By Ben Morse
Earlier this week, ULTIMATE ORIGINS #1 hit stands, and at long last we're all going to learn the secret history of the Ultimate Universe.
But what do some of Marvel's creators consider their personal ultimate origin? What foundation stories of our finest heroes and vilest villains do they feel stand out as the best of the bunch?
That's what we set out to discover.
It's Friday, so kick back, relax and enjoy.
BOB GALE (writer of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN):
I love the origin of the Hulk because of its atypical comic book life lesson: "No good deed goes unpunished." Bruce Banner does the good, heroic thing in rescuing Rick Jones from the gamma bomb, only to pay a terrible price for it. I always imagined Bruce lying in a cave months later, trying to
get some sleep after being hunted and shot at, and thinking back, "Dammit, if only I'd let that idiot kid get his ass blown up! He read those signs saying it was a Restricted Area, but no-o-o-o, he had to be cool and ignore 'em. And now I gotta wear this one pair of ragged purple pants because of it!"
TODD NAUCK (artist of AMERICAN DREAM):
My favorite origin story would have to be Spider-Man's. It's a great "zero to hero" story. I like seeing Peter's struggle to find his way as a hero. And the whole "With great power comes great responsibility" concept is powerful.
MIKE PERKINS (upcoming artist of THE STAND):
Undoubtedly the best Marvel origin is Spider-Man's closely followed by Captain America. Yet my favorite origin story is that of Captain Britain. Steeped in both action and historic Celtic legends we watch as Brian Braddock—during his break from University and working in a dangerous nuclear complex whilst smoking a pipe—escapes a devastating attack from a bunch of guys dressed in suits of armor, lunges of a cliff on a motorbike that turns into a
fireball and then, pretty much dead, is confronted by Merlin and his hottie of a daughter and asked to choose between an amulet and a sword! This, being the mid-70s, and Brian, being a student who smokes a pipe, chooses the amulet and, I quote, "ZARRG!" he's transformed into Captain Britain!! Fantastic
!!! As Mr. Braddock sums it up succinctly himself, "THIS—IS—INSANE!!"
RALPH MACCHIO (Marvel Executive Editor):
My favorite Marvel origin is Stephen Strange's. This is a true spiritual journey, an everyman's quest from the shallowness of the material world to the depths of despair and finally to the soul-stirring Great Awakening. What a marvelous trip! Stephen Strange's origin could be an entire film in itself. Here you have this selfish surgeon, interested only in big bucks who has an accident and is no longer able to function in the material world he so loves, so he seeks a cure. And what he
finds instead is an entire other dimension to life—a spiritual, mystical component he never suspected existed. It changes his very existence and he becomes mankind's guardian against the magical forces that would destroy us. In terms or origin and character, it doesn't get any better than Doctor Stephen Strange. Tamand Shud!
TOM DEFALCO (writer of AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL):
My favorite origin story is the origin of Spider-Man in AMAZING FANTASY #15 because it is a simple morality play about personal responsibility that introduces a new character, shows his origin, explains his powers, takes him to a variety of places and does it all in 11 pages. Now that's entertainment...and a whole lot of craft!
RICK REMENDER (co-writer of PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL):
The Wrecking Crew stole a magic spell intended for Loki as he was waiting in a Ramada Inn enjoying free HBO. The spell eventually ended up being contained in a crowbar. What can touch that? Nothing, that's what.
AXEL ALONSO (Marvel Executive Editor):
The Punisher's origin—because it's very simple and primal. On a sunny afternoon in the park, a man has everything taken away from him. The man he was…dies. There's nothing inside him but a void that he can't fill, no matter how much vengeance he deals out Waitaminute, that's really depressing. Can I change my answer…?
CHRISTOS GAGE (co-writer of AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE):
Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy. Outsiders in a savage world, they got to be friends when Moon-Boy saved the baby Devil Dinosaur from evil cavemen who tried to burn him to death. They looked out for each other, and when Devil grew to gigantic size, it was payback time! I actually own an original page of Jack Kirby art from this story.
MARK WAID (upcoming writer of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN):
All kidding aside, Spider-Man has the best origin story in all of comics. Before Stan [Lee] and Steve Ditko came along, super heroes had very little in the way of genuine motivation for doing what they do. Peter Parker was
the first character in comics history who you actually kinda wanted to punch in the neck before he learned the all-important power/responsibility lesson.
JEPH LOEB (writer of HULK):
I think maybe M.O.D.O.K. The way I remember it, they took some A.I.M. scientist and threw him a big radioactive—what wasn't
radioactive in the sixties?—washing machine. He came out with a big giant head and teeny little body. I think he killed everyone there, which kinda bothered me because he really couldn't walk with his really big head. So how did he get into that flying chair thingy?
MIKE CAREY (writer of X-MEN: LEGACY):
I'm gonna go for a real oldie. I loved how the Red Ghost got his powers by repeating the journey that the Fantastic Four had taken, but instead of shielding himself from cosmic rays he deliberately left himself as exposed as he could, so he'd get a bigger dose and be more powerful than the FF. It was both an obvious move and awesome lateral thinking, or at least that's how it seemed to me as a kid.
PETER DAVID (writer of X-FACTOR):
The Silver Surfer, as depicted in SILVER SURFER v1 #1. Sweeping, almost operatic in its scope. A story of sacrifice and love depicted against a cosmic backdrop. Lee and [John] Buscema at their best.
BRIAN REED (writer of MS. MARVEL):
Everybody is going to say Spider-Man, so I'm going to pick somebody else. Although, seriously, at least once as a kid, we all considered maybe letting a spider bite us... just to see what would happen. Yeah? No? Me either. I was terrified of the things and wouldn't go near them.
I always dug Hulk's origin because it's so the opposite of every other hero. Everybody else gets zapped and gets powers and decides it's time to help the world be a better place. But here was Bruce Banner, just trying to earn a living making big bombs, when this idiot kid gets in the way. Rather than let Rick Jones get atomized, Bruce sacrifices himself and ends up living with the curse of the Hulk. It's almost like Stan Lee was saying, "Kids, really, helping other people is nothing but trouble."
BILL ROSEMANN (Marvel editor):
I know everyone and their Aunt May is going to say it, but ya gotta go with the one that not only broke the mold, but also set a new one: the amazing origin of Spider-Man. First, you have to think about how revolutionary it was at the time to start not with a middle-aged millionaire or straight-laced reporter—as a certain Distinguished Competition was known to do—but to instead choose a rebellious outsider teen. He's not rich, he's not from another planet, he's just a lonely, picked on young man named Peter Parker who's far from perfect. In fact, it's Peter's own selfishness that leads to his tragic turning point. Accidentally and randomly granted extraordinary powers, does Peter instantly pull on some underwear and go fight ne'er do wells? Heck no! He goes on TV and tries to get rich! It is only after Peter realizes that his own actions can lead to others' pain does he decide to use his abilities for the good of humanity, teaching us all the motto that has guided multiple generations: "With great power, there must also come great responsibility." Thanks, Stan & Steve!