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CSBG Archive

The Comic Book Alphabet of Cool – U

We continue our tour through the alphabet, with a different cool comic book item each day, from A to Z!
Here‘s an archive of A-T.

Today we look at a different approach to superheroes.

Ultra, by Jonathan and Joshua Luna, was a fresh, cool look at superheroes.

It was about a trio of superheroes in a universe where superheroes make money through endorsement deals, and the various heroes are managed by “agencies” like models. The attractive female heroes are the most popular heroes out there and the book follows three superhero friends.

The main character is the fairly down-to-Earth Ultra (Pearl Penalosa), who is looking to find a normal guy she can love in a world where she is one of the most famous (and most powerful) people on Earth.

The series had a ton of back matter, which was great – articles and stuff like that written from the perspective of what the world would be like if superheroes existed.

It was really low-key, character-based comic books, and the artwork by the Lunas was nice, as well.

I’d say the book was great for about 6 1/2 issue, and it really went off the rails a bit towards the end, as the brothers seemed to be looking for some grand overarching PLOT rather than letting their unconventional but wonderful comic continue as it was, which was a great comic.

Unsurprisingly, a pilot was made (unsurprisingly because this would work really well as a TV series) starring Lena Headley as Ultra. It was not picked up, sadly. Barbara Hall (the lady behind Joan of Arcadia) was behind it, so it could have been really good.

9 Comments

Great choice. This is a book I lend out to friends who are skeptical of comics being anything but mainstream superhero titles. They all end up loving it.

Tom Fitzpatrick

May 27, 2009 at 5:55 am

Didn’t the Luna Bros. do the SWORD and some other series as well?
How is those?

Yes, the Luna Bros. are doing SWORD and they did GIRLS before that. They also did the Spider-Woman: Origins mini at Marvel and yes – they IS good. ;)

I ignored the Ultra comics when they first came out because I assumed it was just more cheesecake comics (the 90′s was full of them.) However, I do believe the “superhumans in the real world” concept can be very interesting in and of itself, even without much action (HEROES was like that, at least at first, but by now they’ve gone all comic-book, the only thing missing are the costumes.) So: how were the stories in Ultra? Was it all “chick stuff” or did it have drama?

Sijo:

Although I like to call Ultra “Sex In The City With Superpowers,” it’s got great drama, and is easily enjoyed by men and women alike. Seriously, pick it up. Highest recommendation.

“Joan of Arcadia” was a great series. Nominated for an Outstanding Drama Emmy, 7.9 rating on IMDB.com, etc.

I love these covers, and I’m actually thinking of stealing the name Destiny’s Bastard for my next band.

It’s a really good series, and the design work on those covers and the mocked-up magazine pages inside was outstanding.

That Rolling Stone issue, for instance, has one of the best parodies of / tributes to the overblown RS “house style” of writing I’ve ever read.

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