Marvel Bought the Ultraverse 1995 ad

Marvel Buys Malibu: My Favorite Comic Ad of 1995

The Background

On November 4th, 1994, Marvel officially purchased Malibu Comics.  Conventional wisdom says they bought it for its coloring department, but Malibu co-founder Tom Mason disputes that.  And he would know better than the “wisdom of the crowd,” which was based on press releases of the time.

You can read the memo that went out to Malibu employees when the deal closed.

As both Malibu and Marvel were private companies at the time, terms of the deal were not public. I can’t find any reference on-line to how much the deal cost Marvel.  If there’s a number floating out there, someone please point me to it.  I’d love to know.

When all was done and dusted, everyone went back to work on the Malibu’s Ultraverse, the superhero line that Malibu had created in the post-Image era when every publisher suddenly wanted a superhero line.

That didn’t last long, though.

The Ad

Shortly after the purchase, Malibu placed an ad in “Hero Illustrated” magazine that still makes me laugh. I can’t imagine anyone in comics doing anything like this today. Flaunting a buy-out just seems — weird.

Don’t get me wrong — I love it.  It’s just a little more honest and self-referential than I’d expect to see today.



In 1995 the Ultraverse was cheaper than Malibu


The big headline is funny.  The stinger puts it over the top:

Ultraverse is cheaper than what Marvel paid for Malibu


With more titles hitting $4.99, I’m not so sure that’s true anymore today…

It would be a great framework for a series of ads, though.  Can you imagine the headline after 2010’s big purchase:

“Disney Bought the 616 Marvel Universe!  And You Should, too! On Sale Monthly From Marvel Comics For a Lot Less Than Your Movie Ticket to ‘The Princess and the Frog'”!

Somehow, I’m not surprised that didn’t happen…

(And just for the record, I am not a fan of that whole ‘616’ nonsense…)

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