The rumors are true! Many fans who attended the Ultraman Connection Live: Ultraman Day event have been talking about it, especially now that the Trials of Ultraman series has reached its thrilling conclusion. The creators behind Marvel’s action-packed Ultraman comics announced that the next miniseries will feature one of the most renowned heroes of the Classic era, Ultraseven!
Featuring editor Tom Brevoort, writers Kyle Higgins and Matt Groom, illustrator Francesco Manna, and Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski, the Ultraman Connection panel featured Ultraman Galaxy (now Ultraman Connection)’s own Editor-in-Chief EJ Couloucoundis interviewing the team on the process of re-envisioning Ultraman through the Marvel Comics series and what aspects of the original franchise inspired them.
WHY DID MARVEL WANT TO DO ULTRAMAN?
The series’ editor Tom Brevoort mentioned that he and many others had grown to recognize Ultraman as an iconic character through a sort of pop-culture osmosis, in the way that Japanese people may recognize Spider-Man, but that many in the West hadn’t necessarily been given a proper introduction to the hero. He also spoke about the difficulty of making an original Ultraman series that felt true for fans who were experienced with the character but could provide a clean introduction of what makes Ultraman distinctive and exciting to the uninitiated. Cebulski similarly commented on having spent time in Japan and seeing how meaningful the character of Ultraman was there, which made him want to translate the uniquely influential character to an American audience.
Writers Kyle Higgins and Matt Groom spoke about their approach to writing the connected storylines for The Rise of Ultraman and The Trials of Ultraman, the first two miniseries to come from Marvel Comics over the past year. They even gave fans some hints as to where the plot could lead. Like Brevoort and Cebulski, the writers wanted to provide an origin story for newcomers to the story world.
ULTRAMAN’S HEROISM IS DIFFERENT FROM MARVEL’S
Higgins spoke specifically about the similarities and differences between Ultraman and Marvel Comics characters. He mentioned how they shared the idea that humans are fundamentally flawed, and heroes can help us become better but differed on the scale on which they taught us these lessons. While a Dark Mirror reflection of a character like Tony Stark (Marvel’s Iron Man) could serve to show the flaws of the individual, Higgins believes that the Kaiju of Ultraman represent the darkness of humanity as a whole. He also gave fans a hint to look further, saying ‘Those backups are not by accident. Things come together in ways that you might not expect but it is not an accident.”
Matt Groom also spoke about his interpretation of Ultraman and said of working with Tsuburaya Productions that they are not just concerned about the details of the character, but the heart of Ultraman. He thinks the series are in some way about how the Ultra can give us humans direction and the relationship between Shin and the Ultra. Groom also made an interesting comparison between the SSSP of the original Ultraman show and the USP of the comic series, saying that the SSSP is the ideal that the USP strives to become, but that the way the USP has operated in the past does not reflect this ideal.
Artist Francesco Manna was also able to speak briefly about his illustration style for the series. He mentioned being spoken to about the project and being scared and excited to take on the incredible scale of Ultraman. Higgins specifically praised Manna’s ability to take on giant Kaiju battles as well as tender father and son moments, and Manna spoke about influences from disaster movies and sci-fi horror series where you can tell that the general public is at once terrified, but also in awe and amazed.
THE MYSTERY OF ULTRASEVEN
Finally, Higgins and Groom revealed the exciting new series coming in early 2022 titled The Mystery of Ultraseven. While revealing exclusive breathtaking artwork of Ultraseven from the final page of issue #5 of The Trials of Ultraman, the writers described how the story of the new series would fill in the backstory of where Dan Moroboshi and Ultraseven have been since his disappearance in the 1960s, as well as further the existing mysteries around the Kaiju and USP.
They spoke about how Dan Moroboshi and Ultraseven were the first USP members on the case of these Kaiju incidents and how the series will connect the characters from the original Ultra Q backup story in The Rise of Ultraman #1, with the storylines of Ultraman, Ultraseven, and even Return of Ultraman interacting! The interview was capped by the reveal of a second piece of Francesco Manna Ultraseven artwork, this one a stunning new interpretation commissioned by Tsuburaya Productions just for Ultraman Connection Live: Ultraman Day.
To catch up with the most recent developments in the Marvel Comics Ultraman series, you can grab The Trials of Ultraman issue #5 right now wherever comics are sold. You can purchase the trade paperback of the collected The Rise of Ultraman at comic shops and online. And of course, for more on The Mystery of Ultraseven, stay tuned to Ultraman Connection!