Cover to Hardcore Station #1 (July 1998).
Art by Jim Starlin & Joe Rubinstein.
|First appearance||Hardcore Station #1 (July 1998)|
|Type||Orbiting City satellite|
|Notable characters||Captain Comet|
Hardcore Station is home to Captain Comet.
DC Comics initially published a self-titled six-issue limited series introducing writer and artist Jim Starlin's concept of Hardcore Station (July–December 1998). Starlin produced the script and all pencil art for the series, including the covers, and inks were by Josef Rubinstein in every issue except #4. The series was not a great success, achieving less than 12,000 advance orders by the end of the short run. Starlin was later to say of the series that "When I worked with [editor] Kevin Dooley on Hardcore Station it was a nightmare" In a later interview he elaborated "I did one thing over at DC called Hardcore Station. You never heard of it, no one ever did, because they had a committee over there that looked through the plot and everyone on the committee gave parts that had to be added to it. So by the time I sat down and drew it, I didn't recognize it anymore. And it was gone. ... it had no promotion, nothing, it was just thrown out there and it was a mess" 
Hardcore Station then disappeared until Jim Starlin picked the concept back up on his return to DC Comics, with the limited series Mystery in Space vol. 2 #1–8 (November 2006 – June 2007) with art by Shane Davis and Matt Banning, and Ron Lim in issue #7 (May 2007), followed by Rann-Thanagar Holy War #1–8 (July 2008 – February 2009), with art by Ron Lim and Ron Hunter, and Strange Adventures vol 3 #1–8 (May–December 2009) by Starlin, Manuel Garcia and Al Milgrom. Hardcore Station is a key location in all three series, although it does not appear in every issue
Hardcore Station is a commercial satellite station owned by 'Entreplaneteurs Inc.' which began as part of an asteroid mining operation. Its location in space is at the crossroads of five major commercial districts, so it became a business and smuggling centre and grew into a major city complex with a population of over five million citizens in a free space zone between the five trading civilisations. It is "the new hotspot for making questionable deals" and "feels like a haven for every cut-throat, degenerate and con-man in the Universe." Hardcore has its own laws as it does not come under any planetary jurisdiction. Whatever Municipal law exists is the responsibility of Head of Security, Maximillion DeVille, known as Chief Justice Max; who is the only surviving Knight of the Order of The Fist and has a genetically altered skeleton. Entreplaneteurs' Corporate Security also deal with security issues, often in opposition to Municipal Security; especially if it contradicts their secret machinations.
When Lord Synnar the Demiurge, a cosmic tyrant, travels to Hardcore Station supposedly to provide a new energy collection system, Max discovers it is a cover for a secret deal with Entreplaneteurs Inc. to destroy their rivals 'Time Wonder World', killing 3 billion people and incidentally capturing ten years worth of energy from the explosion for Hardcore Station. Synnar also gets 50% of Entreplaneteurs Inc. in the deal, although it reverts to Entreplaneteurs Inc. when Synnar is supposedly killed by Max executing the next part of his plan, on Earth.
Some time after this Captain Comet takes up residence in the Zelazny Building on Hardcore Station and uses it as his centre of operations as a freelance telepath. He also has a secret second base, 'The Hole' in the lower region slums of Hardcore Station, away from administrative eyes. Around the same time the 'Eternal Light Corporation', a commercial front for the Church of the Eternal Light, also set up their headquarters there. Eventually they are responsible for the death of Captain Comet and his old friend Star Hawkins, and the theft of Comet's body to clone a telepath army under their control (aided by the ever-scheming Entreplaneteur Corporation); acts which result in his going to war against the Corporation on his spontaneous resurrection in a new body. In this Comet is aided, largely unwittingly, by a recently revived The Weird, who disrupts the Church from within. During this battle, the Eternal Light Corporation kill all the residents of the business section of Hardcore Station – the real estate in the 'depopulated area' becoming the property of the Corporation.
Some of the Eternal Light Corporation survived this event, and during the Rann-Thanagar War, Hardcore Station is subject to a number of attacks by their followers of 'The Profit', almost destroying the Justice Department building. Synnar and Deacon Dark (the cult leader of the Eternal Light Corporation) return, and attempt to take over the satellite as part of Synnar's Holy Empire, restructuring part of the station as their new Church. An alliance of Comet, Adam Strange, Hawkman, Starfire, The Weird and others, together with the Church's mortal enemy Lady Styx and her army elsewhere in space, defeat Synnar at the cost of great structural damage to Hardcore Station, although the war actually ends in deep space between Rann and Thanagar.
A year later Hardcore Station suffers further damage when Bizarro runs riot in the Municipal Area.
- Available advance orders figures: Hardcore Station #5 (November 1998) 12,435 (159th) #6 (December 1998) 11,622 (161st) – "October 1998 Comic Book Sales Figures". The Comics Chronicles.
- UHQ Team (March 3, 2001). "A success written in the stars". Universo HQ. Archived from the original on November 25, 2010.
- MacDonald, Heidi (June 2004). "Interview Jim Starlin". The Pulse. Comicon.com (cached at Buzz Comics).
- the figure of 2 million inhabitants is quoted in Mystery In Space #1 (November 2006)
- "Genesis" in Hardcore Station #1 (July 1998)
- Captain Comet in "The Dawning" in Rann-Thanagar Holy War #1 – 8 (July 2008)
- "Revelations" in Hardcore Station #2 (August 1998) note: Starlin slips his Marvel Comics character Adam Warlock into the beginning of this issue. Adam's spaceship is seen at the beginning skimming through space and landing on a planet, then Adam approaches "Tharus Zeltar The Enlightened One", but walks off as he begins to talk mystical nonsense
- "Sacrifice" in Hardcore Station #4 (October 1998)
- "Retribution" in Hardcore Station #6 (December 1998)
- explained in "Eschatology" in Mystery In Space #1 (November 2006)
- "A Question of Resurrection" in Mystery In Space #2 (December 2006)
- in a second story running in Mystery In Space vol 2 #1–7 (November 2006 – May 2007), eventually joining the main story in #8
- "Ultimatum" in Mystery In Space #7 (May 2007)
- "The Dawning" in Rann-Thanagar Holy War #1 (July 2008)
- Rann-Thanagar Holy War #1 – 5 (July 2008 – November 2008)
- Strange Adventures vol 3 #3 – 4 (July 2009 – August 2009)