not familiar Firearm is about an ex spy turned private eye operating in a tinsel town filled with Ultras.  Here is one of my all time favorite single pages in a comic book, from Firearm #1 (page 16).

firearm - 1_16

I know when I read it for the first time (and every time) it feels like I’m in a great P.I. detective show on television.  Great imagery and design for a comic in a ‘Writer’s Universe’….

Ultraverse Podcast: Prime of Your Life, Episode 02

Ultraverse Podcast: Prime of Your LifeIt’s the second episode of ULTRAVERSE PODCAST: PRIME OF YOUR LIFE!

In this episode, co-hosts the Irredeemable Shag and David continue their coverage of #1 issues, featuring: Firearm, Prototype, Solution, Night Man, Sludge, and Solitaire! Plus, we read some of your Ultra-Feedback on the air!

Thanks for listening!

Next week: The second episode of THE NIGHT MAN PODCAST!

Firearm #1 Review

Firearm #1 (September 1993)

Firearm #1 cover by Howard Chaykin

Cover Art: Howard Chaykin
Title: American Pastimes Part One

Writer: James Robinson
Penciler: Cully Hamner
Inker: John Lowe
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Color Designer: Paul Mounts
Editor: Chris Ulm

We open with Ernie Shadrack wanting to know where Alec Swan is with his bail jumper.  That’s when Swan (Firearm – more on that later) comes crashing through the window with the O’Malley.  A short fight ensues (continues) and O’Malley is taken out with a water cooler.  Swan demands more money because Shadrack told him that O’Malley had limited Ultra Powers, not the full extent of those powers.  Shadrack argues and calls him Firearm, a name which Swan apparently hates.

Firearm V1 #1 - Page 9

Alec goes home, gets himself cleaned up and goes to his office. He has an unmarked office because his last few had been attacked by Ultras.  He gets an offer for some Hockey tickets, a message that some Japanese prints are in, and a lead on another case.  See, he’s a P.I. type that specializes in Ultra work, although that’s not all he does.

He meets with a woman that was to be married to an former Marine that has gone missing.  She had already filed a missing persons report, but decided to hire Alec Swan anyway.

Firearm #1

He checks his normal informants and typical places (where Arnie worked, etc.) as well as checks in with Ben Travers.  A cop that helps him when he can.  In fact they are planning to see the Kings game that night.

Alec is driving to the game later, and  is attacked by a vehicle full of gun waving madmen.  After dispatching them, and losing his vehicle in the process, a police cruiser pulls up.  Not a good thing for our man Swan, as the cruiser contains a lizard looking Ultra out to kill Swan as well.  Seems there is more to the case of the missing groom than there first appeared to be.

Firearm #1

A fight follows and Swan finally takes the thing out in a somewhat creative way.

Right off the bat you can see that this book is going to be different.  There an inner monologue going on throughout the initial fight scene.  Alec Swan introduces himself, as well as humoring us with a bit of self-deprecating humor.  He’s not the pretty boy hero that most comics go for.  He is a scarred, cranky ex English agent of an outfit called the Lodge.  His code name there was Firearm, due to the gun he carries.

His inner monologue also is filled with old movie, book and other references.  This is something that carries throughout the series, and even becomes a huge discussion piece for the letter columns (remember those?)  I will be covering these in a separate entry here, as there are a lot of them.

I remember being told by a comic shop owner that saw some of the books I was buying at the time that I should check this book out.  It was on the second or third issue at the time.  I did, and I loved it.

Oh yeah, there is also a very loose tie in to his later book Starman within one of these issues.  I’ll be sure to mention it when it happens.  It’s just a minor thing, but cool if you bought and read both books.

Ultraverse Fan Origin: David Sopko

Hello there Ultraverse fans.  David Sopko here.  I’ll be covering Firearm for you.  Hope to branch out to some other titles, but got to keep my focus right now.

Firearm 1
Why Firearm?  Why the Ultraverse even?  It all started back in 1993.  That was not the beginning of my comic book fandom…that started with young Dave watching Spider-Man on The Electric Company…no, 1993 was when I discovered James Robinson, and in turn Firearm.  Then, the rest of the Ultraverse.

Honestly, I had read some of James Robinsons Terminator comics without thinking too much about his name.  Then I got hold of The Golden Age.  A mini series from DC Comics, and I fell in love with his writing.  I happened to be in a comic shop one day talking to the owner about James Robinson and how much I enjoyed his writing.  He grabbed Firearm 1 – 4 off the shelf and told me to give these a try.  He told me that the book was part of something called the Ultraverse.  But I didn’t have to read any of that to get Firearm.

