Eclipse Comics was an American comic book publisher, one of several independent publishers during the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1978, it published the first graphic novel intended for the newly created comic book specialty store market. It was one of the first to offer royalties and creator ownership of rights, and the first comics company to publish trading cards.
Intellectual property acquired by Todd McFarlane 1996
|Founder||Jan Mullaney, Dean Mullaney|
|Headquarters location||Staten Island, New York, then Columbia, Missouri, then Guerneville, California, then Forestville, California|
|Key people||Catherine Yronwode|
|Publication types||Comics, trading cards|
|Imprints||Independent Comics Group|
The company was founded as Eclipse Enterprises by brothers Jan and Dean Mullaney in 1977. Eclipse published one of the first original graphic novels, and the first to be sold through the new "direct market" of comic-book stories, Sabre: Slow Fade of an Endangered Species by Don McGregor and Paul Gulacy. Published in August 1978, it led to a 14-issue spin-off series for Eclipse.
McGregor went on to write two additional early graphic novels for Eclipse, each set in contemporary New York City and starring interracial-buddy private eyes Ted Denning and Bob Rainier: Detectives, Inc.: A Remembrance of Threatening Green (1980), with artist Marshall Rogers, and Detectives, Inc.: A Terror Of Dying Dreams (1985), with artist Gene Colan, who would become a frequent collaborator.
Creators whose early work appears in Eclipse publications include Chuck Austen, Donna Barr, Dan Brereton, Chuck Dixon, James Hudnall, Scott McCloud, Peter Milligan, Tim Truman, and Chris Ware. Veterans published by Eclipse include Steve Englehart, Don McGregor, Gene Colan, and Mark Evanier. The company published Alan Moore's series Miracleman.
During the early 1980s, Eclipse moved several times: from 81 Delaware Street, Staten Island, New York, to 295 Austin Street, Columbia, Missouri, and then to the small towns of Guerneville and later Forestville in Sonoma County, California.
Beginning in Missouri, Eclipse expanded operations under editor Cat Yronwode (who was married to Eclipse co-founder Dean Mullaney from 1987–1993). With Yronwode as editor-in-chief during a period of expanding attention to the art form, Eclipse published many innovative works and championed creators' rights in a field which at the time barely respected them.
During Yronwode's tenure, Eclipse published superhero titles including Miracleman by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens, and Zot! by Scott McCloud. and also brought out graphic novels featuring opera adaptations, such as The Magic Flute by P. Craig Russell and children's literature such as an adaptation of The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.
In 1985, Yronwode and cartoonist Trina Robbins co-wrote the Eclipse book Women and the Comics, on the history of female comic-strip and comic-book creators. As the first book on this subject, its publication was covered in the mainstream press in addition to the fan press.
During the 1980s, Eclipse brought out a new line of non-fiction, non-sports trading cards, edited by Yronwode. Controversial political subjects such as the Iran-Contra scandal, the Savings and Loan crisis, the AIDS epidemic, and the Kennedy Assassination, as well as true crime accounts of serial killers, mass murderers, the Mafia, and organized crime were covered in these card sets.
In 1988, in partnership with Viz Communications and Studio Proteus, Eclipse published some of the earliest English-translated Japanese manga, such as Area 88, Mai, the Psychic Girl, and The Legend of Kamui. With the success of these titles, the manga line was expanded.
In 1986, Eclipse lost most of its back-issue stock in a flood. This event, along with the repercussions of Mullaney and Yronwode's divorce, and the mid-1990s collapse of the direct market distribution system, caused the company to cease operations in 1994. and file for bankruptcy in 1995. The company's intellectual property rights were later acquired by Todd McFarlane. Mullaney also attributed the company's demise to a problematic contract with the book publisher HarperCollins. Eclipse's last publication was its Spring 1993 catalog, which was a complete bibliography of its publications.
Airboy is a fictional aviator hero of an American comic book series initially published by Hillman Periodicals during the World War II-era time period fans and historians call the Golden Age of comic books. He was created by writers Charles Biro and Dick Wood and artist Al Camy.
The character disappeared from publications until a 1980s revival under Chuck Dixon that lasted for several years. He has appeared intermittently since then under multiple publishers, sometimes updating his story to the present day.Alien Encounters
Alien Encounters is an American science fiction anthology comic book published by FantaCo Enterprises and then Eclipse Comics. The comic debuted with FantaCo in 1981, and in 1985 was revived by Eclipse, where (starting over from issue 1) it ran for fourteen issues until 1987.
Eclipse began publishing the title soon after the cancellation of Alien Worlds, a similar science-fiction themed anthology.Black Terror
The Black Terror is a fictional comic book superhero who originally appeared in Exciting Comics #9, published by Nedor Comics in January 1941. Some Black Terror stories were written by Patricia Highsmith before she became an acclaimed novelist. The character has been revived by various publishers over the years, including AC Comics, Eclipse Comics, America's Best Comics, and Dynamite Entertainment.
