NYCC 2011: MARVEL Ultimate Comics Universe - LIVE!

Best Shots Extra: ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1

Update: OK, we ran into some major connection issues — something being dealt with by just about everybody at New York Comic Con — and the live coverage thus ended way early. But here are all the details from the panel (and check out new Ultimate Comics art here):

On the panel: Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, Ultimates artist Esad Ribic, Ultimate Spider-Man artist Sara Pichelli, editor Sana Amanat and Marvel marketing's Arune Singh.

Things start with talk of Miles Morales and Ultimate Spider-Man. Coming up in Ultimate Spider-Man — the Ultimate version of Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew.

Amanat said she had "very different expectations" for who Miles Morales should be than what Pichelli has delivered, and her response has been, "Holy crap, that's amazing."

Pichelli said she does life drawing in Rome, "looking for interesting faces or bodies."

Amanat of Pichelli's renderings of Miles Morales: "you can see in his eyes that he has an innocence of him."

Amanat said that everyone at Marvel agreed the black and red costume clicked, and that it "pays homage to Peter Parker, but is very much distinctly Miles' own costume."

Amanat added that you're going to see old and new characters in the book, and the Prowler will continue to play a major role.

Alonso: "It was a little more than 10 years ago that Brian Bendis and Mark Bagley launched Ultimate Spider-Man #1. The reception they got before it came out was skepticism and anger. The rest is history. Some 160 issues later, they had one of the most beloved runs in comic book history. We didn't kill Peter Parker easily… At the end of the day, Miles Morales transcends race."

Moving on to Ultimates.

Alonso says Ribic doesn't use photo reference.

Ribic: "It's f*cking Ultimates," joking that the name is in the title twice. "A lot of the stuff that's done is focused very much on characters, as opposed to the world and 'mise-en-scene.' I try to put more emphasis on the world and mise-en-scene."

"Dean is one of the few guys who's very good with rendering this chiaroscuro thing I like to do," Ribic said of Ultimates colorist Dean White. "To me, it looks very organic."

Amanat asked Ribic how he gets his ideas, since he doesn't use photo reference. "I murder a couple of people and then I get the idea," Ribic joked. "I'm a fan of French artist Moebius, and a fan of Japanese artist Shirow. I kind of stole back-and-forth from those two guys."

"Thor's got his belt back, so there's going to be a lot of awesomeness happening," Amanat said of Ultimates.

Amanat called Ultimate Comics Hawkeye the "lynchpin" between what's happening in Ultimates and what's to come in Ultimate X-Men.

Singh notes the work of cover artist Kaare Andrews, which gets applause.

Moving on to Ultimate Comics X-Men, Singh calls the book a "truly unique assortment of X-Men."

Amanat said that Human Torch is now technically a mutant, and a "fantastic" addition to the cast.

Marvel talent liaison C.B. Cebulski joins the panel.

What's coming up in Ultimate X-Men: "You're going to be seeing events that do lock into Ultimate Hawkeye. I think it becomes a story about faith, and what that means, and why people are motivated to do what they're meant to do."

Is there one general theme to the current Ultimate Universe? Amanat said she doesn't like narrowing things down to just one theme, but "If I could say it generally, it's probably a lot of identity exploration."

Is Peter Parker the Uncle Ben to Miles Morales? Singh says to read issue #4.

Ultimate Iron Man's origin? Amanat says that's a complicated question, but it's not the one seen in Ultimate Team-Up.

Cebulski said that some of the Ultimate Team-Up material "kind of counts," but mostly things have progressed differently than they intended at the start of the Ultimate line.

Alonso added that the original Ultimate books didn't have much in common with each other, and the strong sense of connectivity came later.

Amanat: "Dead is dead. That's the magic of the Ultimate world."

Did Donald Glover's Twitter campaign to play Spider-Man inspire Miles Morales? Alonso said they discussed an African-American Spider-Man a long time ago, and speculated that Glover might have helped Bendis get over some "last-minute jitters."

"If I were Donald Glover, I'd be worried, because I'm sure Jaden Smith is out there doing crunches," Alonso joked.

A fan complimented the Ultimate Universe for being different than mainstream Marvel. "And we didn't even have to reboot our entire universe to do it," Singh quipped.

The panel said Miles Morales is here to stay. "The back-up plan is, he peels back his mask and he's Mexican," Alonso joked.

Singh said that Ultimatum, by its nature, set the Ultimate Universe on a much different course than the classic Marvel Universe. "In the Ultimate world, nothing is safe," Amanat said. "This is the real world. People die, unfortunately."

A fan asked if a Peter Parker clone might ever take over, Clone Saga-style. "Peter Parker had his moment, this is Miles' moment now," Amanat said. Singh pointed out that Peter Parker does have a clone out there: Ultimate Spider-Woman.

Will Miles be the "spine" of the Ultimate Universe? Alonso: "I think the proof is in the stories, at the end of the day."

Fan asked is the days of Ultimate re-tellings of classic Marvel stories were over, or if we'd see "Ultimate Civil War." "Not unless we're really desperate," Alonso said.

Will Pichelli be rejoining the book after Chris Samnee's stint? Yet.

New Ultimate Daredevil? No plans right now, but you never know.

Original story: Marvel's Ultimate line has gotten a lot of attention in 2011, thanks in no small part to a complete relaunch with new #1s for each title, and the debut of the much-publicized new Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales. Friday's "Marvel Ultimate Comics Universe" panel quite naturally focuses on the books, and Newsarama is right there at New York Comic Con for each Ultimate-tastic moment.

Here's NYCC's official description of the panel, though note that Nick Spencer is actually not attending the convention:

Everyone is talking about the new Ultimate Comics Universe but everyone wants to know what’s next! We’ve got the exclusive news here with announcements that’ll leave you begging for more. Join Nick Spencer (Ultimate X-Men), Senior Editor Mark Paniccia, Marvel Editor In Chief Axel Alonso and more for the news you can’t miss.

Sound intriguing? Well, follow along with our live coverage right here!

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