Well, my 23 year old self got home and quickly read through the books several times.  The Break-Thru event had happened, and I was curious about it, even though it didn’t really effect Firearm.  The fact that George Perez was involved was also a plus.  I grabbed that the next day and soon was grabbing all of the issues of the Ultraverse that had come out up to that point.  I mean, there were all kinds of writers and artists that I knew working on these titles and that really appealed to me.  The cohesive universe they were putting together drew me in.


From that point on, I collected everything I could.  Met several of the creators over the years and have a lot of signatures on many books.  I missed a few issues here or there towards the end of the Marvel Ultraverse period, but have narrowed that down to one issue to go.

Firearm movie

In my contributions here.  plan on reviewing the issues of his series, but the movie that they produced as well.  Showing off the trading cards associated with Firearm.  As well as showcasing the heroes and villains that appear in the book, as well as running through the literary works that James Robinson threw in the book.  There will also be crossover issues to talk about, featuring Prime and a slew of others that were affected by The Rafferty Saga.

So…got my comics.  Got my movie.  Got my binder full of Ultraverse trading cards.  Have my Ultraforce figures ready (even though Firearm was never produced for the line…boo.)  I’m all ready…hope you’re all ready to Jump In with me.


Countdown to Ultraverse (Network)

Prior to release of the first Ultraverse comics, Malibu distributed a free giveaway featuring previews of upcoming titles. This giveaway, referred to as “Countdown to Ultraverse,” featured profiles on the first several series. With our Ultraverse Network officially launching tomorrow, this seems the ideal time to refresh everyone’s memory of those early days!

We won’t make a habit of sharing an entire comic, however, this particular issue was free and for promotions. Click the images below to enlarge.

Countdown to Ultraverse

The inside front cover featured a key to identifying all the characters on the cover…


Page one featured an editorial by Chris Ulm…


On with the entries! Hardcase, Prime and The Strangers all received two-page spreads…




The remaining titles all received a single page…









Interestingly enough, there were three slightly different versions of, “Countdown to Ultraverse.” In addition to the cover above there was another version with the same artwork, except Hardcase is yelling, “Catch”. In the third variant, Hardcase is still yelling “Catch”, but there are serial numbers appearing in the top right corner. Since this particular version promoted the first trading card series, I’ve included the advertisement appearing within this giveaway!

Ultraverse Preview Skybox Trading Cards

Such great promotional material! An excellent way to generate hype for the Ultraverse!

Be sure to check back here tomorrow for the launch of our network, and the release of our first podcast!

Rafferty Saga Promo Art by Jerome K Moore

A gorgeous piece by Jerome K. Moore promoting the Firearm-themed Rafferty Saga! Found on his deviantART page!

Rafferty Saga


Here is how it was listed on Jerome’s deviantART page:

Comic Book Promotional Art, Malibu Comics, Rafferty Crossover. Pencil, ink, china marker, opaque gouache. Digital color provided by Albert Calleros!

Original black-and-white illustration found here

Okay! Because color seems to have the greatest appeal to viewers online, I’m pleased to present this version of a piece I did ages ago, as digitally colored by the great Albert Calleros.

Many years back, when Malibu Comics was in existence out here in Southern California, my buddy Hank Kanalz was an editor there, on the rise at only twelve years of age (NOW, Hank’s a Grand High Mucketty-Muck for DC Comics, hangin’ out with stars and power-brokers like Jim Lee and such, and he’s only seventeen years of age.). Anyway, MISTER Kanalz gave me the assignment of designing art for a company ad featuring a character called Rafferty. Rafferty was a formidable villain, a killer who uses a nasty-looking foot-long blade, with a spiked hand-guard. This guy was going to appear in several Malibu titles, wreaking some serious mayhem. The idea was to tease fans about which of their favorite heroes might be getting killed off. The titles involved were SLUDGE (Hi, Aaron Lopresti!), WARSTRIKE, FREEX (Hey, Ben Herrera!), NIGHTMAN, and PRIME (Howdy, Norm Breyfogle!).

I decided to go with individual panels depicting each book’s characters in close-up, all unaware of the deadly danger awaiting them. Rafferty is featured prominently, having cut a huge slash through all of the hero panels, the slash directing the viewer’s eye through all the panels, and back to Rafferty himself. Some of the panels drip at the bottom, and there’s blood spattered here and there. I submitted this concept, Hank approved the sketch, and this was the final result. I personally requested Albert for the task of coloring the piece, and I think he did a fantastic job! I hope you like it! Cheers!