iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy – Episode #146 – Ultimate Spider-Man

Show Notes

Ten years ago, with Marvel Comics emerging from bankruptcy and hungry for good ideas to inject life into their biggest characters, they came up with a risky plan. Create a separate universe of books and reboot their biggest characters back to the beginning.

The best and most controversial of the Ultimate books was and has been Ultimate Spider-Man.

Written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn (for most of its run) by Mark Bagley, Ultimate Spider-Man defied the odds, broke the most sacred record in comics, and gave us all 10 plus years of fantastic Spider-Man stories.

And there ís no end in sight.




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  1. Ooooooo… Zoom shots. lol

  2. Extreme Close-up!

  3. So, were the close-ups an homage to issue 13, or are they here to stay? I’m not a fan of them, but maybe they’ll grow on me.

  4. @JFernandes: Have you only recently begun watching the show? Like within the last year? Because we used to do close ups all the time. For at least the first year of shows.

    They’re not a homage.

  5. @conor: Yeah, I started watching sometime in 2008 I think. That might explain my lack of experience with the close-ups.

  6. Good idea for an episode. Definitely one of the most important/iconic series of the ’00s. I loved about the first, er, 50 or so issues. Overall I think the series really epitomizes the first decades of comics in the ’00s as a whole: starts off seeming like a great opportunity…but by the end of the decade you wonder if the opportunity to attract more outside readers was squandered somehow somewhere along the way. It ends up with mostly 30-somethings reading twice-told tales about teenagers. Then again, I don’t read the series anymore, but the current artist seems to have a look at the Manga crowd might go for, so hopefully the Ultimate line starts attracting more outsiders (again?)l

    Regardless, good idea for an episode.

  7. Haha… "clownd.."

  8. yes, but the close-ups used to be from a different camera.  this appears as though you just zoomed in digitally on the footage from the one camera.  makes it look very amateurish.  great content in this episode but those close-ups are very awkward.

  9. also anyone ever notice that iFanboy.com’s color scheme is the same as Spider-Man’s?

  10. Best.  Comic.  Ever.

  11. ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN was the only Marvel series I was following in trades for years. I love it. I did drop off buying the trades after Bagley left, but I do enjoy reading them from the library since then. Thanks for putting more of a spotlight on this.

    Also, it was nice to hear a bit more about why SPIDER-MAN: YEAR ONE didn’t work. I’ve only simply heard that it was awful but not why it was awful.

  12. @ABirdseyesView Totally Rad Show does the same thing, I’m guessing they have a higher res camera though?  It does look a little fuzzy with the zoom-ins but I like the idea of it.

  13. I should probably get around to reading this book sometime.

  14. @flapjaxx Well I am not a 30-something, and I was a teenager for most of the run, I’ve loved it. The new readers it was vying for got stuck and are still reading.

    I really liked what Bendis did with Ultimatum. He started it like he was following through with the previous arc and the everything went to shit.

  15. Oh thank you iFanboy for reminding me, for last 10 years i’ve been reading USM since I was a freshmen in high school…

    Urgh..so old.

  16. @jackietam if 10 years ago you were a freshman, you’re not "so old"

  17. Another stellar video podcast, iFanboys.  I too was hooked onto USM and it introduced me to the Bendis style of writing that I’m used to seeing today in all the Avengers books going on.  Clone Saga in particular was really gutsy and well-done, though really we can say that anybody that attempts to re-do Clone Saga now in any format will be better than that atrocity in the 90’s.

    I dropped off after Bagley left, but bought an issue every now and then. I stayed away from Ultimatum and anything related to it – was complete and utter trash to me.  But I think I’ll get back into USM after seeing this podcast just to see what Bendis brings new to the table.

    I now want to see you guys do a retrospective on Howard the Duck – make it happen 🙂 

  18. @trobinson: Get the "ultimatum" trade of Ult. Spidey. Bendis gets a lot of crap, mostly deserved, for his crossovers, but he deals with other people’s bad crossovers brilliantly.

  19. It’s true. Civil War: The Confession was my favorite Bendis issue in years, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Civil War.

  20. Great episode guys as always. Not too keen on the close-ups – I assume it was just a technical issue that they looked so blurry. I watch the HD iTunes versions so it’s probably a bit more noticeable on them. USM is a great series and really deserved to have an episode about it especially as it’s recent re-boot makes it so easy for new readers to get on the book.

  21. @trobinson, @josh – And the Bendis Civil War issues of "New Avengers" were the best part of Civil War.

  22. I love how you always hear about people being scared about the Ultimate U replacing the Normal U, but when DC actually did replace their Universe back during Crisis, you never hear stories of people freaking out.  I’m sure there were some, but it’s just interesting to see how much power the Internet has on comic history.

  23. great episode my favorite since you guys came back 

  24. Don’t like the close-ups, they are way too blurry. If you want the effect of a 2nd camera, why not use an actual camera instead of faking it by blowing up footage? It doesn’t look good blurry like that. I’d rather do without the close-ups altogether.

  25. Good, it’s not just me. I really don’t enjoy the close-ups. They look cheesy… and not "good" cheesy. One of the best things about watching the video podcast is seeing you guys banter back and forth and crack each other up. What happens when Ron says something crazy and we miss out on one of Josh’s classic "WTF?" looks. The close-ups really take away from that. Try to stick with the 3-shot format (hope I’m using that term correctly). Other than that… good stuff. Keep it up.

  26. @chasekanaszka: If something you describs happens then we don’t cut to a close-up. We do kind of know what we’re doing here.

  27. Yeah, whatever happened to the handheld cam?

  28. @conor- I think the reason we’re all taken aback by it is because we know you all know what you’re doing.  and granted, the only way to see if something works well is to try it, so kudos for trying.  the zooming in just seems to be a shortcut with a less than enjoyable end-product.

