A true highlight for the entire New York Comic Con 2022 Day 3 was the Ultraman Marvel panel, which happened right on the convention floor and captivated the showroom crowd. Marvel Comics hosted the live event, featuring Ultraman comics series co-writer Kyle Higgins, artist Francesco Manna, and manga artists Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi. The quartet answered some pressing questions about working on the property and teased what’s to come.
Kyle Higgins spoke enthusiastically on the thought process behind the three Ultraman Marvel mini-series that have been released so far; The Rise of Ultraman, The Trials of Ultraman, and most recently Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven.
“The Ultras come to Earth and they work with us. They’re not looking to solve all of our problems; they’re looking to help us become the best version of ourselves… We wanted to explore everything through that lens while also giving a new introduction to the characters with some of the biggest scale action there is in comics.”
Higgins also spoke on behalf of his co-creator, Matt Groom, and their vision for the future of the series.
“We wanted to reframe the central metaphor of Kaiju… One of the things that I respond to so much in tokusatsu are the allegories. The Kaiju represent different problems and ills of society. We wanted to filter that through the lens of Marvel in the 2020s… We tend to push problems down the curb to future generations and it comes back to bite us. Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven is one of the culmination points of that story.”
Francesco Manna followed that by recounting his awe-inspired encounter with the original 1966 Ultraman series and how it impacted his process in staying true to the franchise while also building on its potential.
“Handling such an iconic character, my goal was to respect him and give him a Marvel touch. Playing with dynamic poses, the layouts of the pages, the flow of the narrative, and most importantly, playing with the scale… I wanted the reader to feel as I felt viewing the first episode of Ultraman.”
Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi were cheered on by the crowd as the panel’s host praised them for their work on the ULTRAMAN manga from VIZ Media, which served as the foundation and inspiration for the Netflix ULTRAMAN anime. When asked which part of their job was most exciting, Shimizu answered immediately.
“Working with Netflix, definitely. Because Anime ULTRAMAN is currently streaming worldwide, it has brought so much attention to the manga!”
Shimoguchi added by sharing a little bit about their contribution to the Marvel Ultraman comic series, specifically their work on the latest miniseries, Mystery of Ultraseven.
“We worked on the variant cover of the comic for the 55th anniversary of Ultraseven, which was this year and that made everything possible.”
Higgins proceeded to tease the upcoming crossover between some of Marvel’s most popular super heroes and Ultraman, claiming the next miniseries might be taking on something of a ‘MARVEL-ous scale!’ He hinted that the Marvel villain of the story will be quite cosmic, which will give him access to the Ultraman Universe. Already guessing who that can be, the crowd hollered and cheered, everyone eagerly anticipating what’s to come in 2023.
“We live in a world where Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse won an Oscar. Marvel is multi-versal and so are a lot of our readers.”
Higgins, Manna, Shimizu, and Shimoguchi were then joined by the iconic Ultraseven on stage! As his classic theme song played through the speakers, many audience members sang along while others rushed eagerly to the stage to have their special lithos signed by all of the panelists. Many even stayed to be photographed with Ultraseven himself.
All the panelists shared their gratitude for the fans, encouraging everyone to stay posted on the evolution of the comic series, the manga, and the Netflix anime, and to enjoy the content that is already available if you haven’t already! A truly awesome time to be an Ultraman fan!