Tuesday night "Ultimate Marvel Team-Up" writer Brian Bendis addressed fans on his message board confirming rumors that the Marvel Comics title will be coming to an end shortly and offering a lengthy explanation.
"This is hard to announce, but 'Ultimate Marvel Team-Up' will end, on a high note, with issue 16 being the final regular issue.
"Before the online conspiracies start flying - and boy they like to fly - here is the full disclosure. And you guys know I am always a straight shooter on stuff like this- so here goes…
"'UMTU' was pitched and conceived as a finite series. Joe and I discussed very early on that when I run out of characters, innovative artists, or inspiration, that we would fold it.
"Anthologies are incredibly difficult to produce. And even the series this series was modeled after, 'Marvel Fanfare,' slid in quality after a while. We all agreed that getting off stage before that happened to this book was learning a lesson from the past and very much in tune with what the ultimate marvel line is meant to be.
"Truth be told I was going for a 25 issue run but a LOT of things made that goal impossible for me on this book.
"The first being the work on the [upcoming MTV] cartoon. It was a lot of work to get the series in gear. Clearly one of the titles I write was going to have to go on without me for a while.
"Also, and this is a big one, when I was lucky enough to get the mainstream opportunities that I have, my intention was never to be the 'wow, he can write a lot of comics' guy, it was never my intention. It just happened to pan out that way because I love comics and I'm not a lazy, alcoholic, video game addict. :)
"Well, even though I can and do enjoy writing the variety of titles and I think I proved that I can do it, I also enjoy other aspects of comic creation and when my work on the cartoon is done, I will use my free time to get back to drawing and such while focusing my attention on the other books I plan on writing for a long time to come.
"So you're asking why Marvel is folding 'Team-Up' just because I did not want to continue on it? Especially when it's a consistently solid performer? Well, its very flattering on one end. It was my pitch and my taste in comics that launched the series so Joe said instead of refocusing the book with another writer, it just makes more sense to end it on a high note and make way for another writer to start another type of project with his own voice and criteria. And certainly I agree and am flattered that they held to their word on that.
"But really, this book was a bitch to produce every month, and Marvel knows it. Getting the artists and finding the right character for them then altering my style to compliment their style while at the same time anchoring the book with my own tastes was a dizzying experience - and one worth every second of effort that was put forth.
"Basically I think that no one else wanted to do all this work. :)
"So, if you add all these things up you can see that if I had to make a hard choice on which book to bow off of ... 'Team-Up' was the one. Of all these books I am working on 'Team-Up' was the one I felt I had come closest to accomplishing my personal goals. And my personal goals are a lot higher than any goal put on me by anyone else.
"But it does make me sad that just as people were beginning to see the scope of the book artistically… it ends. But oh well, I've had worse problems.
"That said I would like to announce that I will NOT be leaving 'Ultimate Spider-Man,' 'Daredevil,' or 'Alias.' My goals for these books are still in process and are long term commitments that I have made to myself. Same goes for 'Powers,' but I think that goes without saying, I co-own it.
"The 'Ultimate Spider-Man Special,' which is soliciting in May, the all star gala of Spidey team-ups that has literally grown to the size of a graphic novel, will wrap up a lot of the themes of 'Team-Up' and may be considered by fans of the series to be the big finale. While others, who were just casual readers of team up but hard-core readers of 'USM,' can see the special as their chance to see our biggest and best effort and how the events of 'Team-Up' affected Peter Parker as a character.
Also, any dangling plot points, ideas, and conspiracies will be sucked into 'Ultimate Spider-Man' the series. Nothing is being tossed out.
I hope that this announcement does not dissuade any of you from buying Terry Moore's amazing work on issue 14, which btw, has a big plot point for fans of the Ultimate conspiracy and a bridge to 'The Ultimates.' And 15 and 16 have beautiful Hong Kong action artwork by David Mack and Rick Mays. Every issue worth your time.
"Are there untold tales of 'Ultimate Team-Up?' Yes sir. Leaving the door open for more specials in the future if the time and talent is there.
"I will speak further on this is the actual comic book- but thank you all so much for making the book the success that it was and giving me the opportunity to work with some of the greatest artists in comics history on some of my favorite characters ever. these will always be some of my personal favorite issues.
"And I repeat - I AM NOT LEAVING ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, DAREDEVIL, ALIAS, OR POWERS!!!!"
There's the story straight from Bendis himself. While the decision may not have been an easy one for Bendis, it didn't curb his well known sense of humor.
"Wow, I probably could have written another issue of team up with the time it took to type this :) but oh well."
For more on Brian Bendis' work check out his Jinxworld.com Web site.