Marvel Comics has struck a partnership with Japanese media company Tsuburaya Productions to create new Ultraman comic books for American markets.
Ultraman, created for the television series Ultra Q by Eiji Tsuburaya in 1966, is a name used by members of the alien Ultra race who come to Earth as protectors to fight giant kaiju monsters, bonding with human hosts to stay disguised. Numerous versions of the character have come and gone since 1966, with the "Ultra Series" comprising dozens of TV shows and other media.
And of course don't confuse Tsuburaya's Ultraman with DC's Justice League foe Ultraman of the Crime Syndicate - though DC's version predates Tsuburaya's by two years.
“As one of the world’s most popular franchises, Ultraman has brought together some of the most passionate fandoms in pop culture today, and we can’t wait to bring his story to even more fans around the globe,” said Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski in the announcement.
“Like Marvel, Ultraman captivated generations by telling spectacular stories grounded in the real world, and it continues to be a beloved classic through its television shows, movies, toys, games, comics, and more. We are so thrilled to introduce new chapters to the Ultraman Multiverse next year.”
“We are delighted to announce the partnership with Marvel, one of the leading entertainment companies that has produced fascinating characters and stories loved by fans across the globe for over 80 years,” added Tsuburaya Productions CEO Takayuki Tsukagoshi. “We can’t be more excited to explore and create new stories for the Ultraman franchise with Marvel and bringing them to both Marvel and Ultraman fans all around the world.”
Ultraman has appeared in Marvel Comics before (sort of), with a visual cameo in Exiles #67 with the shapeshifter Morph briefly taking on his appearance.
Marvel's Ultraman comic books are expected to launch in 2020. No specific projects or creators have been announced.