Hardcase is a superhero that debuted in the comic book series of the same name, written by James Hudnall for Malibu Comics’ Ultraverse imprint, being one of the first series to launch the imprint.
A struggling actor, Tom Hawke's luck drastically changed after being struck by the "Jumpstart Effect", a strange burst of energy Gaining superhuman strength and durability, Tom realized that he wanted more than short-term success. He met with Linda Warren, Jamal Blass and Carlos Jimenez, who had also gained abilities, and proposed that they become an Ultrahero team, helping people while bolstering their careers. The other agreed and formed the Squad, each taking code names; Starburst, D.J. Blast, Forsa and Hardcase.
For six months the Squad achieved great success, fighting crime, aiding the police and performing acts of charity. They became celebrities and media darlings. Their good fortune was not to last though. Attacked by the creature NM-E, the heroes were overcome. In a last-ditch effort, D.J. Blast focussed all his power on NM-E, causing a massive explosion. Only Hardcase and Starburst escaped, but not without cost; Starburst was comatose. Grief-stricken by the tragedy, Hardcase retired from heroics.
During his retirement, Hardcase became an action movie star, portraying himself on the screen. He came out of retirement to battle Headknocker, an Ultrahuman with incredible strength, who outmatched the police. Defeating the villain, Hardcase announces his return.