Stan Lee, Shaman King Creator Team for Ultimo

Legendary Marvel comic book creator Stan Lee has joined forces with famed manga creator Hiroyuki Takei (Shaman King) to introduce a new manga series titled Ultimo (Karakurid’ji Ultimo). The two will collaborate on a 32-page prologue that will feature three full-color pages and will debut in a special April issue of the Japanese manga magazine Jump SQ., the sibling publication of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump. Shueisha subsidiary VIZ Media LLC and Lee’s POW! Ent. will present the property at the 2008 New York Comic-Con later this month.

Ultimo represents the first manga partnership for Lee, best known for co-creating such iconic superhero properties as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. The Jump SQ.II issue will be published in Japan by Shueisha and in North America by VIZ Media.

The Ultimo saga begins in Farmless City, where citizens are stunned by the sudden appearance of two floating figures that may be human boys, monolithic robots or something much more strange. One is named Vice and appears to be evil, and the other is Ultimo, who appears intent on stopping Vice from wreaking more havoc. A battle ensues between them, bringing destruction and devastation to the hapless city as the population struggles to understand who these figures are and where they came from.

Lee will be on hand to promote the new venture during a VIZ Media press event at New York Comic-Con at 4 p.m. on April 18, the same day the Ultimo issue goes on sale in Japan. He will be joined by Jump SQ. editor Takanori Asada and Shonen Jump editor-in-chief Marc Weidenbaum in highlighting the collaboration and shedding further light on the development of the property.

‘I am deeply honored for this great opportunity to collaborate with an award-winning artist/writer of the stature of Hiroyuki Takei,’ Lee remarks. ‘I enthusiastically expect that the combination of an American story-telling style merged with Takei-san’s acclaimed Japanese style will result in our joint creation, Ultimo, presenting an original, exciting type of manga that will appeal to comic book fans around the world.’

New York Comic-Con takes place April 18-20 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. Comic-book fans can go to www.shonenjump.com/ultimosweeps and enter for a chance to attend the event and receive a copy of the Jump SQ.II issue signed by Takei and Lee. More information on Ultimo, Shonen Jump and VIZ Media can be found at www.shonenjump.com.