WWC: Marvel Comics' Ultimate Universe Panel

Sat, August 5th, 2006 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Dave Richards, Staff Writer

"Ultimate Vision""Ultimate Fantastic Four" #33
Marvel Comics Editor In Chief Joe Quesada kicked off the Ultimate Marvel Universe Panel, at Wizard World Chicago, with a Rock N' Roll concert style, "How's everybody doing?" greeting to those assembled, urging them to voice their feelings louder after the first time just wasn't enough.

After an enthusiastic welcome, Quesada introduced his fellow panel members, Publicity Manage Jim McCann and "Ultimates 3" writer Jeph Loeb, followed up with a slide show of upcoming offerings in the Ultimate Marvel line.

The first slide was for "Ultimate Power," a nine issue mini-series which will put the costumed champions of the Ultimate universe on a collision course with a group of heroes from the "Squadron Supreme" universe. The series begins in October and is written by Brian Michael Bendis, J. Michael Straczynski and Jeph Loeb, featuring art by Greg Land. "It began out of a cool idea, 'What if Squadron Supreme visited the Ultimates?' and Bendis came up with the title -- that's the only reason we brought him on," Loeb joked. "It's divided sort of like 'The Lord of the Rings.' First Bendis, than Straczynski, and then I get the big one.

"In the cross-ove,r some will live, some will die and others will be changed forever," Loeb continued. "You'll see the result from the series in 'Ultimates 4' and right away in 'Squadron Supreme.'"

Next up was a slide depicting the covers of "Ultimate Spider-Man" #100, as well as the cover to issue #98, which hit stores this week. Both issues are part of the current, "Clone Saga" storyline. The next slide was one of the cliffhanger ending to issue #98, which Quesada summed up by saying, "Gwen Stacy is back," which lead the audience to cheer.

Art From "Ultimate Power"

Next, Loeb was asked when, "Ultimates 3" was coming out, to which he replied, "When Ultimates 2 is done." Loeb then went on to reveal that Chris Lightner would be providing digital color over Joe Maduriera's pencils. Both Loeb and Quesada really wanted to show the audience some of the art, but they said Maduriera didn't want anything revealed yet.

At that very moment a slide of a dynamic, action shot mysteriously appeared on the screen. The shot seemed to depict an ultimate version of the Black Panther duking it out with Ultimate Venom.

The next slide was for "Ultimate Vision," written by Mike Carey and with art by Brandon Petersen. The series examines the fall out from the recently completed "Ultimate Extinction" mini-series. We recently spoke to Carey about the series.

Next up was a slide for "Ultimate X-men" #75 which marks the Ultimate Universe debut of Cable. Quesada said, "You'll want to pay attention. This is not what you think."

Quesada then opened up the floor to questions from the excited audience for the panelists. One audience member said that he wanted to know when "Ultimates 2" would end to which Quesada replied, "So do we." He then added, "We got the script for issue #11 and it was thirty six pages long. Mark insisted that he needed those 36 pages. So we asked if they could take those pages and lead to an extra issue, issue #13. Finally they agreed to do it. Then Mark hands in issue 12, which is twenty-two pages. Then Brian called me up and said, 'I need 36 pages to do it.' I have no idea how many pages issue #13 will be."

Art From "Ultimate Fantastic Four" #33
After that, the panel was joined by a new guest, superstar artist Michael Turner. A slide went up asking the audience what you get when you pair Jeph Loeb with Michael Turner. Readers got their answer with the next slide, "Ultimate Wolverine," a five issue mini-series beginning in 2007. We spoke with Turner & Loeb about the project, published earlier today.

"I feel like a little kid. It's so much fun collaborating with Jeph on this. It was a no-brainer," Turner said, "It's really cool. It's half origin story, half real time."

Turner also reassured the audience that his health was getting better and better and that his attendance at the convention was actually helping him. "I get so much adrenaline from conventions." After that, Turner had to leave the panel due to a prior commitment elsewhere.

The question and answer period then began again with a fan asking on the progress of "Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine." Quesada said they were waiting on the final scripts and that writer Damon Lindelof would be writing them all in one sitting.

"No one works harder than Damon," Loeb said of the co-creator of "Lost." "He can write an episode of 'Lost' in a weekend. but he's so meticulous when it comes to comics. He's constantly writing and rewriting. He doesn't want it to be a great story that turns into crap."

Art From "Ultimate Fantastic Four" #33
"We knew we were in for a great ride with Damon when we got a call asking, 'Has anybody ever ripped Wolverine in half?'" Quesada told the crowd.

When asked why he wanted "Ultimates 3," Loeb jokingly replied, "Because no one else wanted it." He then said, "It's no secret that Avengers was the first Marvel book I got hooked on. Bendis is living in Avengers mansion. I knocked on the door and there was no answer. So the one place left to go was the Ultimate Universe."

Loeb also said he liked the Ultimate Universe because he could tell stories that weren't tied into everything and as to how he & Joe Mad would match up to the departing "Ultimates" team of Mark Millar and Brian Hitch, Loeb said, "Mark Millar came up with the idea that they're like James Bond films. Each one will have a different flavor."

When one fan tried to pin Loeb down on a shipping schedule for "Ultimates 3," he couldn't give a definite answer but he did reveal why it was announced that Ed McGuinness will be penciling "Ultimates 4." "There is was a large space between 'Ultimates' and 'Ultimates 2," he said, " But once Joe's story in "Ultimates 3" finishes Ed's story will come up right after."

Quesada answered another question by revealing that writer Orson Scott Card is hard at work on another "Ultimate Iron Man" mini-series. Plans call for Pascal Ferry to provide the art for the series once Card turns in the script for all of the issues.

Another fan asked about the status of Bryan Singer's "Ultimate X-men" story. Quesada said that Singer still needed to finish the story and that they would see where it fit when it was completed.

Audience questions about villains revealed that the ultimate incarnation of the Taskmaster is set to debut. However, Ultimate Apocalypse won't be appearing quite just yet.

Covers To "Ultimate Spider-Man" #100

One fan asked after the "Ultimate Defenders." Quesada replied by saying that he loved the Ultimate Defenders and the ultimate incarnation of the team was one of his favorites. Loeb answered the question by saying, "Be careful what you wish for."

When asked why Ultimate Thor was made to have anti-American views, Loeb jested, "Because Millar's a commie pinko who lives in Scotland. When I take over I'll fix it."

Loeb was cryptic in his response to two questions. When asked if there were plans for WWII era adventures of Ultimate Captain America he said, "Maybe." And when asked if current events regarding Wolverine's DNA would lead to an appearance by an Ultimate X-23, Loeb said, "Wait and see."

When asked about his appearance on "The Colbert Report," Quesada revealed that the champion of Truthiness was a comic book fan. "He's a huge Marvel fan and is reading 'Civil War' and a lot of other comics," Quesada said. "Colbert is also a huge 'Dungeons and Dragons' and 'Lord of the Rings' fan. Their lead writer is also a huge comic fan. I was petrified at first, but it was a lot of fun and they made me feel very comfortable." For more with Quesada before his appearance click here. For a wrap on his actual appearance as well as a look to his "Rampaging Colbert" cover, click here.

The last question to the panel was an inquiry into the possibility of an appearance by Ultimate Cloak and Dagger since Tandy Bowen is a student at Peter Parker's school in "Ultimate Spider-Man." Quesada answered, "Knowing Brian it's a good possibility, but he's got a lot of stuff to get too first."

And now you can discuss this story on CBR's very own Ultimate Universe Forum.

Art From "Ultimate Vision" #1

 
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