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Monday, August 29, 2005


TORONTO -- Steve McNiven was hand-picked by film director Bryan Singer to be the artist for his run on Ultimate X-Men, it was revealed Saturday at Marvel Comics' Ultimate panel at the Canadian Comic Book National Expo.

McNiven was chosen among some two dozen artists whose samples were sent to Singer, director of the first two X-Men films.

"I thought it was the comic-book verson of Punk'd," McNiven said about receiving the news he was Singer's artist of choice. "I was stunned, and I have no idea why he picked me. I was flattered, and then came the horrible pressure of it all."

The issue run, written with Brian K. Vaughan, is expected to begin next summer.

McNiven was joined on the panel by former Marvel editor C.B. Cebulski and artists Mark Bagley, David Finch and Greg Land.

Following are some highlights:

* Bagley, making his only convention appearance this year, said that he is starting to feel pressure with the hype surrounding the fact that he and Brian Michael Bendis and approaching the record run by Stan Lee on Jack Kirby.

"Heaven forbid something happens," he said. "We're on it for a while. I love working with Brian Michael Bendis and I love Spider-Man, but there are times I get an itch (for something different)."

* Bagley acknowledged the Ultimate Clone Saga is coming.

"Bendis called me up and said, 'We are doing the Clone Saga. This is the greatest idea I've ever had,'" Bagley said. "Nobody wanted to see Carnage. Nobody wanted to see Venom. It's sort of like taking the name and doing something new with it."

* Cebulski and Finch are teaming on an 11-page story for Spider-Man Unlimited #13.

* Cebulski said plans are for the Ultimate Universe to stick with four core titles, along with mini-series or events like next summer's Bendis-written Ultimate Invasion.

* Bagley said he usually nails the ultimization design with two or three tries, although Black Cat took the longest.

"I resisted the whole cleavage thing," he said, "but they said, 'No, we want the cleavage."

Bagley said he "slightly tweaked" the look of Silver Sable for her upcoming apperance.

* Finch said that the upcoming Moon Knight mini-series will delve into Moon Knight's personal demons.

Lord of the Rings

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