I recently acquired several long boxes of comic books (something I tend to do regularly) and in one of the boxes I found the “WIZARD SUPERMAN TRIBUTE EDITION” from April 1993. This magazine was produced as a tribute to The Man Of Steel at a time when he had just died at the hands of Doomsday!
This was 100 pages of articles discussing the the legacy of Superman and the impact of his death both in the DC Universe as well as in the Comic Collecting Community. There were also many pages of advertisements. It was two of these ads, in particular, that caught my attention. The first being and Advertisement for Malibu Comics “ULTRAVERSE” LINE!!!
The “ULTRAVERSE” LINE contained some of the best thought out characters that had been brought into the comic publishing world in many years. The writing as well as the artwork was of a caliber which had not been seen in quite some time. The irony of this advertisement is the heroes would probably outlast their competition had not one of their competition decided to buy up the company and then end the “ULTRAVERSE” LINE with extreme prejudice!!!! Leaving the comic book collecting world a much sadder place…
Of course not nearly as sad as would the loss of the company who also had an advertisement featured in this issue…CAPITAL CITY DISTRIBUTION!!!
For collectors and dealers who have only been involved with comic books since the late 1990s it may be hard to fathom that once upon a time there were more than just one company distributing comic books in the “Direct Market”. during the period in the late 1970s through 1996 there were as many as 25 distribution companies. By the late 1980s it had been reduced to around 10. At the time this issue of Wizard was published there were around 7 with Capital City Distributing being the largest. Sadly a few years later one comic book company (the same one that bought and then destroyed Malibu / Ultaverse) made a move that ultimately led to the demise of every Comic Book Distribution company but one. That company survives to this day as the ONLY comic book distribution company in America.
The comic book industry is not important enough to be investigated for the monopolistic practices that exist here despite the fact that having only one company that distributes comic books has had a definite negative impact on the industry as well as the hobby!!!