Ultraman Galaxy caught up with Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom at C2E2 to discuss the upcoming Marvel comic, The Rise of Ultraman.
The 2020 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) was held at the end of February. There, Ultraman Galaxy interviewed Kyle Higgins, a writer for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comics, Soul of the Dragon, and now a co-writer on Marvel’s The Rise of Ultraman.
Last week, Ultraman Galaxy’s interview went live, and it includes insights into the adaptation of Shin Hayata’s story in the original Ultraman. Concept art for the new limited series was also revealed.
Higgins begins by explaining what tokusatsu means to him:
“Hi, I’m Kyle Higgins, co-writer of the new Rise of Ultraman series at Marvel Comics along with Mat Groom and Francesco Manna on art. It is both my honor and privilege to help usher in the age of Ultraman at Marvel Comics.
A couple years ago, I worked on Power Rangers for Boom! Studios, and through that experience I was introduced to the wildly fantastic and complex and different storytelling conventions of tokusatsu. I’ve become a big fan. Kamen Rider, Sentai, Ultraman – aspirational heroes who are out to help us better ourselves. They’re not our saviors. They’re our teachers.
And the Ultras who have self-actualized and are seeing the goodness and the potential in humanity and really just want to see us do the same because in self-actualizing, we can combat the threats of kaiju, the minus energy, the things that are built from some of our kind of darkest desires and greeds and emotions, but we’re only gonna do it together.
And for me that’s a really fantastic message, and it’s at the core of superhero storytelling. It’s the superhero storytelling I love, and coming into a series like that whether it be Spider-Man, or The Avengers, or the X-Men, or it be something like Sentai, Kamen Rider, or Ultraman, I think there’s more crossover than you might initially imagine.
So I hope you stick with us for the ride, and we’re gonna have a blast. I assure you that.”
Next, Ultraman Galaxy asks “What is it like working with your co-writer, Mat Groom?”
“Mat Groom is not only one of my favorite people. He’s one of my favorite writers. It’s been an incredible privilege to watch him grow over the last couple of years.
He’s written some stories on Power Rangers, he’s launched some creator-owned books at image including Self / Made, and his knowledge and his passion for tokusatsu is incredibly inspiring.
And between some of my big superhero storytelling muscles and Mat’s kind of spiritual superhero storytelling muscles, it really is kind of a wonderful fit and marriage for this age of Ultraman, which is as much a retelling as a remix of what you’ve seen before as we iterate, in certain ways, some pretty exciting new directions as well.”
The interview concludes after asking “What is the Marvel style and its impact of the storytelling for Ultraman?”
“There are certain influences when you’re writing at Marvel, and a lot of my storytelling kind of sensibilities and muscles come from Marvel comics that I grew up as a big fan of. There’s larger than life action; there’s very personal stakes. And at the core, what to me makes Marvel a perfect fit for someone like Ultraman is that all of the characters are built out of very human, relatable traits. A lot of times, flaws.
If you consider some of the characters at DC and the kind of gods that we look up to and could never hope to become versus the flawed titans of the Marvel universe, there’s a reason that the Marvel characters have resonated so strong for so many years. They are who we are.
And in the Ultras coming to Earth and through Shin Hayata discovering our capabilities, our flaws, but also our potential and the goodness that’s inherent in us, that doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be problems along the way; there aren’t going to be mistakes made. But it is that desire to grow and to be better than the mistakes we’ve made.
I think that not only resonates across the Marvel characters, but I think it resonates across Ultraman and the entire kind of Ultraman multiverse. So it’s a perfect kind of marriage in my mind, and when the opportunity came up to come in here, I just felt like it couldn’t have been a better fit.”
Mat Groom, fellow co-writer for The Rise of Ultraman, couldn’t attend C2E2, but he sent Ultraman Galaxy a special video with his thoughts on Ultraman.
“I think what makes Ultraman really special is that it’s a story about us – all of us – in a way that many stories really aren’t. The darkness in the world of Ultraman – the kaiju – are created by people. Individuals or all of us as a society. They’re kind of our responsibility.
So while Ultraman and the other Ultras can intervene in moments of extreme crisis, and Shin and the other main characters can learn from the other Ultras and they can grow, if the rest of us don’t learn and grow; if the human race doesn’t learn and grow, then we’ll be overwhelmed and Ultraman’s battle will be lost.
And I think that’s why it’s a different sort of story from the typical lone hero or a group of heroes because it puts us at the center. It gives us some responsibility and our own role in the story. Because the Ultraman is up there up above us fighting against the darkness that we created, we kind of have to pull our weight. We have to rise above ourselves.
And I think that’s the question that the story’s asking. Are you worthy of that? Are you ready to rise above and become more? Are you ready to play your part in the battle against the darkness? I think you are. I think we all are, but I think what’s really cool about Ultraman is that it challenges you to prove it.”
The Rise of Ultraman will be a 5-issue limited series from Marvel Comics adapting the story of Shin Hayata, the original host of Ultraman, to the modern day.