Viz Media, the company responsible for some of the biggest manga titles in the world invited the media to a special event to announce a new partnership involving Stan Lee. What is this all about? Read on to find out.There are comic book legends, and then, there is the man who is, in many people’s minds, THE comic book legend. Stan Lee is responsible for some of the most beloved and recognized comic book characters of all time. Now, for the first time, he tackles a new medium: Manga. Teaming up with Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of Shaman King, Stan has written the initial concept for a new manga project called ULTIMO! The 32 page introduction to the series was published on April 18th in Japan in a special edition of Jump Squared magazine called Jump SQ II. The panel for this event consisted of Stan Lee, Shonen Jump Editor-in-Chief Mark Weidenbaum, Joel Enos, Editor of Yu Gi Oh GX, Shaman King and Naruto in the U.S., and Takanori Asada, Editor of Jump SQ magazine in Japan. It was revealed that Takei will be writing the Japanese version, based on Stan’s original concept. Stan will write the upcoming American version. the American version will be serialized in Shonen Jump magazine and should appear in a few months. An exact date is not yet known. Japanese press response has been huge. Stan was asked about the difference between writing manga and writing a comic book. He said that the main differnce is in interpretation. There is much less certainty of how a concept is going to look at the end in manga due to the differing styles of illustrators. Ultimo is unique in that it is made to appeal to both Japanese and American audiences. This project will have a monthly frequency. Stan came up with a new story for this project, instead of drawing on pre-established works. The story concerns two androids, ULTIMO and VICE and concerns the concept that any humanoid has a soul. Stan hopes to do more manga in the future and hopes to be involved with all aspects of the project. He has already been incorporated into the project as a character, Dr. Dunstan. The most unique aspect of this project however, is that all this creativity cuts through the language barrier. You see, Stan Lee does not speak and cannot read Japanese and Hiroyuki Takei cannot read or speak English. I am looking forward to seeing the American version of Ultimo when it is released. I will publish updates on Ultimo as more information becomes available.
Thanks to Evelyn Dubocq at Viz Media for the invitation to the event and her assistance with this report