Marvel has teamed up with Tsuburaya Productions for The Rise of Ultraman, a new series revisiting the classic first generation of Tokusatsu. The comic is written by Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom and illustrated by Francesco Manna.
A few years ago, thanks to my time on Power Rangers, I was able to discover and learn more about Tokusatsu. With its wildly different conventions and inspirations, Tokusatsu — and Ultraman in particular — has been a huge source of joy for me. It’s a genre so ripe with possibilities, even down to what we conceive of in the structure of super hero storytelling. It’s both an honor and a privilege to bring Ultraman to Marvel.
I have to say, I’m a little confused by this move. I felt the same way when Marvel announced Conan. I’m not sure if Ultraman will be popping up in the Marvel Universe like the barbarian though. I don’t understand why Marvel, with all the IP it needs, is licensing characters like this. Sure, Ultraman has a solid fanbase that will probably check out this comic, but it feels a little outside of the publisher’s wheelhouse. We’ll see how it comes together when the series debuts later this year.
Monsters in fiction have been embodying all that is dark and scary in our world for as long as we’ve been telling stories. But I don’t think anybody understood the immense scale of our most pressing problems quite like Eiji Tsuburaya. He imagined the darkness looming overhead as tall as skyscrapers— alien and unknowable and ANGRY. But he also imagined us being able to stand up to those monsters, by rising above our worst impulses and embracing a nobler way of being. He imagined Ultraman. What does that mean in this complex, contradictory world of lies? We’re going to find out…