Exclusive Mark Bagley Interview[Date: September 2008]
Marvel's Bagley Swings to DC's Trinity
By Jason Larouche.
A few months after setting a new record for most consecutive issues done by one creative team - once held by legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's 100 issue run on Fantastic Four - Marvel Comics artist Mark Bagley made the unexpected move of not only moving on from Ultimate Spider-Man, but left Marvel for DC as well.
"I just felt like it was time," Bagley said as he busily signed comic covers at the Fan Expo 08 in Toronto, Ontario. "The record turned into a thing and then it seemed like now that that's done, it was time for a change. I was still loving the book; I still read the book. It was time to try something a little different."
Bagley first broke into the comic book business through a Marvel Try-Out book. From that point on, he not only helped start New Warriors, but enjoyed a lengthy stay on Marvel's flagship property, Amazing Spider-Man, one of his boyhood titles. When he completed his run on Thunderbolts, he and writer Brian Michael Bendis took the popularity-deprived Spider-Man property and did something radically drastic: start the character from scratch without the need for backstory. "It was only meant to be a six-issue miniseries. It was gonna be like a revamp, sort of like [John Byrne's Spider-Man: Chapter One a few years earlier]. I forget what they called it. I turned it down three times and I'd never heard of Bendis. I never knew how good he was." Instead of six issues, Bagley remained on the new ongoing saga, offering new visual interpretations to compliment Bendis' scripts and bringing in the attention Spider-Man required in time for the first motion picture's release.
As to what brought him to DC Comics, Marvel's top competitor, Bagley regards it as opportunity knocking. "Kurt Busiek called me to do something like Trinity, and the timing was right. Marvel didn't really have a project that played to my strengths at that time. They loved me; they wanted me to stay, but I felt like it was time."
From the first issue, fans could tell that Mark was delivering his own take on DC's strongest properties - Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman - with the Dark Knight in particular, whom he had penciled in a crossover with Spider-Man back in 1997. "I just change as an artist," he digresses. "I'm going at him now more like it's my character. Back then, in the crossover thing, I didn't feel like I had any right or bones to change him at all. But now, it's just a little more tweaking." Further, he offers his viewpoint on how to garb these characters in their civilian identities, such as in a scene between Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent. "In the first issue, Bruce Wayne is shown in a pullover shirt, kind of relaxed. He's a rich guy, out on the dock; he's not gonna wear a suit. I dress characters as how I think - I don't know it's like acting! That's how I approach it."
Being a man who has seen his share of aspiring artists come up to his table, Bagley offers this criticism. "Study the form; study how to do storytelling, study like how the greats have done it before: Gil Kane, John Romita, and those guys, John Buscema and Jack Kirby. Study how to tell a visual story. Most guys today don't know how to draw a visual story; they just draw a pretty picture. [And what] really makes me mad is when I meet fans, someone who wants to be a comic book artist, and they come to me with different sized pages and not the right materials. They haven't invested time to learn the tools. To get any job you need to do that. [When I was learning] I just immersed myself. It's like anything; you're not going to be a good golfer if you don't immerse yourself in golf. You're not going to be a professional painter if you don't [immerse yourself in art]."
This interview is Copyright © 2008 by Steven Younis. It is not to be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the author.
IntroductionThe Superman Homepage has had the pleasure of interviewing various Superman Comic Book creative people about their work.
