Marvel announced ULTIMATE END today during the Marvel Next Big Thing conference today. In it, Miles Morales and the rest of the ultimate universe face their extinction. In the conference is Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, editor Mark Paniccia and former Ultimate Universe editor Ralph Macchio. Chris D'Lando is running the shindig.
Chris opens discussing the SECRET WARS reveals and says we'll be saying goodbye to the Ultimate Universe as it smashes together with the 616. "The Ultimate line is going to leave a mark on the comic book industry for many years to come."
D'Lando announces that in May, ULTIMATE END launches, which is will have Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley working on it. D'Lando goes on to ask about what it's like to be reuinted, Bendis and Bagley.
Bendis says "we were put together on a blind date... We were put together to have a career." He says Mark was perfect to have start his career.
Bagley says he was a cranky bastard. Bendis reminds us that Ultimate Spider-Man was green-lit as a six-issue mini-series, but Bendis ignored that. "Our 111 issues together is my greatest achievement."
Bagley agrees: "That's such a cool body of work."
Bendis goes on to say "we've worked together on projects on and off... It's not like we ever parted ways. When this [ULTIMATE END] came up I said 'Mark does it or I'm not doing it.'" Bendis jokingly says "we will be killing Peter Parker in every issue of this miniseries.
Former Marvel Universe editor Ralph Macchio says "I was not familiar with Brian's work." Joe Quesada did the paring. "I had a nice ride, but I can't take credit for paring them." Bendis goes on to tell a story of Ralph telling him that he never spelled Norman Osborn correctly.
Editor Mark Paniccia has a trust and respect for both of these men. "He's [Bagley] such a great and professional artist."
D'Lando comes back in and asks about the story. Bendis says "What you're gonna get a sense of here is that they are not a tie-in in the traditional sense of the word. They are very important parts of the universe. This is the kind of book that would be its own mini-event if there was no Secret War. What's gonna come out of the other side of the event is going to be different." This is going to let you know what's coming out of the other side. "This is just the beginning... I'm happy we get to do it."
D'Lando asks Bagley about Cataclysm if he's excited to draw the destruction of the Ultimate Universe. "I don't know what I'm going to be drawing and what Bendis will throw at me... I hope we get ultimate Squirrel Girl." Bendis says Bagley can draw a really emotional team and sometimes he has to pull away dialogue because the emotion on the page is enough. Bagley says he reads scripts from people and says "God, this is a pain in the ass," but the execution is a bit easier.
Bendis says "when you're working with Mark, you feel like you're being chased" because he's so fast. Bendis goes on to say that it feels like Bagley will get a page done for a script right after Bendis sends it.
D'Lando asks about Miles Morales.Is it rewarding to see how well he's received? Bendis replies "there was a lot of fan art from working creators. Some people think that I go up to Hickman and say 'you should use Miles.' that's not the case." People love the character and want to use him. "I'm over the moon with the reactions." "Miles hasn't been through everything so you get a fresh perspective... He is the perfect character for this sort of thing."
D'Lando asks assuming this is the end, what will they remember most? Bendis says the collaborations. "It formed me as the kind of creator I am." He also says the reaction to Miles as well. When it was first laucnhed, Bendis was confused about people standing off against the book before they read it, but it became incredibly well-received.
Bagley says the collaborations as well. "I couldn't stay on for 111 issues if I didn't love what I was doing. I only left to do something different" Bagley goes on to talk about the series as a whole: "For the most part, it's a really good read." He says that the book reaches a 10 year old and a 25 year old. It's tricky to hit those.
Bendis explains he hears everyday about someone binge reading. "You can't imagine that's ever going to happen when you're working on it day to day. We weren't trying to achieve the binge reading."
Macchio chimes in to say "for me it was watching this secondary universe bubble up through the quantum foam and not only surviving but thriving." As they added additional titles become a part of a secondary marvel universe. "I felt like I was in charge of my own version of the Marvel universe." Ralph mentions that it was outselling Amazing Spider-Man.
Next up, Paniccia states that it changed the paradigm. "I also really proud of all the creators that got their start and the creators that were launched out of it."
