Stan Lee, Takei Present Ultimo

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VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), and POW! Entertainment (POWN.PK), at the VIZ Media press event at the 2008 New York Comic-con will be highlighting this historic partnership. Stan Lee will be participating with VIZ Media, one of the entertainment industry's most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, to announce that one of its parent companies (and one of the largest publishers in Japan), Shueisha Inc., will debut the exciting prologue chapter of Ultimo (Karakuridoji Ultimo) — the historic collaboration between comics legend Stan Lee, creator of many iconic superheroes including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men, and Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of the popular Shaman King manga series, published in Japan by Shueisha and in North America by VIZ Media.

Ultimo represents a first-of-its-kind partnership between Lee and a Japanese manga creator. The 32-page prologue, which features 3 full-color pages, will debut in a special April issue of the Japanese manga magazine Jump SQ., the sibling publication of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump, which is historically the best-selling manga magazine in Japan. The special, standalone issue is called Jump SQ.II.

VIZ Media will host a special press event at the 2008 New York Comic-Con on April 18th, the very day the SQ.II Ultimo issue goes on sale in Japan.  The event, attended by Stan Lee, Takanori Asada (Editor, Jump SQ.), and Shonen Jump Editor-in-Chief Marc Weidenbaum, will highlight the collaboration and shed further light on the development of ULTIMO and the partnership with Hiroyuki Takei, as well as announce exciting news not yet shared regarding this title. New York Comic-Con takes place April 18-20 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City; this special press-only event is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. in Room# 1E09. (Contact information to save a seat at this event is located at the end of this release.)

Stan Lee says, “I am deeply honored for this great opportunity to collaborate with an award-winning artist/writer of the stature of Hiroyuki Takei.  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.”

The Ultimo story: High above Farmless City, citizens are stunned by the sudden appearance of two floating figures. Are they human boys, monolithic robots, or something much more strange? As the battle ensues between them, destruction and devastation falls on the hapless city. One figure is Vice, and seems to be as evil as his name implies. The other is Ultimo, intent on trying to stop Vice from wreaking more havoc. But who are Vice and Ultimo really? Where did they come from? A new mystery begins with the fate of the world possibly hanging in the balance!

Lee’s own company, POW! Entertainment, worked with Jump SQ. parent company Shueisha and with JEA and Dream Ranch (a Sony Music company) to facilitate the development of Ultimo.

“The collaboration between Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei is a tremendous event,” says Marc Weidenbaum, Shonen Jump Editor-in-Chief. “Stan Lee is as big a legend as there can be in American comics, and Japan is without comparison for its massive comics culture. Lee’s collaboration with an artist as gifted as Hiroyuki Takei creates a bridge between Eastern and Western popular storytelling traditions and the pair has created something very new and special.”

For over half a century, Stan Lee has been synonymous with superhero comics. In addition to creating countless memorable series and characters, including Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and Daredevil, he served as the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics. Lee remains a hugely respected and dynamic figure in the entertainment industry and continues to develop a variety of film, television and video game properties.

Unconventional author/artist Hiroyuki Takei began his career by winning the coveted Hop Step Award (for new manga artists) and the Osamu Tezuka Award. After working as an assistant to famed artist Nobuhiro Watsuki (RUROUNI KENSHIN), Takei debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1997 with Butsu Zone, an action series based on Buddhist mythology. His multicultural adventure manga Shaman King debuted in Japan in 1998 and has been adapted into a popular animated television series. The Shaman King manga series is also published in North America by VIZ Media; for many years it was serialized in English in Shonen Jump magazine.

Lucky winners will have the opportunity to attend this special event as well as receive a copy of the Jump SQ.II issue signed by Hiroyuki Takei and Stan Lee. For more information on Ultimo and how to win one of the outstanding prizes please visit www.shonenjump.com/ultimosweeps.  Fans can also sign up for the Shonen Jump newsletter to receive updated information on this event.

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