Hardcase is a comic book series written by James Hudnall for Malibu Comics’ Ultraverse imprint, which lasted 26 issues. The series was about Tom Hawke, who became one of the first publicly known Ultras.
Soon afterwards, he was visited by the ultraheroine Choice, who asks for his help. Hardcase agrees and allowed her to stay with him. The two soon began a relationship, though Hardcase was reluctant at first. The two have several adventures together, including rescuing tsunami victims. Once, teamed with the The Strangers, they invaded Aladdin's Groom Lake facility, where Hardcase discovers that the government agency was using the Squad's genetic material. Later, the heroes go to work for a person known only as the Alternate. They travel to the moon to discover the source of the "Jumpstart Effect" which has been granting people powers all across Earth. Alongside other ultraheroes, they protect the Entity, a crashed starship that was causing the Jumpstart Effect, from attack. It is soon allowed to return home.
As payment, the Alternate tells Choice and Hardcase that Choice's origins lay back at Groom Lake. The Aladdin Assault Squad stop their plans to invade. The pair hire Tech of the Solution to obtain the information they sought. The information reveals that Choice was given her abilities by using the genetic material from the brains of Forsa and Starburst, which greatly distresses Hardcase. Moments later, Choice is teleported away to the Godwheel.
Hardcase faced his greatest challenge when NM-E returned. Outmatched by the creature, he would have died if not for Prime’s intervention. Though unable to stop the creature himself, Prime’s attack allowed Hardcase to recover, with help from the Alternate. Renewing his assault, Hardcase savagely attacked NM-E, who was drained from its fight with Prime. Fueled by vengeance, Hardcase reduced the creature to debris.
After further adventures, the surviving Ultras banish Argus Hardcase had discovers that Choice was on the Godwheel and is briefly reunited with her. During this short time, he learns she was pregnant.
Returned to Earth, Hardcase sought out the man responsible for his misfortune, Rex Mundi. He meets with ultras formerly employed by Mundi to extract Mundi’s location. To hinder Hardcase, Mundi frames him for murder.
On information from Death Dance and Meathook, Hardcase confronted Mundi in his underground lair. Capturing Hardcase, Mundi revealed that he was, like himself, composed of nanotech. His true nature somewhat explained to him, Hardcase willed himself back in time to undo the damage he had done. He reappeared and witnessed a confrontation between Mundi and the Alternate. Dismissed by the combatants, Hardcase returned to Hollywood where he was reunited with Choice.
When the Black September Event struck the Ultraverse and rewrote reality, Hardcase was shunted into a limbo dimension, erased from reality. He reappeared only one more time to battle the Demonseed, a being he had created as a companion. In the end, with Prime’s help, he banished himself and Demonseed back to limbo to battle for all eternity.
Hardcase later learned that the Jumpstart effect that changed him, had effectively converted him into a nanotech being, composed of organic nanotech. As such, Hardcase learned he had many untapped abilities, such as not needing to breathe.
Hardcase was one of the action figures produced for Galoob's Ultraforce line