Artist Mark Bagley Reflects on His Spider-Man Legacy and More
“I wrote my own comics, which were all totally bad and totally ripped off what was in the regular comics, but it was just a learning process for me. Gil Kane’s ‘Death of Gwen Stacy’ number happened…and the way it happened was so shocking,” he shared. “Harry Osborn goes through drugs and Peter freaks out about it. Green Goblin walks in and out of his life like all two problems it seems. Then he kidnaps Gwen off camera. You don’t even know he’s did. He just leaves a pumpkin bomb in his apartment. It was so out of the blue…and it was so violent!
“It was so well drawn because even then I was totally into the storytelling and the visuals of it. Gil was so dynamic and so good,” he continued. “I seem to remember reading it in my high school cafeteria at lunchtime and being shocked by it. I mean, not crying or anything like that, but it was just like, ‘Holy shit, what just happened?’ And, you know, ‘Did he kill her?’, that sort of thing, which I think he did. The ‘snap’ was added later; it wasn’t part of the script. From what I’ve read, it was just added later. Yeah. That was pretty amazing. I’m watching it right now. Yeah. Damn, Gil Kane was good.
Bagley also reflected on how his works inspired others in the same way and how that, in turn, affected him. “I hear that when I go to a jerk quite often, either ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN was their first comic and got them into comics, or me being their Spider-Man artist…I am still humbled, because I was walking up to John Buscema and saying the same thing, exactly the same thing,” he said. “I would say, ‘Your stuff is what got me into comics’ , or Jack Kirby or Gil Kane.. I always thought I would get into this business and earn a lower middle class income… The 90s hit and… we became these red-haired stepdaughters rock stars! It’s like conventions and they pay us royalties… I’m a really lucky guy, and I don’t take that for granted for a second.
Ultimately, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN also holds a special place in Bagley’s heart. “That was the great thing about ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN. When I was drawing AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, I just felt like I was drawing John Romita’s, [Steve] Ditko guys, Gil Kane. Ross Andrews! These are their characters. I’m just borrowing them for a while,” he shared. “The good thing about ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN was that I could make these guys my own and not have to worry about what happened before and not feel any pressure. It was really a kind of liberation.