Who’s Who Presents – Who’s That? #4: Ultra The Multi-Alien

For the fourth fantastic episode of WHO'S THAT?, Rob and Shag take a look at one of their (ok, Rob's) favorite, most obscure DC characters: Ultra The Multi-Alien!

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29 responses to “Who’s Who Presents – Who’s That? #4: Ultra The Multi-Alien

  1. Ultra also got single panel cameos in JLA: the Nail and Kingdom Come, but I guess he was too goofy for Chaykin and Garcia-Lopez (Praised be his name!) to use in Twilight. I also wanted to say he was in the DC Challenge, but I guess that was just wishful thinking on my part.

    Good one, guys. Can’t wait until the next one.

    1. He also got a story in Adventures in the DC Universe #5, effectively making him part of the DCAU, was in 2 episodes of Batman: Brave and the Bold (“Siege of Starro, Part One!” and “Mitefall”), and in Scooby-Doo Team-Up #24. I believe he was also in Multiversity, but I can’t prove it right now. (If any of this is in the episode, my apologies, I’m partway through.)

  2. Who’s That has quickly become one of my favorite shows on the network. I think any comic fan who grew up in the 80s and read Who’s Who encountered a character that became their “Who’s That?” And Ultraa was definitely one of mine. How could anyone see this guy and not be intrigued. Unfortunately for me, it was until this episode that I got to learn any more about him besides his original entry! So thank you very much Rob and Shag.
    The Mercenaries were another one of my Who’s That, although, if I recall neither of you were all that intrigued by their entry. Oh well, I at least managed to track down most of their G.I. Combat appearances.
    Can’t wait for the next entry.

  3. That Ultra logo is fantastic. And I love the Milt Snappin-style, Flash-reminiscent treatment of ‘the’ on the original comics.

    As I said when Ultra came up previously, the John K Snyder image is indeed brilliant. Well, bar the fact he lost his tighty whities, they were hot.

    Lee Elias was so good. Just look at the headshot of the hairy green guy on the third panel of page six, he’s beyond sinister.

    HA! I’m typing as I’m listening and Shagg has singled out the very same panel. We are one.

    What else can I say but EEEEEE…OOOOO…..HMMMMM….TWEET!

    1. I had the exact same reaction, Martin! As I was looking at that head shot of the third panel on page six, Shag started talking about it. That makes three of us, one more and we could become our very own Ultra!

  4. Fun show guys. I think Ultra has enormous potential, especially as a cartoon/toy line. Just imagine getting a four pack of the aliens, but they can be broken apart, and reassembled to MAKE Ultra! Kids would eat this up, as it easily fits into the Ben 10 ideal, which of course is VERY similar to Dial “H” for Hero.

    Love the John K. Snyder entry, and the Lee Elias artwork. That serpent is indeed, masterful. Great discussion!!!


  5. Another great episode. Love the Ultra Who’s Who entries, both of them! I am surprised that Perez didn’t sneak him somewhere in Crisis on Infinite Earths. I’ll have to check my Index when I get home.

    The stories sound daffy and the art you supply is pretty wonderful. Thanks for all the coverage.

    But let’s not bury the lede. I will gladly co-host this show. And you know my first pick is Dr. Tzin-Tzin by Bill Sienkiewicz! Sign me up!

  6. Impressive podcast. Most Impressive. Huh Ultra. Oddly He only knew him from Who’s who…wasn’t a fan….sorry. Note the old version not the loss leaf. But, oddly the old comics make him look cooler. John K Snyder’s art stile reminds me of Sam Keith. Which could be the guy to draw and write Ultra. Judging from what he did on Maxx he could do well with Arn. If he’d be willing to work on a company owned character. Or Garth Eines. Maybe in this black label comic line since Vertigo is gone now.

  7. Niiiiiice, another great “Who’s That?” Rob and Shag! Ultra the Multi-Alien is probably one of the most poorly designed characters in all of comics, but maybe that’s why I am so drawn to him. Ever since I first ran into him, in his first Who’s Who listing I’ve picked up every issue of Mystery in Space I’ve ran across in back issue bins. Which means I still have 3 or 4 more to find. Ultra is the kind of character that makes you wonder, “what were they thinking?”, but you’re glad they did. So much joy and so much fun in Ultra. Thanks for spotlighting him!

  8. Wow. Never heard of Ultra before, but it’s a testament to your podcasting talents that I’m now interested in the character. And that image by Snyder is indeed amazing – I’d read the hell out of an Ultra story drawn by him.

    Anyway, fair’s fair I think: your next episode of Who’s That should cover pre-Crisis Ultraa.

    1. Ultraa the Ginger Whinger!

      Oh, and as the question as to what I was doing with Gil Kane came up, I was a volunteer at the 1986 UK Comic Art Convention tasked with wrangling guest artists to produce the show portfolio for sale in aid of charity. Given the guest list included such luminaries as Dave Gibbons, Alan Davis, Bill Sienkiewicz, Brian Bolland and some kid named Frank Miller, I was a little shy, but it was a real privilege to be right there as they produced wonderful pieces, and enjoy the odd exchange.

  9. How do I not ever remember hearing about Ultra? I’ve got plenty of 60s Bat and Super titles so I had to see that house ad at some point….but that isn’t the kind of thing you can unsee. That chicken foot is just bizarre.

    Really, I thought Comet the Super Horse trying to romance Supergirl and Lois was the weirdest thing going on at DC back then, but I might have been mistaken. I don’t know what recreational substances were going around the DC offices back then, but I think I might like to try some of them.

  10. This was one impressive episode. I love the “documentary” feel to it, with the clips from the previous Who’s Who podcasts, the Conan bit and most specially, the John K. Snyder audio clip, which left me thinking about something: he mentions having some kind of Mark Waid involvement and you refer several times to the “thinking as pictograms” resource. Well, a few years later Waid incorporated this idea in the Impulse comic, as wonderfully illustrated by Humberto Ramos. Inspiration? Collective Unconscious? Theft?

  11. I was wondering how you were going to get an hour out of talking about Ultra, the Multi-Alien. Why, with a clip show! Or album issue, to keep it in the genre.
    Thank you for reading my letter, but maybe you should have read it before you did the research. According to Amazing Mike, Ultra was a Jack Schiff character, because Schiff was the editor of Mystery In Space. And very little else. Ultra’s last appearance was in the final issue of Mystery In Space. Cancelled book=cancelled character. Schiff was editing Dial H for Hero in House of Mystery, but did not seem to have a lot of interest in developing more regularly appearing characters, and he was gone from DC (National) within a year of MiS’s cancellation. Other editors would have had very little reason to dust off and use some other editor’s failed character. Ultra really wouldn’t have fit in with Robert Kanigher’s stable.
    Great show, fellas!

  12. Thanks for a great episode! And it did exactly what it set out to do; I’m now intrigued in this character. The sheer joy in your voices as you recount Ultra’s entries is great. I remember seeing this in the original Who’s Who and thinking, “This is too nutty.” I’m not sure if it was the chicken leg or the tighty whiteys but it just seemed too much. But because of this episode and seeing some of those panels, I’m much more intrigued by that nuttiness! Well done and I can’t wait to see who wins the Patreon poll for who’s next (where’s the choice for Composite Superman?).

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