Wizard World Chicago 2008: Marvel Ultimates Panel
Friday, Day One at Wizard World Chicago and it’s the Marvel Ultimates Panel featuring Brian Bendis, C.B. Cebulski, editor Bill Rosemann and moderator Jim McCann. As Rick Marshall previously reported about the "Mondo Marvel" panel, this particular panel was also relatively light on earth-shattering announcements. It also had some technical problems at the beginning which prevented the slideshow from working. So, to start the panel off, Jim McCann dove right into it with a couple of announcements and then some Q&A while they waited for the slides.
First up, Rosemann announced, "No, we do not know when Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk will come out." Bendis also announced that Ultimate Spider-Man is "not cancelled," that "everything is connected" and that there will be an Ultimate Spider-Man Annual which will focus on Peter and MJ’s "physical relationship."
According to Bendis, "It was the hardest sell I ever had. I just thought that remembering my glory years of 15 and 16 that it’s an important issue. Not having dealt with it felt false to me. It’s gonna be drawn by David La Fuente." The book is double-sized and will be out in October.
At that point, the kinks were finally worked out and the slides started. Fans of Marvel’s Ultimate Universe were then treated to several slides featuring, among other things, upcoming covers for issues of Ultimate Origins featuring Captain America, Magneto and Hulk as well as a few pages of the actual Cap origins issue itself. There was also an alternative Origins cover featuring "Cap’s butt" as drawn by Gabriel del Otto.
Also, slides from Ultimatum showing the Fantastic Four, Dr. Doom, Namor, and the Ultimates 3 cast of the Ultimates featuring Black Panther and Captain America next to each other on the slide. This slide highlights, according to Bendis, an "organic but massive disaster" which happens to the Ultimate Universe. The disaster will be seen in Ultimate Spider-Man.
Then, once the slides were done (which took about five minutes) it was back to the Q&A which, as you may expect, pretty much became the Brian Bendis show as the vast majority of the questions were directed to him. Some of the highlights of the Q&A follow but it started off with Bendis’s explanation of his thought process when the Ultimates universe was being created.
"Years ago when me and Mark were first hired, we flew out to New York and asked ourselves what does the Ultimate Universe mean?" said Bendis. "We figured it all out. Marvel was born of nuclear paranoia, and we all thought that really doesn’t resonate so much with us today. What are we scared of today? Genetic paranoia."
"We came up with all these connections and ties, and we’ll hint and touch on things, and show it all when it’s necessary," he continued. "You need to know a couple of these things to know the emotional impact of Ultimatum — connections you didn’t know about Nick Fury and Captain America, between the Hulk and Spider-Man. In issue #2, it’s mostly the origin of Captain America."
Bendis also noted that Iron Man director John Favreau said publically that he was representing the Ultimate Universe and had Millar, Bendis and the "Ultimates Brain Trust" meet with him to discuss the script and talk about what worked and what didn’t. Something that, according to Bendis, "would never have happened five years ago."
Bendis also related a story about his involvolvement in the Samuel Jackson cameo at the end of Iron Man.
"I got a call from Kevin Feige about it," said Bendis. "He told me ‘We actually have nothing for him to say. Do you have a few minutes to jot down something for him to say?’ They used my stuff. But the worst line of dialogue I wrote for Sam Jackson was ‘get that motherf’ing armor off your motherf’ing ass.’ Which was funny a year ago but no so funny now."
A fan pointed out that in Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter had dated Kitty Pride (a "ghost" because she can walk through walls), Gwen Stacy (a "vampire") and MJ (who had gotten furry and become a "werewolf") and wondered if Peter would ever date a Frankenstein monster (Ultimate She-Hulk?). "I didn’t notice I did that," Bendis said. "That’s gonna haunt me …"
Bendis also regretted his earlier comments on the character of Venom. "I said, ‘Ew, Venom!’ Like everything I say out loud, I ultimately regret them and they haunt me. Let’s think about why people did like Venom. I challenged myself, same way with the clone saga. For writing exercise, you really have to think about what is appealing. I’m sorry I said that."
"They both come out late," McCann said of comparisons between Ultimate titles and DC’s All Star line after a fan asked about it.
Another fan wanted to know if there will be any "downtime" after all the events that have happened in the Marvel Universe. To which, Bendis responded: "If I wrote a comic about how much Ultimate Daredevil liked a sandwich, would that interest you?"