Day 1 of New York Comic Con 2022 concluded with a giant-sized bang on Thursday, October 6th, as fans poured in to attend the Ultraman Connection: Live in NY panel, powered by Ultraman Connection and Tsuburaya Productions. With a myriad of guest speakers and fabulous giveaways, the discussion helped illuminate the future of both Ultraman Connection and the greater Ultraman franchise!
The event started, as so many Ultraman events do, with the introduction of our Master of Ceremonies, Jeff Gomez, who greeted his beloved “Ultra-babies” with his signature joyous bellow. After that came a killer’s row of guests: Ultraman Connection Editor-in-Chief EJ Couloucoundis, writer Evangelia Artemis (AKA “The Noob”), Marvel Ultraman writer Kyle Higgins, Marvel Ultraman artist Francesco Manna, and the ULTRAMAN manga team, Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi.
A big event like this needs a big bombshell as an introduction, and Jeff certainly dropped one—the first order of business, as the Ultraman Connection maestro announced that every attendee of the panel would get a ticket to the special exclusive showing of Shin Ultraman in New York City on Saturday night! (The accompanying applause delayed proceedings slightly, but that’s life, folks.)
With the guests in attendance and the audience tuned in, Jeff, accompanied by EJ, began a sort of “state of the union” of the global Ultraman juggernaut. First came a quick check-in on smash-hit Ultraman Decker, due to reveal the mysterious and powerful Decker Dynamic Type in just a short time, as well as a short discussion of the upcoming Ultraman Regulos special. Though little new information could be shared about the Master of the Cosmo Beast Style, the mood of the audience towards Regulos was as hot as the Plasma Spark.
Next, fans were reminded that this year is the 55th anniversary of Ultraseven with a brief discussion on the Ultraseven 4K project, and episodes getting the 4K treatment, including the legendary episode The Greatest Invasion in History; an episode Kyle had to interject about, since it’s one of his favorites.
From there, a brief mention of the upcoming Ultraman computer-animated feature from Netflix and Industrial Light & Magic, where it was revealed that the story establishes an all-new Ultraman continuity, and finally a mention of upcoming UltramanConnection.com material, including new sections devoted solely to fans, and to Shin Ultraman!
With Ultraman’s status checked off, the spotlight then shone on Kyle and Francesco, and the amazing Marvel Ultraman universe that they have helped shepherd. Kyle spoke about what it was like creating a 3-series (so far) universe and maintaining the legacy of excellence that Ultraman has maintained for 56 years. Jeff remarked that it was Kyle’s (and co-writer Mat Groom’s) intrinsic understanding of the characters and meaning of Ultraman that allowed for some of the bold twists and turns the series have made. This is allowing for even wilder upcoming stories.
Francesco, who counts The Rise of Ultraman as his first regular gig for Marvel, had plenty to say about the series, and expressed earnest gratitude towards Ultraman, as well a desire to keep creating with the series; a desire he is getting to indulge in, as he debuted a brand new Ultraseven-themed poster art, featuring his greatest foes, and staunchest allies in the Capsule Monsters! That image appears at the top of this post!
In addition, there was another piece of art shown to fans, one made by the mangaka of the ULTRAMAN manga - but that piece will remain hidden for just a little bit longer…
After that, the panel turned its attention to those very venerated mangaka, whose work is not only the internationally popular manga, but also its anime adaptation currently airing on Netflix, and whose final season is coming in 2023. Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi discussed the differences between the manga and anime, and how those differences have allowed the series to diverge into two different, but equally valid series. They also found themselves pleasantly surprised by the love for their series internationally and promised that the third season of the anime would be something to look forward to.
The pair unveiled a piece of art that dropped today for the first time: the third season tag art for Anime ULTRAMAN. We say—ominous!
With that, the planned elements of the panel came to a close, but that didn’t mean it was over by any means, as Ultraman and Ultraseven themselves arrived, confidently striding in to deafening applause!
Fans lined up around the entire panel hall to get a photo with the two, and as that line continued on, the panel opened up to answer questions from attendees! (Among the information gleaned: EJ’s favorite theme song is Take Me Higher, Kyle’s favorite episode is My Home is Earth, and Shimoguchi and Shimizu are massive Ultraseven fans!)
Backstage with Ultraseven, Francesco Manna, Kyle Higgins, and Ultraman!
And that was that; With another round of applause for the departing Ultras and panelists, Ultraman Connection: Live in NY was over, and the first day of Ultraman’s New York adventure came to a close. Don’t worry, folks, there’s plenty of amazing Ultraman action coming in the next 3 days! And to see it all as it comes, stay close to Ultraman Connection!