History of Eclipse Comics
The company was founded as Eclipse Enterprises by brothers Jan and Dean Mullaney in 1977. Eclipse published one of the first original graphic novels, 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, Detectives, Inc., 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.The company had early success with the anthology magazine Eclipse and color comic Eclipse Monthly, as well as with the detective series Ms. Tree by Max Allan Collins. During the early 1980s, Eclipse expanded operations under editor Cat Yronwod, wife of co-founder Dean Mullaney. Eclipse published many innovative works and championed creators’ rights in a field which at the time barely respected them. 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 classic children’s literature such as The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien.In 1985, Eclipse published Women and the Comics, a pioneering book on the history of female comic strip and comic book creators that Yronwode co-wrote with the cartoonist Trina Robbins. As the first book of its kind, Women and the Comics garnered quite a bit of attention from the mainstream press as well as comics fandom.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-Nineties collapse of the direct market distribution system, forced 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. Eclipse’s last publication was its Spring 1993 catalog, which was a complete bibliography of its publications.