Question and Answer Interviews:
- Interview with writer Marv Wolfman about Man and Superman: The Deluxe Edition (November 2019)
- Interview with artist Claudio Castellini about Man and Superman: The Deluxe Edition (November 2019)
- Interview with artist Joe Staton about working on Superman properties over the years (November 2019)
- Interview with Christopher Priest about the Superman vs. Deathstroke story in Deathstroke #8 (November 2016)
- Interview with Sterling Gates about the 'Adventures of Supergirl' digital-first comic book series (January 2016)
- Interview with J. Michael Straczynski about Superman: Earth One - Vol. 3 - Writer J. Michael Straczynski talks to us about the third volume in the Superman: Earth One graphic novel series (February 2015)
- Interview with Jim Krueger - Writer Jim Krueger talks to us about his The Dark Lantern story in the Adventures of Superman comic book title (November 2013)
- Smallville: Season 11 Interview with Bryan Q. Miller - Writer Bryan Q. Miller talks to us about his work on the Smallville: Season 11 comic book title (October 2012)
- Supergirl Interview with Mahmud Asrar - Artist Mahmud Asrar talks to us about his work on the monthly Supergirl comic book title (July 2012)
- Superman/Batman Interview with Joshua Hale Fialkov - Joshua Hale Fialkov answers our questions about The Secret 3-part story in Superman/Batman #85-87 (July 2011)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates - Sterling Gates answers our questions about where Supergirl is headed post War of the Supermen (June 2010)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates & Jamal Igle - Adam Dechanel chats with the Supergirl comic book team about the Maid of Might (March 2010)
- Behind the Scenes of the Super Friends - Four part indepth look at the Super Friends comic book title with artists J. Bone and Stewart McKenny (February 2010)
- Interview with Landry Q Walker and Eric Jones - The writer and artist discuss Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade (May 2009)
- Interview with Elliot S! Maggin - Legendary Superman writer and novelist discusses his career (January 2009)
- Interview with J. Bone - Artist discusses Super Friends comic book (November 2008)
- Interview with Mark Bagley (September 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #18 (September 2008)
- Interview with Jake Black (May 2008)
- Interview with Cary Bates (June 2008)
- Interview with Jack Briglio - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #14 (May 2008)
- Interview with Ken Pontac - Writer discusses Justice League Unlimited #44 (May 2008)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #13 (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #11 (February 2008)
- Interview with Fabian Nicieza - Writer on Superman comic books (June 2007)
- Interview with Danny Fingeroth - Writer of the book Superman on the Couch (May 2007)
- Interview with Jesse McCann - Writer on the Krypto The Superdog comic books (December 2006)
- Interview with Matt Haley - Artist on the Superman Returns comic book movie adaptation (November 2006)
- Interview with Ethan Van Sciver - Artist on Superman/Batman (September 2006)
- Interview with Mark Verheiden on taking over the writing duties on Superman/Batman (April 2006)
- Interview with Matt Idelson on taking over as Superman group editor (March 2006)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb on Sam and Superman/Batman #26 (February 2006)
- Interview with Roger Stern (December 2005)
- Interview with Marv Wolfman (November 2005)
- Interview with Gail Simone (May 2005)
- Interview with Greg Rucka (April 2005)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (January 2005)
- Interview with Glenn Whitmore (November 2004)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (September 2004)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (September 2004)
- Interview with Ron Garney (September 2004)
- Interview with Greg Rucka and Matthew Clark (May 2004)
- Interview with Ed McGuinness (March 2004)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (March 2004)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Superman: Red Son] (March 2003)
- Interview with Min S. Ku (September 2001)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (May 2001)
- Interview with Joe Casey (April 2001)
- Interview with Mike S. Miller (September 2000)
- Interview with Denis Rodier (August 2000)
- Interview with Grant Morrison (December 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 2] (November 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 1] (April 1999)
- Superman vs. Terminator - A Chat with Fight Promoter Alan Grant. (January 2000)
- Superman: The Dailies (1939-1940) Graphic Novel Review.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 1) - Superman is reborn... again.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 2) - Eddie Barganza on taking the character in a new direction.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 3) - Jeph Loeb discusses writing the Man of Steel.
- Lex Luthor For President - Forget Superman. An updated Luthor's new enemies are Gore and Bush.
- Superman: Last Son of Earth - Steve Gerbern Interview - The writer discusses flip-flopping the Man of Steel's origin. (August 2000)
Krypton Club Interviews:
When Lois & Clark started production in 1993, there was an obvious relationship between the comic book people and the Hollywood people.
A trade paperback Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, was published, with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher on the cover. It included reprints of comic book stories that were the inspiration for Lois & Clark, helping to define the characters. Comic's included are: The Story of the Century (Man of Steel miniseries #2), Tears for Titano (Superman Annual #1), Metropolis - 900 mi (in SUP #9), The Name Game (SUP #11), Lois Lane (in ACT #600), Headhunter (AOS #445), Homeless for the Holidays (AOS #462), The Limits of Power (AOS #466), and Survival (ACT #665).
A number of comic book writers and artists had roles as extras in the episode I'm Looking Through You (Season one, episode 4). Their presence was immortilized in the Sky Trading Card #34.
Craig Byrne, president of the online Lois & Clark fanclub The Krypton Club, carried out a series of interviews with comic book writers. The interviews are reprinted with permission of the Krypton Club.
- Interview with Roger Stern (June 1995)
- Interview with John Byrne (June 1995)
- Interview with Mike Carlin (July 1995)