Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Malibu Comics

You may recall I did a post on Ultraforce. I mentioned their publisher Malibu Comics. Who were they? Let's take a look.
It Begins...
The company was founded by Dave Olbrich and Tom Mason in 1986, with Scott Mitchell Rosenber (who operated Sunrise Distributors) financing the company. Chris Ulm joined them the following year.
The company started by printing black and white, creator-owned comics. However, the company became popular when they started producing comics based off public domain characters, tie-ins to movies / video games and original series. Thanks to Scott, Malibu effectively bought Aircel Comics and Eternity Comics. The company revived several public domain superheroes (such as Mighty Man, Man of War, Ferret, Airman, Aura, Protectors and so on).
Working For Image
The company started to become a publishing house for Image Comics (thus giving Image access to a distributors). This gave Malibu control of 10% of market share for American comic books. Image later broke off and published their comics themselves.
The Glory Days
In late 1992, Malibu combined with video game company Acme Interactive to become Malibu Comics Entertainment. During the spectator craze of the 90s, Malibu created their own line of superhero comics (including Ultraforce) which took place in their own fictional universe: the Ultraverse. These comic used a special coloring system and high quality paper (which they were quick to boast about). The creators emphasized continuity in their comics and often used crossovers. This line were very successful. The company formed the imprints Bravura (for creator-owned series) and Rock-It Comix (for comics based on rock bands).
Marvel Cometh
Due to industry-wide sale declines, Malibu had to cancel several low-selling series. Marvel bought the company for its coloring system. Ulm and Mason left the company. The Ultraverse line was cancelled. In the Black September event, Marvel tried to relaunch the Ultraverse, but was forced to cancel shortly after doing so. Steve Englehart (who works for Marvel) claimed Marvel won't try to bring the Ultraverse character back due to royalties to the original creators.

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