Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Nicest Guy in Comics

Don't let Mark Bagley fool you--he may try to sound gruff, but he can't pull it off. He's just too darn nice!

Every year at Free Comic Book Day, Mark has generously spent most of the day at Dr. No's, signing comics and doing no-charge sketches for fans and newcomers alike. You may not know this, but at most conventions, a sketch from a major-name talent like Mark will cost from $25 to $75--but Mark has never asked anyone to pay him a cent for these in-store sketches. Even when fans come up with unusual requests--such as Green Arrow, Charlie Brown, or Brian Reed (all-around good guy and amazingly talented writer of Ms. Marvel, New Avengers: Illuminati, and upcoming projects at Image and Marvel about which you'll be hearing more soon)--Mark does his artistic magic, all the while chatting with fans and entertaining the audience.

Yesterday, Mark was accompanied by his daughter Angie (hard to believe that I've known Mark since before there was an Angie!) and his granddaughter. Yep, Mark's a grand-dad--and he's pretty proud of it!

Readers of Ultimate Spider-Man know that Mark and writer Brian Bendis have set a record on that title; they have now produced more consecutive issues of a Marvel superhero title by the same creative team than any other writer/artist combo in history. You may not have known, though, that Mark is wrapping up his run on USM with #110 (well, actually, halfway through #111--he's contributing the first part of the story, leading up to Stuart Immonen's debut as the Guy Who Has To Follow Mark Bagley). It's a real "end of an era" moment for me; Brian and Mark have made USM without a doubt the finest Ultimate title that Marvel publishes, and I don't know that any other creative team can capture the gestalt that these two have established.

Mark will be working with Brian again on Mighty Avengers, taking over as artist for the second story arc. So where will he go next? I don't know, but I definitely want to see it!

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