APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Firearm (1993)

April 2: Forgotten Heroes — Share a superhero movie that no one knows but you.

At one point, in the midst of the comic book boom of the early 90s, Malibu Comics — owned by Dave Olbrich and Tom Mason with the private financing of Scott Mitchell Rosenberg — was big enough to encompass Eternity Comics, Aircel, Adventure and from 1992 to 1993, Image Comics.

That’s right. Despite the small origins of starting with Ex-Mutants, Maliby eventually was published licensed comics for Planet of the Apes and Alien Nation, as well as being the publisher in record of books like Youngblood and Spawn, becoming 10% of the entire comic book industry and for a time, they were bigger than D.C.

Their own characters like the aforementioned Ex-Mutants and Dinosaurs for Hire got video games and the company was doing well when Image got big enough to publish its own books. This led to Malibu’s Ultraverse, which looked quite different than other comics on the racks, as Malibu premiered digital coloring and higher quality paper.

The continuity of the Ultraverse was, well, ultra tight and packed with crossovers. There was also plenty of talent on the first books. Prime has Bob Jacob, Gerard Jones, Len Strazewski, Norm Breyfogle and Bret Blevins. Hardcase was created by James D. Hudnall. And the last of the initial three books, The Strangers, was by Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg. Other major creators would come on board like Mike W. Barr, Steve Gerber and James Robinson.

There was a thirteen-episode Ultraforce cartoon — and toyline! — and a Glen A. Larson-created Nightman series that came out of the imprint before Marvel Comics bought the company in November 1994 supposedly so they could purchase their in-house coloring studio or maybe to keep D.C. from buying them. The Ultraverse became Earth-93060 and gradually was whittled down to fewer and fewer titles until the line ended by the end of 1997.

In 2003, Steve Englehart was commissioned by Marvel to relaunch the Ultraverse, but it never happened. There’s a rumor that the way profit sharing was part of the company — or allegedly the. shady business dealings of Rosenberg — will keep these characters in limbo.

But I told you that to tell you this.

At one point — 1993 — Malibu introduced their new hero Firearm by making a 35-minute VHS that came with an issue of the comic.

Created by writer James Robinson and artists Howard Chaykin and Cully Hamner, Firearm lasted nineteen issues and told the story of private detective Alec Swan, who keeps getting pulled into ultra-human work.

Directed by Darren Doane — who also made Blink 182’s “Dammit” and oh Lord, Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas — and written by Robinson, this introduces you to Alec Swan (James Jude Courtney, yes, the man who would one day by The Shape), a British SBS commando who became a member of the secretive Lodge, a group of secret agents who operate outside of the rules of governments. He’s called Firearm because, well, he can kill anyone and just about anything thanks to his gun shooting abilities. He’s also obsessed with film noir, hence relocating to Los Angeles and trying to be an old-fashioned detective.

The movie introduces his antagonist Duet (Joe Hulser) and is a basic 80s tough cop action film, but man, it has tons of squibs in it. It leads directly into issue zero of the comic, which it was packed with for $14.95.

Robinson went on to write one of the best comics of, well, ever in Starman and a comic book movie that is the inverse in quality of the comic that inspired it, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

As for this movie, well, it’s certainly interesting that it even exists.

You can watch this on YouTube.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.