Mark Bagley has worked for Marvel Comics and DC Comics on such titles as The Amazing Spider-Man, Thunderbolts, New Warriors, and Ultimate Spider-Man.
In 1983, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter created the Marvel Try-out Book to draw new talent into the comic book industry. The contest involved a deconstructed comic book which contestants could complete and submit to Marvel. The winner would be awarded a professional assignment with Marvel.
At 27 years old, while living in Marietta, Georgia, Bagley entered the contest and won first place for penciling, beating out thousands of other hopefuls. This led to a series of low-profile penciling jobs, including Visionaries, a comic book based on a 1980s toy line, books in New Universe line, and backup stories in Captain America. A majority of Bagley's work during this time was for the first series of Marvel Universe trading cards.
In 1990, Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz created a team of teenage superheroes called the New Warriors. Given the positive fan reaction, Marvel created a new series based on these heroes and assigned Bagley and Fabian Nicieza to the title. Bagley stayed on the title until #25, at which point he left to transition directly onto Amazing Spider-Man.
A couple of years into the New Warriors run, New Warriors editor Danny Fingeroth became responsible for the Spider-Man line of titles. At the same time, Erik Larsen vacated his spot as penciler on Spider-Man's flagship title The Amazing Spider-Man. Fingeroth decided to take a chance on Bagley, who was a relatively inexperienced artist to be assigned to what was arguably Marvel's flagship title. After a rough start, Bagley hit his stride on The Amazing Spider-Man and eventually grew to be considered the definitive Spider-Man artist of the mid-1990s his artwork was used extensively for licensed material, appearing on everything from plates and cups to credit cards.
Bagley also holds the distinction of being the artist on Marvel's first web-based comic book, featuring Spider-Man, which appeared on Marvel's official website.
After working on Spider-Man for several years, Bagley began to feel burnt out. Needing a change, he next collaborated with writer Kurt Busiek on a new team of superheroes, the Thunderbolts. The title enjoyed modest success and though its sales declined over time, the decline was so slow and the fan base was so dedicated that the title continued to be published even after Bagley left the title in 2001 (with issue #50).
Bill Jemas, publisher at Marvel in the year 2000, was looking to relaunch Marvel's primary franchises in a way that would make them accessible to younger readers. Designed as a six-issue mini series, Ultimate Spider-Man would be a title that began the Spider-Man mythos from the beginning set in modern times. Marvel wanted Bagley on the title from the beginning, but, still being burnt out from his earlier run, he resisted.
Eventually though, he (reluctantly) agreed and was assigned Ultimate Spider-Man with writer Brian Michael Bendis. The title was an instant hit and soon turned from a limited series to an ongoing series by Bendis and Bagley. They went on to enjoy the longest continuous run of any creative team on a mainstream Marvel superhero comic, beating the record set by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby with Ultimate Spider-Man #103 (published in December 2006). Bagley eventually left the title after issue #111 was published in July 2007.
Bagley collaborated again with Bendis on the latter's second story arc of Mighty Avengers. That was his last work for Marvel before he became exclusive to DC Comics.
Bagley's long and successful run on Ultimate Spider-Man would earn Bagley recognition in Wizard Magazine's top ten artists of the 00's in Wizard #219. Ranked #2 on the list, article writer Mark Allen Haverty noted of Bagley, no other artist came close to the number of comics Bagley sold (in the 2000's), nor the number of Top 20 comics he was a part of.
In 2008, Bagley signed an exclusive contract with DC Comics. His first assignment as a DC exclusive, the weekly comic Trinity written by Kurt Busiek, completed in mid-2009 and was, as Bagley described it, one of the most exhausting assignments he has ever undertaken.
Bagley's first assignment at DC post-Trinity was four issues of Batman, written by Judd Winick. This was in the post-Battle for the Cowl world, with Dick Grayson having taken over as the Dark Knight. He was only working on the title for four issues and was then succeeded by former Batman artist Tony Daniel.
Following Batman he will next be paired with writer James Robinson on Justice League of America as the new ongoing team following the departure of Dwayne McDuffie.
In 2011, Bagley left DC and returned to Marvel and Ultimate Spider-Man. He reunited with writer Brian Michael Bendis and drew the "Death of Spider-Man" arc in issues #156–160. Bagley and Bendis teamed for a creator-owned series, Brilliant, which was published through Marvel's Icon Comics Imprint. It has similarities to Mark Millar's own Icon comic, Kick-Ass, as it explores the idea of superheroes existing in the real world, however unlike Kick-Ass, the characters have actual super-powers.
Brian Michael Bendis and Bagley worked on Avengers Assemble, an Avengers title produced concurrently with Brilliant. To differentiate between other Avengers titles, Assemble consisted of the roster present in the Avengers film, but set in present Marvel continuity.
As part of the Marvel NOW! initiative, Bagley and writer Matt Fraction relaunched the Fantastic Four series in 2012. Bagley and Mark Waid collaborated on a Hulk series in 2014.
Bagley's art has recently been seen in the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy, All-New X-Men, and the Civil War II tie-in the Fallen.
Mark Bagley will be appearing at Niagara Falls Comic Con Saturday and Sunday only.