  29. @ABridseyeView: I guess I’m confused as to why you are "taken aback" by a technique we have used many times in the past.

    None of this has anythng to do with Spider-Man, by the way.

  30. YES! Finally a whole episode dedicated to the best Spider-Man series ever! Ultimate Spider-Man was so awesome although I felt that Mark Bagley’s art was really the definitive look of the book, b/c Immomen’s art made Peter look like 12 years old so I wasn’t so into that & it looked way to cartoonish & not so detailed as Bagley’s art. I have heard good things about the Ultimate Comics Spider-Man reboot but I gonna wait until the Hardcover to judge & see if its worth my time, even though judging by the podcast he is amazingly short but to me a lot better looking than Immomen’s art. Mysterio through me off a bit cause he kind of looks like the new Daniel Ketch Ghost Rider, but its a pretty decent Ultimate version of him.

  31. I don’t remember it being used in this way, wasn’t it done with a different camera in the past?

    and I don’t read this book so I can’t really comment, but the show was interesting as always. 

  32. @ABirdsEyeView: It’s been done both ways in the past.

  33. @Slockheart
    I’m sure there were, but that was an additional decade before Ultimate Marvel, so those freak outs were less relevant in recent years.

    Gotta say, not a fan of the digital zooms either. I cringe whenever I see it done in TV & movies, too. Great show regardless of that, though!

  34. I agree with chasekanaszka that the WTF reaction moments are pure gold. The interplay between you guys is hilarious and those little moments make the show.

  35. This thread is hilarious. 

  36. What do people here think of the reboot? I wonder if it really has made it more approachable to new readers post-Ultimatum or are the 20 or so trades from the first volume required reading? Should the Ultimate Universe just have ended after Ultimatum? With all the continuity it’s created over the past decade it’s getting close to the 616 universe in terms of complexity.

  37. Great episode about a great book.  When I switched to more DC books, this was one of two that I felt a "need" to continue getting.  I was also one of those people who was very hesitant to get on board, but once I did I was hooked.

  38. F*** YEAH~!!!!! FINALLY A VIDEO PODCAST ON MY FAVORITE SERIES~! Best. Move. Ever. guys!

    I suddenly feel compelled to post more xD.

  39. BTW: In reference to your joke/question: "What earth # is that one?"

    Earth 1610 I believe. I remember because I have the entire Exiles series… (regretfully).

  40. @davidtobin

    You can pick it up from the new number one without much problem, since these are characters you already know (I assume).

  41. I’ve been looking at the USM trades for a while, will have to pick one up now…

  42. I watched the Ultimate Spider-man show this morning (1/23), and the synchronicity of the whoe thing amazed me.  I had my USM hardcover beside my bed to read, and had been wondering if the "re-boot" was worth even bothering with buying.  Good to know it is.  Then, later took my 10 year old to compete in the local Pinewood Derby race at our cub scout pack.  While I was there, another 10 year old comes up to me, and we have a 30 minute discussion about comics, green lantern rings, and action figures.  Keep up the good work guys.

  43. USM have been really important as it made me a reader of comics. As a kid I’ve read some comics but that was like 10-15 years ago. Last summer I visited NYC, my first trip to the US (I’m from Amsterdam), and I fell in love with the big apple. You Americans should be really proud of the fact that New York is an American city, I’ve never been to a place that inspired me as much as NYC, in different ways. My interest in comics began when I visited Midtown comics at Times Square. I like the vibe over there, but didn’t buy something (Now I hate myself for not buying anything, especially with the low dollar compared to the euro). Since that day I began to read stuff about comics on the internet and later I bought the fantastic Watchmen by Alan Moore at Central Park south, close to the Plaza Hotel. So Watchmen was the first comic I’ve read as an adult, but it was still just a one time thingy. With Ultimate Spider-Man I became hooked, a comic beast. It’s like a whole new world has openend up to me. It was only natural to begin with Spidey as I always loved the cartoons. USM keeps me entertained, it’s just fantastic. When I read it I forget everything else. Now I read many other comics, but USM was the comic that made me love comics. I loved this show, good work guys!

  44. Ult spidey was my first comic and I was hooked. Its cool that other people like the series as much as I have over last 10 years.

  45. Nice show. I don’t follow Ultimate Spider-Man much, and you gave me a good feel for the character and universe.

    Your opening comments on Spider-Man Chapter One reminded me of an interview Bendis did on Sound of Young America in which he was rather kind towards Byrne (without mentioning him by name) about how Byrne made his Chapter One mistakes, and how Bendis might have made the same mistakes too, but learned from those mistakes when writing Ultimate Spider-Man. (I took it as a kind thing to say.)


  46. Ultimate Spiderman does truely rule. Ditched amazing a while back and got the mega year worth trades of these.

  47. This was a good show.  Props.

    Ultimate Spider-Man is of the quality that you don’t get in other comics.  Anywhere.

    I would have liked to hear what Conor doesn’t like about the Clone story specifically.  Because my brother also did not like that story and I was surprised.  He said he didn’t like "Dr. Octopus’s Magneto like power."

    Though Amazing Spider-Man by JMS was excellent at the time as well.  The originality of the "Ezekiel & Morlun" story was AWESOME!

  48. I don’t think anyone has come back and pointed out that both Peter Parker getting his hair cut AND Sentry dying have now happened. Well done, iFanboy. Your influence is great in the world of comics and beyond.

  49. I LOVE ULTIMATE SPIDERMAN!!! Bendis and Bagley got me back into spiderman and comics in general. Second favorite episode next to Superheroes gone Bad

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