Brian Michael Bendis, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Nick Lowe, Axel Alonso, Steve Wacker are all on hand for the Marvel Ultimates panel at Comic-Con 2013, and they are heavily implying the end of the Ultimate Universe – although it does seem that some characters like Miles Morales may somehow outlive the Ultimate Universe.
Here's the liveblog as it happened:
HUNGER is a series from Joshua Hale Fialkov focusing on the arrival of 616 Galactus in the Ultimate Universe
CATACLYSM in November – Galactus comes to the Ultimate Earth and the Ultimate folks have to decide whether or not to sacrifice their own world to prevent Galactus from destroying the 616. Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man co-creator Mark Bagley is coming back on board, this event is so important.
And that's it. A lot of implications that there ain't no more Ultimate Universe afterwards, which would be fitting, since in the Ultimtae Universe, dead means dead.
Q: Guy hates Age of Ultron, but is sympathetic with his meanness. Will Superior Spider-Man meet Miles Morales? A book just announced is a sort of sequel to Spider-Men.
Q: Ultimate fan hasn't picked up Ultimate Galactus or anything – will storylines continue while Galactus is going on? The tie-ins continue through "the completion" of this event. Implying the death of the Ultimate Universe.
Q: Any chance of Ultimate One Above All – the uberGod? No plans, of course. Infinity might be exploring things like that, though, in the regular Marvel Universe.
Q: Miles Morales fan happy he's not falling into normal tropes. The end of Spider-Men – what happens with Miles Morales in the 616? Bendis wanted to put out a one-shot where he doesn't find anything about him on Google. There are big plans for that.
Q: A guy flew 25 hours to tell Bendis Age of Ultron isn't great (not really, but he did anyway), and he asks if Mark Bagley is leaving Fantastic Four (they don't think he is).
Q: Will Miles get his own 616 book? Bendis says 'read Cataclysm.' Looks like the Ultimate U will merge with the 616.
Q: How much will 616 and Ultimates crossover in "Hunger" and "Cataclysm." It's through the eyes of the Ultimate characters, so Ultimate fans won't be stymied by 616.
Q: Non Marvel fan read The Death of Spider-Man and wants to know when Peter Parker is coming back to the Ultimate book, and Bendis insists he's not coming back, but a 200th issue of Ultimate Spider-Man coming soon.
Q: A guy says Ultimate Comics got him into comics. Cataclysm sounds very final, and they are all about killing everything he loves – will there be Ultimates in 2014? YOU HAVE TO READ CATACLYSM. No Ultimates!
Bendis says it's helpful to ignore it when they tell you it's a miniseries, and that's what Ultimate Spider-Man started as – he insisted on going all in and going at least to #9. Apparently, you can't write fast enough for Mark Bagley.
Q: A fan asks what books Bendis is a fan of – he's reading a novel called Skinner. He loves the IDW artist editions.
Q: He also asks about what happened to A-List writers on Ultimates? Bendis insists he and Mark Millar were NOT a-list when they started this. They like giving good writers with good voices and swagger from their indie work, and let them loose on the Ultimate Universe.
Q: Can the Ultimates ever get a breather? Everything sucks for them always. An Ultimates baseball issue or something? Fialkov says no vacations for them – bad to worse for them.
Q: Will Johnny Storm be back with the return of the FF characters? Yes, there will be mention of his torture by mutant haters. Fialkov loves the Ultimate FF.
Q: USM fan asks about Rio Morales – she wasn't a victim of Venom but police fire – what decisions there? Bendis says Miles hadn't had his Uncle Ben moment, a baptism of fire where he grew up. He equates it to Captain Stacy dying by rubble falling during a Spidey-Doc Ock fight.
Q: The Age of Ultron hater returns to apologize, and Bendis says if he bought it, he can say whatever he wants. Will Angela get Guardians of the Galaxy development? Defers to next panel, the Cup o' Joe.
Q: Miles Morales Rogues Gallery expansion? Bendis says new characters and Ultimate Taskmaster and Bombshell are coming back too. Miles will meet Norman Osborn in USM #200.
Q: How did Bendis write well for characters with different upbringings? Bendis says you train yourself to listen to people from all walks of life that you meet. He's a father of a multi-racial family, and his circle is completely different than it was when the book started in 1999. Miles is based on someone he knows. The charter store element was suggested by Joe, and his wife concurred. His daughter went to one for a year, too.
Q: Will Miles get Superior? A joke. He just thanks everyone who worked on the Ultimate Universe for Miles Morales – Sara Pichelli is sick and not here, but Bendis gives her credit as Miles' mom.
Q: Death is death and this girl likes that because it's not cheapening the life. Is writing Miles pre and post 'baptism by fire' different? They jump forward a year in his life, which was the toughest part. A year is a huge amount of time in a teenager's life. He hasn't lost innocence, but his eyes have been opened.
Q: Kid asks about new Marvel characters and a reboot like the New 52? Alonso insists that's a no. It's not broken and doesn't need to be fixed. Kid is brand new to comics, reading Justice League and stuff. They say 'if you want better comics, try Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy.' "Any new characters?" Kid pitches original characters – an energy guy or a time traveler. He's fun.
Q: Ever gone too dark and had to step back? Bendis says there's nothing you can't do. Imagination has no budget, and that's why he loves it, and why film and TV writers come to comics. Sometimes he wrestles with language, because high schoolers swear like sailors all the time. Roseanne Barr wanted more swearing on her shows. Matters of taste are issues, too – like real world tragedies, or bullying stories being too simplistic, because they will be viewed as "the Marvel statement." Bendis doesn't try to get away with dark stuff, but he focuses more on what he doesn't like about pop culture and avoiding them.
Fialkov says we love these characters and we know you love these characters, and people lose sight of that when they freak out online about things happening to characters. The Marvel line about great responsibility is always in their minds, because they have power over the characters.
Q: Comic book video games get a bum rap – can the Ultimate Universe be a video game? Ultimate Spider-Man did have a PS2 game. The Marvel MMO is out now and Bendis wrote it – there are stuff for Ultimate Fans and Ultimate costumes to enjoy.
Q: How much creative control over video games do you get when writing? Programmers explain what they can't do when he tends to write big.