Lethal Protector: A Venom Sketchbook
Art legend Mark Bagley speaks on a return to the sinister symbiote!
Mark Bagley has drawn plenty of characters over the years, but many readers associate him with a certain Wall Crawler. The artist penciled many of Spider-Man’s adventures in the late 80s and early 90s before eventually moving on to team with Brian Michael Bendis on an epic ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN run.
It’s important to remember, though, that he also had a big part in bringing Venom into the spotlight during the character’s prime. Bagley drew the VENOM: LETHAL PROTECTOR limited series in 1993 and also helped introduce the Ultimate version later down the line.
Now the veteran artist finds himself working with writer Mike Costa to have Eddie Brock and his symbiote partner reclaim the “Lethal Protector” title in VENOM #155 on October 4 as he safeguards a group of dino-people and does his best to keep them safe against the likes of Kraven the Hunter! We talked with Bagley about returning to Eddie Brock’s world, working with Costa, and the inherent fun of drawing dino-folks!
Marvel.com: You’re no stranger to the world of Spider-Man, but what kind of challenges does focusing on Venom for this amount of time offer?
Mark Bagley: I really could say, “Same [expletive], different day,” but that is too simple. The process of drawing and storytelling is really the same no matter the subject. But it is always interesting addressing an abstract character like Venom. I’m having fun trying to approach this in new and different ways than I’ve done before.
Marvel.com: Does framing Venom as a hero change how you approach him at all?
Mark Bagley: Even way back in the original LETHAL PROTECTOR [limited] series Eddie/Venom saw himself as a hero. Let’s face it: he is a little nuts. I don’t want to portray Eddie visually as bent, though. I think it’s subtler than that. What I’m hoping comes across is that, 25 years or so later, my drawing and storytelling skills have improved. I think improving is the goal of most artists.
Marvel.com: A lot of people are excited to see your take on this new version of Venom, but how are you handling Eddie Brock? How has he changed given all of his recent experiences?
Mark Bagley: Really not much of a visual change to Brock. I resisted the temptation—easily—to add the mullet I had him sporting back in the original [LETHAL PROTECTOR]. That was a bad choice on my part!
Marvel.com: How fun was it designing dinosaur people and their environs under NYC?
Mark Bagley: What is not fun about drawing dinosaur guys?! Really, I just approach them as doodles. I start the drawing with an idea of the dino-guys’ general size and then just start noodling away. It’s a lot of fun. Often I have a particular species of dino in mind, but most often I just start whacking away.
Marvel.com: This story will find Venom facing off against Kraven the Hunter. How is it balancing the very human and primal Hunter against the symbiote?
Mark Bagley: Venom is violent, dangerous, and a bit unhinged. Kraven is just evil. He is quite a bit of fun to draw because there is no subtleness to him. I mean, check out his pants! In a lot of ways he is more monstrous than Venom.
Marvel.com: How has it been jumping onto this train with Mike Costa who’s been driving since this volume launched?
Mark Bagley: I love Mike’s approach to this arc. It’s really just a fun comic book story. It’s really reminiscent of older comics that were primarily about fantasy and adventure with a good dash of human drama to top it off.
Mike Costa and Mark Bagley team-up to tackle VENOM #155, coming October 4!
The Hype Box
Can’t-miss news and updates from across the Marvel Universe!