The Ultimate Universe was launched in 2000 with the publication of Ultimate Spider-Man, followed by Ultimate X-Men in 2001 and The Ultimates in 2002, and finally Ultimate Fantastic Four. Prior to the launch, the imprint was under the working title of "Ground Zero". The characters in this line exist outside of the regular Earth-616Marvel Universe and therefore do not normally interact with their original version counterparts. However, while certain characters within the Marvel Multiverse, such as Reed Richards, do sometimes possess the means to contact or enter other universes, there may occasionally be direct interaction as well.
The setting of Ultimate Marvel features modern-day retellings of the mainstream origin stories and characters from past and present continuities (many of which were created in the 1960s and 1970s), updated to reflect contemporary sensibilities. For example, Ultimate Spider-Man gains his superpowers from a genetically-engineeredspider rather than a radioactive spider, and his alter ego, Peter Parker, originally a photographer for the Daily Buglenewspaper, now has a part-time job as the paper's webmaster. The Ultimate Marvel universe also features many of the characters as younger than their regular-continuity counterparts.
In December 2005 through early 2007, Marvel published a print ad campaign in titles across their company that showed all Ultimate titles and had the slogan, "Ultimate Marvel: The Gold Standard".
In 2015 Marvel published Ultimate End, which will end the Ultimate Marvel imprint after 15 years. Ultimate End launched the "Battleworlds" branding of Marvel's Secret Wars storyline, and is written by Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley, the team that began the Ultimate Marvel universe with Ultimate Spider-Man.
^Khouri, Andy (2009-02-07). "NYCC LIVE: Cup O' Joe". Comic Book Resources.com. Retrieved 2009-05-24. Quesada then clarified that the entire Ultimate line will be canceled, sent off with a number of "Requiem" specials, and re-launched as Ultimate Comics.