Comic Book Coffee, number 118: Spider-Man: Life Story #2

Comic Book Coffee, number 118: Spider-Man: Life Story #2, penciled by Mark Bagley, inked by Andrew Hennessy, written by Chip Zdarsky, lettered by Travis Lanham, and colored by Frank D’Armata, published by Marvel Comics in June 2019.

The premise of the six issue Life Story miniseries was simple: What if Peter Parker became Spider-Man in 1962… and then everyone aged in real time? This allowed writer Chip Zdarsky to reexamine Peter, his supporting cast, his rogues gallery, and the Marvel universe as a whole via the spectrum of this fascinating alternate universe.

In this page from issue #2, it is 1977 and a reformed Doctor Octopus has joined Peter Parker and Reed Richards as a scientist at the Future Foundation. Much as he did on the cover to Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15, Doc Ock is utilizing is tentacles to handle a cup of coffee, in this case passing one to Peter, who in this reality has become his friend & colleague.

Mark Bagley was the winner of the penciling contest in the high-profile Marvel Try-Out Book published in 1983. This led to Bagley’s first professional assignments, penciling Nightmask for Marvel’s New Universe imprint in 1987 and the toy tie-in book Visionaries in 1988. Bagley’s first go at penciling Spider-Man was in Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #8, published in 1988.

After working on a variety of assignments for Marvel, in 1990 Bagley was paired with writer Fabian Nicieza on New Warriors. The combination of Nicieza’s writing and Bagley’s penciling made New Warriors a hit. Bagley stayed on New Warriors through issue #25.

Around this time, Bagley became the regular penciler of Amazing Spider-Man with issue #351 in 1991 and remained on the series until #415 in 1996. Following this Bagley joined writer Kurt Busiek on Thunderbolts in 1997, with the two of them shocking the comic reading world by revealing that this brand-new team of super-heroes was secretly the villainous Masters of Evil. Bagley was the penciler on Thunderbolts for four years.

Bagley is now one of the most iconic and prolific Spider-Man artists, having penciled over one hundred consecutive issues of Ultimate Spider-Man between 2000 and 2007. Given his lengthy association with Spider-Man on Amazing and Ultimate, it was natural that Bagley would be asked to pencil Spider-Man: Life Story, a job he did with his usual exemplary skill.

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