D'Lando goes to the press. First question asks about timeline compared to the incursion event. Bendis says it happens concurrently. "I'm trying everything I can not to spoil anything. By the end of it, it will all come together."
The next question asks if the cast will be strictly from the Ultimate U? Bendis says "That's a very good question...." And that's it.
The creators are asked if there is a certain one character you can say you want to use? Bendis says Batman. "This is opening the door to some opportunities" as this mini-series goes forward.
Comic Vine asks about the Marquez cover variant, we see Captain America, who was thought to be dead after Cataclysm. Does the mean he survived or is Ultimate End pulling characters from different points in the Ultimate Universe? Bendis replies "VERY good question..." Bendis avoids answering and says he doesn't want Hickman coming after him.
Macchio is asked if he knew it would come this far: He says that it was intended as a mini-series. "There wasn't any sense it was going to become a secondary universe. As time went on, the I began to believe we had something that was going to stay around and be a competitor to the Marvel universe."
Bendis comes in and says Ralph had a great amount of knowledge from the books he worked on and apply it to what they were doing. Macchio goes on to say that some people wanted Peter in the costume right away. "You haven't had this guy in a costume." Ralph had faith in the story and that you didn't need the character in a costume.
Bendis is asked about a line in a recent ALL-NEW X-MEN book. Bendis says the things happening in All New X-Men play out in Ultimate End and beyond. "Nothing going on in that series is being done without full knowledge of where it's going."
Up next, Bendis is asked is when he looks back, was the ending planned or something he could see coming? Bendis says everything changed along the way. "I never had an end idea... Like life, it's constantly being changed with the times and like life, you just go with it."
The next question asks Bagley who his favorite character is to draw that isn't Spider-man: "I liked drawing Kitty Pryde." She had really distinctive features. He goes on to say that drawing is construction and drawing is building. Bagley says the new Captain America costume is beautiful but it's going to be a pain in the ass to draw.
Both Bendis and Bagley is asked if there is any chance they could do another 111 issues on something? Bagley says he likes the long road and it works towards the betterment of the book. It weakens the product when every 6 issues you change the writer and artist.
Coming up next, the group is asked if this is the last time each of you are writing Miles Morales? Bendis says that's a very lovely question. He can't say anything without spoiling it.
Comic Vine asks if there are characters from the Ultimate Universe that they'd personally like to see move forward into the new universe. Bendis says Principal John Siuntres. He goes on to say that "it's more about the spirit of it. The one thing we apply to the book right away, sometimes, fans and creators can lose the sense of shock and awe." That mindset is part of what carries this issue so far.
The group is then asked if there is a character they're proud of? Bendis says J Jonah Jameson and Venom. He goes on to talk about the previous writer of Ultimate Spider-Man He says the previous writer went too faithful. "It doesn't need reinvention. It just needs to be told." Spider-Man was not broken and did not need to be fixed. It needed the language of comics today.
Macchio comes in and says one thing he really admired about Brian was that they played around with the clone idea. "Brian and Mark pulled it off beautifully." He says it was brilliantly handled.
Bendis jokingly says "that was a healing time for you," since Macchio worked on the later half of the original Clone Saga. Bendis goes on to say that originally he didn't want to do Venom, but there was something there people really liked. He thought "what was it people liked about the Clone Saga.... and throw away the rest."
D'Lando comes in and says there's time for one more question. The last question asks why was it important to bring Peter Parker back? Bendis says he made a list of things, a bucket list, for the universe. He wanted to tell a Peter story and do a crossover with the X-Men. "It's going to wrap up some really big piece in the Ultimate universe mythology. It's very rare you get this much opportunity to wrap it up. That's the way I'm looking at it." He continues, "You will see Peter in the Ultimate End."
D'Lando ends it and says there will be a lot more news about this coming our way and ULTIMATE END #1 comes out in May.
ULTIMATE END #1
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Penciled by MARK BAGLEY
Cover by MARK BAGLEY
Variant Cover by TBD
· MILES MORALES and the rest of the heroes of the ULTIMATE U face final extinction
· As the end of their world becomes inevitable, will the heroes’ heartbreaking sacrifices make any difference?
· The dramatic end of an era begins here!