Being the first superhero that I can remember being introduced to, Ultraman has been a part of my life for well over fifty years. His debut was in 1966, a scant three years before I was born. Through the magic if syndication, I was introduced to the hero. Another show I was a fan of was Johnny Sakko and his Flying Robot. I don’t recall watching many of these, but I do recall what I called it… “Bucket-Head Ultraman”.
While there was only one more time in my life where Ultraman aired on a local channel for me, it was enough to rekindle my interest. Previously I had been on a huge Kaiju kick when I was in the fourth and fifth grades, Ultraman wasn’t going to air again until I was in the sixth. Eventually I had a set of Ultraman posters came into my possession. With that set came an education about the Ultraman universe. I learned that there were other Ultramen. Although I could not read the posters, the visuals were enough to keep me mesmerized.
It wasn’t until I joined the world wide web that I learned the most about my beloved Ultraman. My first web page was dedicated to Ultraman. I needed a subject to teach myself HTML and the savior from the Land of Light seemed to be the best.
Oddly enough, a Japanese book company who were publishing a large book about Ultraman’s production history, reached out to me and sent a press packet to help get the word out about it. It was pretty cool! I enjoyed the task, but I do wish that they had actually sent me the actual book.
Recently I made a social media post about my “Ultraman Addiction” and thought I should create a page dedicated to my art of Ultraman. At this point I feel like I could change my legal name from “Darran Hight” to “Darran Hayata”.
1966’s Ultraman is a Japanese science fiction television series that was created by Eiji Tsuburaya and aired from July 17, 1966, to April 9, 1967, on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS). It is a follow-up to another series called Ultra Q, but not a sequel or spin-off.
The series follows the adventures of Shin Hayata, a member of the Science Patrol, a defense force that protects Earth from alien and monster attacks. One day, he is accidentally killed by Ultraman, a giant alien warrior who came to Earth to fight an escaped criminal. Ultraman revives Hayata and merges with him, giving him the ability to transform into Ultraman whenever he faces danger.
Ultraman is one of the most popular and influential tokusatsu (special effects) shows in Japan and around the world. It spawned many sequels, spin-offs, movies and merchandise over the years. It also became a cultural icon and a symbol of heroism for many people.
There are many follow-up shows for Ultraman by Tsuburaya Productions, the company that created Ultraman and other tokusatsu shows. Some of them are:
- Ultra Seven (1967-1968), a sequel to 1966 Ultraman that features a new hero from the Land of Light who fights against alien invaders.
- Return of Ultraman (1971-1972), a revival of 1966 Ultraman that introduces a new host for Ultraman named Hideki Go.
- Ultraman Ace (1972-1973), a show that features two hosts for Ultraman Ace, Seiji Hokuto and Yuko Minami, who can merge into one to transform.
- Ultraman Taro (1973-1974), a show that features Kotaro Higashi, a young man who becomes the host for Ultraman Taro, the son of Father of Ultra and Mother of Ultra.
- Ultraman Leo (1974-1975), a show that features Gen Otori, an alien from Planet L77 who becomes the host for Ultraman Leo, a martial arts expert who trains under Ultra Seven.
And many more.
The most recent follow-up show announced by Tsuburaya is Ultraman Chronicle D, which will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ultraman Dyna, the sequel to Ultraman Tiga.
My Ultra-Designs on TeePublic
A few of my alternate versions of Ultraman & the SSSP
I enjoy twisting existing characters into characters from another franchise. These are a few versions of Ultra characters. The last two are based off of the Spartans from “300”. It’s always fun to mash-up or take the essence of a character archetype and import it into another mythos.