The Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610) was introduced in 2000 with the publication of Ultimate Spider-Man, followed by Ultimate X-Men in 2001, The Ultimates in 2002, and finally Ultimate Fantastic Four. Prior to the launch, the imprint's working title was "Ground Zero." The characters in this line exist outside of the regular Earth-616Marvel Universe and therefore do not normally interact with their original counterparts. However, since certain characters within the Marvel Multiverse, such as Reed Richards, possess the means to contact or enter other universes, direct interaction is possible.
Ultimate Marvel features modern-day retelling of the mainstream origin stories of 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, was originally a photographer for the Daily Buglenewspaper but 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, featuring the slogan "Ultimate Marvel: The Gold Standard."
The Ultimate Marvel imprint was re-launched in 2009 after the conclusion of the "Ultimatum" storyline, under the Ultimate Comics brand.
In August 2011, Marvel re-launched the Ultimate line again, this time with the "Ultimate Comics Universe Reborn" tagline after the conclusion of the story arc "The Death of Spider-Man," an arc of Ultimate Spider-Man, ended with the June 22, 2011 Issue 160. A new multi-ethnic Spider-Man, Miles Morales, was introduced in Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 to the stands in August 2011.
In 2015 Marvel published Ultimate End, which ended the Ultimate Marvel imprint after 15 years. Ultimate End launched the "Battleworlds" branding of Marvel's "Secret Wars" storyline, which is written by Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley, the team that launched the Ultimate Marvel universe with Ultimate Spider-Man. The Morales Spider-Man and the Maker moved to the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe.
^Khouri, Andy (2009-02-07). "NYCC LIVE: Cup O' Joe". Comic Book Resources. 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.