His secret identity was pharmacist Bob Benton, who formulated a chemical he called "formic ethers", which gave him various superpowers. He used these powers to fight crime with his sidekick, Tim Roland, together known as the "Terror Twins".Brought to Light
Brought to Light: Thirty Years of Drug Smuggling, Arms Deals, and Covert Action is an anthology of two political graphic novels, published originally by Eclipse Comics in 1988.The two stories are Shadowplay: The Secret Team by Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz, and Flashpoint: The LA Penca Bombing documented by Martha Honey and Tony Avirgan and adapted by Joyce Brabner and Tom Yeates. Brought to Light was edited overall by Joyce Brabner, Catherine Yronwode acted as executive editor, and Eclipse publisher Dean Mullaney was the publication designer.Coyote (comics)
Coyote is an American comic book series created by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers.Crossfire (Eclipse Comics)
Crossfire is a comic book series created by writer Mark Evanier and artist Dan Spiegle originally for Eclipse Comics. It was a spin off from DNAgents, which was also written by Evanier.Destroyer Duck
Destroyer Duck was an anthology comic book published by Eclipse Comics in 1982, as well as the title of its primary story, written by Steve Gerber and featuring artwork by Jack Kirby.The book was published as a way to help Gerber raise funds for a lawsuit he was embroiled in at the time, in which he was battling industry giant Marvel Comics over the ownership of the character Howard the Duck, which Gerber created for the company in 1973.Doc Stearn...Mr. Monster
Doc Stearn...Mr. Monster is a comic book featuring a superhero created by Michael T. Gilbert, most recently published by Dark Horse Comics. The character first appeared in Pacific Comics Vanguard Illustrated #7 (July 1984). Later the character graduated to his own monthly series Doc Stearn...Mr. Monster from Eclipse Comics. Mr. Monster was derived from an old 1940's character created by Fred Kelly who appeared only twice in 1940s Canadian comic books (Triumph Comics #31, 1946, and Super-Duper Comics #3, 1947). After trademarking Mr. Monster, Gilbert heavily revised the character creating a Horror/Humor hybrid which often featured heavy satire of both the horror genre and superhero comics in general.Eclipse Magazine
Eclipse, The Magazine (or simply Eclipse) was a black-and-white comics anthology magazine published by Eclipse Comics from 1981 to 1983. The magazine introduced several new characters and series — including Coyote, Ms. Tree, and Masked Man — that would get published in collections and new series by Eclipse and others.
Many of the features from Eclipse were carried over into the color anthology Eclipse Monthly, which ran from August 1983 to July 1984.Groo the Wanderer
Groo the Wanderer is a fantasy/comedy comic book series written and drawn by Sergio Aragonés, rewritten, co-plotted and edited by Mark Evanier, lettered by Stan Sakai and colored by Tom Luth. Over the years it has been published by Pacific Comics, Eclipse Comics (one special issue), Marvel Comics (under its Epic imprint), Image Comics and Dark Horse Comics.
Groo was one of the first widely successful creator-owned comics, one of the few successful humorous comic books in the United States (outside Archie Comics) during its time, and one of the longest-running collaborations in comic book history. In 2011 IGN ranked Groo 100th in the "Top 100 comic books heroes".Marvelman
Miracleman, formerly known as Marvelman, is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Marvelman was created in 1954 by writer-artist Mick Anglo for publisher L. Miller & Son. Originally a United Kingdom home-grown substitute for the American character Captain Marvel, the series ran until 1963. It was revived in 1982 in a dark, post-modern reboot by writer Alan Moore, with later contributions by Neil Gaiman.Official DC Index
The Official DC Index is a series of comic books released by Independent Comics Group (an imprint of Eclipse Comics) from 1985–1988, which featured synopses of several DC Comics series. The books, edited by Murray Ward, would often feature background information on the main characters in a particular series, and detailed information on each issue, including writer and artist credits, characters who appeared in the issue, and a story synopsis. A similar series of indices called the Official Marvel Index was published by Marvel Comics.Rocketeer
The Rocketeer is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books originally published by Pacific Comics. Created by writer/artist Dave Stevens, the character first appeared in 1982 and is a homage to the Saturday matinee serial heroes from the 1930s through the 1950s.The Rocketeer's secret identity is Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovers a mysterious jetpack that allows him to fly. His adventures are set in Los Angeles and New York in 1938, and Stevens gave them a retro, nostalgic feel influenced by the King of the Rocket Men and Commando Cody movie serials (both from Republic Pictures), and pinup diva Bettie Page.The character was adapted into the 1991 Walt Disney Pictures film The Rocketeer by director Joe Johnston.Sabre (Eclipse Comics)
Sabre (subtitled Slow Fade of an Endangered Species), published in August 1978, is the title of an American graphic novel. Created by writer Don McGregor and artist Paul Gulacy, it was published by Eclipse Enterprises, whose eventual division Eclipse Comics would publish a spin-off comic-book series. It was one of the first modern graphic novels and the first to be distributed in comic book shops.Star Reach
Star Reach (also spelled Star*Reach) was an American science fiction and fantasy comics anthology published from 1974 to 1979 by Mike Friedrich.Static (Eclipse Comics)
Static is a fictional comic book hero created and owned by writer-artist Steve Ditko.Tapping the Vein (comics)
Tapping the Vein is a comic series of Clive Barker's short stories from The Books of Blood published by Eclipse Comics between 1989 and 1992.The DNAgents
The DNAgents is a comic-book series created by writer Mark Evanier and artist Will Meugniot and published by Eclipse Comics in 1983. It was later picked up briefly by Antarctic Press. In June 2006, reprinted issues were collected into DNAgents Volume 1.
The series centers on a team of superheroes created through genetic engineering by the Matrix Corporation to act as superhuman enforcers for the head of the company.Total Eclipse (comics)
Total Eclipse was a comic book mini-series in five parts published by Eclipse Comics in 1988. The title was a cross-company crossover in the style of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and intended to bring all of Eclipse's characters together, no matter how obscure or bizarre, many of whom were acquisitions from defunct Hillman Periodicals. These include Airboy, Black Angel, Dot, Impulse, Misery, Polestar, Prowler, Sgt. Strike, Skywolf, Strike!, Tachyon, and Valkyrie.
The title consisted of a main story written by Marv Wolfman, and drawn by Bo Hampton. Accompanying the main story were back up stories by various creators featuring Eclipse characters. Issue four is especially notable as it features the first Neil Gaiman-written Miracleman story.