Man Of Action Gives Spider-Man 'Ultimate' Purpose

by Ryan Rigley

Ever since news of the "Ultimate Spider-Man" cartoon first hit the web (pun intended), fanboys (and regular boys) all across the country have been teeming with excitement, eagerly awaiting the animated return of their favorite spider-powered superhero.

With the show's title being "Ultimate Spider-Man," most of us just assumed that the show would be based on the "Ultimate Spider-Man" comic book, originally penned by Brian Michael Bendis. However, that doesn't seem to be the case, according to the "Ultimate" team at Man of Action -- the same studio behind "Ben 10," consisting of writers Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle.

"The 'Ultimate Spider-Man' part of it is that this Spider-Man is 'ultimate,' it’s not so much 'Ultimate Marvel,'" Seagle said. "But you know Brian Bendis, who’s a great talent and a creative in all the comic book world. He's one of our creative consultants, but it’s not based on his comic books, particularly. It’s just that Spider-Man is young. Spider-Man is in high school, but he's also a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, so we’re kind of in a whole different world of ultimate-ization, if that's a word, which it may not be."

"This is not your daddy’s Spider-Man," Rouleau added. "I think that we took the spirit that Brian started with, the idea of the 'Ultimate Spider-Man' and, once again, just translating that idea that anything can happen."

Sounds promising. Fans will undoubtedly be ecstatic to hear that Brian Michael Bendis plays a huge part in creating a foundation for the show. In addition to being a creative consultant on "Ultimate Spider-Man," Bendis will also be writing several episodes in the first season.

"Brian comes in, and he’s been a really great resource both for story ideas and character stuff, and he’s been fantastic also in talking about some of the pitfalls that they’ve gone down with the ‘Ultimate’ universe, even though again, like Steve said, this is completely a new thing," said Kelly. "We’re reinventing the Spidey wheel, so to speak. So Brian can sort of sit back and say 'Well, you know, we’ve tried this… it went this way,' or 'Oh, we never did this. I’ve always wanted to do this idea.' That kind of thing. He’s been great to work with."

Fans will also take note that the "Ultimate Spider-Man" show will not share the same pacing as the "Ultimate Spider-Man" comic book. Bendis, who is well known for his slow paced advancement of plot, took seven issues alone to retell Spidey's origin. Conversely, the "Ultimate Spider-Man" TV show won't be showcasing Spidey's origin at all, picking up the series about a year into Peter Parker being Spider-Man.

"Brian’s books are an awesome read, but the translation to anything, whether we’re talking about a straight up 'Ultimate Spider-Man' or regular 'Spider-Man,' anything to do with animation, you just have to engage the audience in a different way. So it’s very very fast paced," Kelly said.

"Coming from having created 'Ben 10' and then 'Generator Rex' on Cartoon Network, we know how to reach that audience that Marvel wants to reach with the show, who Disney wants to reach with the show. Which is that boys' action space that Disney's never reached and the comic books, let’s face it, there's not a lot of kids reading comics right now," Joe Casey said. "So 'Man Of Action' was brought in specifically so that a great show like 'Spider-Man' would regain that young kid audience that he probably hasn’t had for quite a while."

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