In 2020, Marvel Comics collaborated with Tsuburaya Productions to bring readers the hit comic mini-series The Rise of Ultraman. Ultraman’s Marvel adventures continue this month with The Trials of Ultraman, a new 5-issue series from the creative team behind Rise, writers Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom and artist Francesco Manna.
The Trials of Ultraman issue #1, arrives at comic shops everywhere Wednesday, March 17. This first issue will have eight incredible covers for fans to choose from, ranging from standard releases to limited editions. Let’s take a look at them all!
The main cover for The Trials of Ultraman #1, depicting Ultraman in an undersea battle with the Oil Monster Pestar, is drawn by Arthur Adams. Adams burst on the comics scene in 1985 with the Marvel miniseries Longshot and quickly became one of the most popular artists in the industry, acclaimed for his work on the X-Men and Spider-Man titles, Fantastic Four, Batman, Action Comics, Hulk and many other comics. Adams is well known for his love of Kaiju and tokusatsu, having co-written and illustrated the Godzilla Color Special, creating numerous Godzilla comic book covers, and sneaking Godzilla and Ultraman monsters into his other works. His first official Ultraman artwork was a Kaiju-packed variant cover for The Rise of Ultraman #2, and Adams has now been tapped as the lead cover artist for The Trials of Ultraman series.
ARTHUR ADAMS KAIJU VARIANT
After finishing his cover for The Rise of Ultraman #2 last year, Arthur Adams stated that, “I just started drawing Ultraman monsters because it was fun.” Those drawings will now be used as a series of The Trials of Ultraman variant covers, each focused on a favorite Kaiju or alien from the 1966 Ultraman television series, that connect together to form one spectacular illustration. Up first is the Space Monster Bemular, and a closer look at the cover provides a hint at which foe will grace the variant cover for The Trials of Ultraman #2. Only 1 in every 25 copies will use this cover, so if you see it, don’t miss out!
The next variant cover is by Francesco Manna, the lead artist for both The Rise of Ultraman and The Trials of Ultraman. This is his first cover for the series. The talented Italian artist has worked on many of Marvel’s top titles, including Old Man Logan, Cable and Deadpool, The Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Avengers and Captain Marvel. Manna is a longtime Ultraman fan, and his accurate and energetic depictions of the alien hero and his friends and foes has been met with great acclaim. His Trials of Ultraman variant cover offers a civilian perspective on the massive scale of Ultraman and his opponent.
Japanese artist Peach Momoko has taken the comics world by storm with her wildly popular cover artwork for a variety of publishers. including pieces for X-Men, Iron Man, Black Cat and Eternals. A member of the 2020 Class of Marvel’s Stormbreakers, the next generation of elite artist from around the world, Momoko recently made her Marvel creator debut as the writer and artist of Demon Days: X-Men #1. Her variant cover for The Trials of Ultraman #1 is an elegant depiction of Ultraman and the classic SSSP (Science Patrol) insignia.
Peach Momoko’s The Trials of Ultraman cover will also be available as a “virgin” variant; a textless version allowing the artwork to be viewed cleanly without the series title and credits. This edition is a retailer incentive; stores will only receive 1 virgin variant for every 100 copies ordered, making it the hardest to find of the issue #1 covers. But one look at that artwork proves it’s well worth the search!
Following his cover for The Rise of Ultraman #5, Kia Asamiya returns with another stunning piece of Ultraman artwork. Born Michitaka Kikuchi, the prolific Japanese artist has created many internationally acclaimed works under both his birth and pen names. His credits include manga series like Silent Möbius and Martian Successor Nadesico, the anime Detonator Orgun, Mobile Suit SD Gundam Festival, and Record of Lodoss War, and production work on the Godzilla films and the television series Kamen Rider Fourze. A self-professed fan of American science fiction and comics, Asamiya has worked with many well-known American characters and franchises, having illustrated the manga adaptation of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, written and drawn Batman: Child of Dreams, and produced artwork for Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men, Old Man Logan, Captain Marvel, Thor, Vision, and other titles. His Trials of Ultraman variant shows Ultraman launching his Ultra Slash attack and, like Francesco Manna’s cover, makes clear the alien is much bigger than the average superhero.
The seventh variant cover is by Matt Frank, making his Marvel debut. Frank is no stranger to Kaiju fans, having illustrated several issues of the Godzilla comics from IDW Publishing, Tsuburaya’s Redman: The Kaiju Hunter, packaging for the recent Gamera Blu-ray sets, and official Ultraman monster shirts and collectibles available only in the Ultraman Galaxy Store.
Frank was inspired by Ultraman’s famous transformation pose to create a cover featuring the hero dealing with several lesser known—but still beloved—monsters like Gango, Geronimon and Goldon. “After being in this industry for over a decade, working on so many Kaiju franchises, that my first Marvel cover would be the mighty Ultraman is extremely appropriate,” he told Ultraman Galaxy. “I’ve fostered a wonderful relationship with Tsuburaya over the last few years and getting to help spread the good word of the Land of Light in the United States is an absolute thrill. And I love drawing the wild and wonderful Ultra Kaiju so much!”
The final variant for The Trials of Ultraman #1 is a photo cover using a publicity still from the original Ultraman television show. Taken from Episode 25 of the series, “The Mysterious Comet Tsuifon,” this cover depicts Ultraman facing off with one of his most famous foes, the Skull Monster Red King. This file photo came from the archives of Tsuburaya Productions and was lovingly restored for its Marvel Comics appearance by Starlight Runner’s own Creative Director, Chrysoula Artemis. Only 1 in every 10 copies will use this cover. To see the episode that this cover is taken from, fans can pick up Ultraman: The Complete Series from Mill Creek Entertainment!
Share your thoughts about these covers or anything else about Marvel’s The Trials of Ultraman comics on Twitter with hashtag #TheTrialsofUltraman or mention us @TsuburayaGlobal.
The Trials of Ultraman #1 goes on sale on March 17, 2021, at comic shops everywhere. Make sure to pick it up, and keep your eyes glued to UltramanGalaxy.com for more news from Tsuburaya Productions and Marvel Entertainment!