Most of the crew at Caliber Comics are
often asked about how Caliber started, what were the earlier titles, and the like. Here,
we thought we'd cover some of the historical highlights of the company in a rather brief
fashion. Many of the dates are rather tentative because, after all, we'd never planned on
getting this far!
At a meeting at his comic store in Westland, Mi. Gary Reed announces the formation of a
new comics company to be called Caliber. In attendance were creators Guy Davis, Vincent
Locke, Mark Winfrey, Mark Bloodworth, and Dirk Johnston.
The initial titles are announced. Deadworld and Realm from Arrow Comics will now be
published by Caliber. A new series, Baker Street, co-created by Reed and Guy Davis, is
scheduled and an anthology series is proposed, to be called High Caliber. Reed meets with
a local film company about doing a adaptation of a movie they're doing which stars Walter
Koenig and is called Moontrap.
Production work begins on the comics and solicitation of the new titles as Caliber is
introduced. The staff of Caliber consists of Reed and two of his store employees, Chester
Jacques helping with editorial and another employee assisting in art production. Reed
secures hot artist, Tim Vigil, for a serial and cover for High Caliber. Later, a customer
at the store, James O'Barr, shows Reed the first two issues of a series called The Crow
which Reed adds to the Caliber line-up.
The first Caliber titles are released. The initial title released is Deadworld #10 to be
followed by Caliber Presents (which was originally to be called High Caliber, but is
changed because of a possible conflict with a movie coming out), Realm 14 followed by Crow
1 and Baker Street 1. Moontrap follows soon after. The "official" debut is at
the Capital City Trade Show. Caliber gives away 1000's of copies of first prints of Crow.
Soon after, Caliber releases the Progeny graphic novel from newcomer J. Calafiore.
Reed makes arrangements with "POCKET
CLASSICS", a series of illustrated books similar in design to Classics Illustrated to
be released to the Direct Market via Caliber Press.
Caliber sets up at their first Chicago Convention. There, they sign up new titles such as
Go-Man and Fringe. Other new titles released over the summer include Cheerleaders from
Hell, Gringo, and Northguard.
Early Winter 1990-
Snarl, Varcel's Vixens, and Frost are new titles added to the schedule. Reed hires Kevin
VanHook as Production Manager.
John Bergin debuts his Ashes series and Jazz Age Chronicles comes to Caliber. Nate Pride
joins to assist in
Caliber releases an adaptation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and it is Caliber's most
successful title to date and is Caliber's first color book. Mike Allred debuts his
Creatures of the Id one shot which features the very first appearance of Madman (as Frank
Caliber launches two new color series, Billy Nguyen and Grafik Muzik. VanHook leaves to
eventually become Editor in Chief at Valiant Comics.
Caliber signs a deal with Palladium Books, a role playing company, to release comic
adaptations of the games. The first and only release is Mechanoids. Caliber signs up
Michael Lark (later of Terminal City fame) and his series, Airwaves.
Caliber releases Silencers from Mark Askwith and R.G. Taylor and launches a new line of
comics built around literary adaptations, biographies, and historical events....Tome
Caliber launches two new lines of comics. Iconografix debuts in April and Gauntlet in May.
Also in April, Caliber launches the first of its Calibrations incarnations.
Caliber produces a specially made comic for Troma Films...Frostbiter, which is distributed
at the Cannes Film Festival but never released to the comics market.
The long running series of Deadworld and Realm come to a close, setting the stage for a
re-launch the following year.
Early Winter 1993-
Caliber releases UN Force which gains national attention on CNN and HNN. Sales skyrocket
on the series...for awhile. In February, Caliber releases Berzerker #1 which remains
Caliber's top selling black and white book even today.
Caliber releases all new versions of Deadworld and The Realm. Another series released,
Sinergy, gets a great deal of critical acclaim.
The first issue of Negative Burn is released and will become Caliber's longest running
consecutive series to eventually end at number 50.
Caliber merges with the Stabur Corporation. Caliber's only two employees (Gary Reed and
Nate Pride) move into the Stabur offices and Reed becomes President of Stabur as well.
Reed is named Vice-President of McFarlane Toys while still running Stabur and Caliber. Jim
Pruett is hired to take over some of the editorial duties of Caliber.
Caliber releases records and a specialty magazine, ARC, and enters distribution with
records and magazines. Caliber produces special comics for Wal-Mart distribution including
the series of Big Bang and Stormquest. Notable releases in the summer include Big Bang and
Caliber provides an adaptation of the Frankenstein novel for mass market. It is Caliber's
best selling title ever and continues to be so even through 1998. A new series, OZ, is
released also and will eventually have nearly 30 issues published by Caliber.
Caliber continues to provide mass market distribution comics including Stormquest and ten
of the Tome Press titles at sales 10-12x what the "comics market" orders.
Caliber releases the first issue of Kabuki.
Caliber hires Joe Martin and releases the initial launch of PowerCardz.
The imprint of New Worlds is launched. Initial titles include Raven Chronicles, Inferno,
and Searchers. Tim Parsons is hired on for Special Projects.
The Spawn PowerCardz are released. In addition to comic stores, the game cards are
released to national markets such as Toys R Us and Target.
Caliber has great success with three new series--Legendlore, Cavewoman, and Deodato
The first issue of Moebius Comics is released. Other new titles include the "under a
buck" series of Calibrations and the debut issue of Kaos Moon. Reed leaves TMP and
Caliber moves to new offices. Nancy Durand, who worked with Reed at TMP, is brought into
Caliber as Administrator.
Caliber launches the Tapestry line. The initial releases are Explorers, Pakkin's Land,
Patty Cake, and Terror Tots. Although the line is heavily praised, the sales are
Daemonstorm featuring a cover from Todd McFarlane, is released. Joe Pruett is hired to
serve as Creative Director. Caliber options Searchers and Deadworld and hires an agency in
Three new series prove popular: Saint Germaine, Dicks (from Garth Ennis and John McCrae),
and Red Diaries. Red Diaries proves to have a strong following in mystery books stores
around the country and is released later in hardcover collections.
Caliber brings two favorites back to the stands with Mr. Monster and Maze Agency. Caliber
announces licensing deals with Whitley Stieber's Communion and Brian Lumley's Necroscope
and also announces the return of another comic favorite, Jon Sable (which never
materialized due to creator Mike Grell's heavy schedule outside of comics). Caliber
releases the Amazing Comics imprint from Glass House Graphics featuring the art of Mike
Caliber announces the relaunch of Tome Press. Two new creator owned series launch,
generating great reviews in LifeQuest and Little White Mouse.
Caliber launches the Caliber Core universe which is a cohesive universe that ties together
many titles. Although the Core universe is structured around events and characters from
Raven Chronicles, Black Mist is the first release.
Caliber divides its line into different sub-imprints which include the Caliber Core and
the titles designated as Caliber Fantasy. Of course, Tome Press continues under its own
Caliber announces a regular title of Caliber Core which features many of the characters
found in other Core books. Legends of Camelot is also announced as a series.