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Was There Almost an Ultraverse Relaunch?


Steve Englehart was hired to do a pitch on an Ultraverse relaunch at Marvel..



A while back, I did a Comic Book Legends Revealed about Marvel’s purchase of Malibu Comics and specifically their Ultraverse line of superhero comic books. That piece was about debunking the legends about why Marvel purchased the Ultraverse.

One thing that I have never been able to state definitively, and something that I doubt I’ll ever be able to state definitively (because I Suspect it is connected to contract terms that would never become public under normal circumstances) is why Marvel has never done a reboot or relaunch of the Ultraverse, despite owning all of these characters. So don’t bother asking about that one for future legends.

However, while Marvel doesn’t look like they’ll ever do a relaunch of a reboot in the future, they actually DID consider doing one in the past! And it was going to be done by one of the original Ultraverse creators, the great Steve Englehart, who created “The Strangers” for the Ultraverse…

And this new project would ALSO be called “The Strangers,” only it wouldn’t be like his original series (which was about a group of strangers who gained powers at the same time on a trolley in San Francisco), but rather a mixture of some of the most notable characters from the Ultraverse.

Englehart explained it on his website:

“Bring back the Ultraverse” was my only directive, but I decided to get at least one character by every Founding Father into the mix.* I used the name THE STRANGERS because it was even more descriptive of this concept than the original one – literally, nobody in the Marvel Universe knew these guys – but it included HARDCASE, CHOICE, MANTRA, PRIME, SLUDGE, RUNE, and LORD PUMPKIN, along with LADY KILLER, THE NIGHT MAN, RHIANNON, and ATOM BOB. With that many characters, and my usual need to give them all character depth, I decided to do what I’d done with the JUSTICE LEAGUE, and asked for a monthly, double-sized book. Marvel was dubious of that idea from the start, maintaining that a double-sized monthly could not be done these days – while I maintained that doing the entire Ultraverse in a regular-sized book could not be done.

But we never resolved that question because they decided not to resurrect the Ultraverse after all. The Ultraverse had been the last successful – and the most successful – character-group launch in comics history, but Marvel decided to follow its own path.
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