USM 60-85, USM PS2 game. After wanting to get more Bagley in these, and being behind after leaving town for Christmas, I made the crazy decision that this one would be nothing but Mark Bagley. I combed through the issues it represents and collaged together his drawings of all the characters, and slowly it took the shape of one of my usual drawings. Since I was also covering the in-continuity video game, I had to source Bagley art from other places for those characters. This gonzo gimmick still required me to draw a little, but it’s 98% Bags. Well, Curt Connors and his intern Ben Reilly use a sample of Spider-Man’s blood to make a monster that looks like Carnage, and it kills Gwen, in a truly shocking twist that Bendis later regretted. An increasingly morose and angry Peter does a Freaky Friday with Wolverine (And they beat up the Shocker), helps the Ultimates fight Deathlok, is helped by Dr. Strange when Nightmare takes control of him, and meets the Human Torch for the first time. In the PS2 game, Venom returns, Ultimate versions of Silver Sable and Beetle are introduced, Spider-Man has rematches with Electro, Green Goblin, Shocker, and of course Venom himself, who emerges from the story with the white spider on his chest for… no obvious reason. Then Harry Osborn comes back as a suicidal goblin monster, Peter breaks up with Mary Jane for almost getting herself killed a few times, and Nick Fury decides it’s time for Peter to lose his powers. MJ goes on a date with Mark Raxton, who probably won’t become the Molten Man in this universe, but I don’t remember. Brief encounters with Gladiator, Killer Shrike, Boomerang and Punisher. And then a gang war breaks out, with Hammerhead trying to take over the mob, Kingpin making moves in the shadows, and a big brawl between Moon Knight, Shang-Chi, Iron Fist, Spider-Man, the Enforcers, Elektra, Hammerhead and a whole buncha mob guys. And just when things seem like they’ve worked out ok, Spider-Man’s only friend in the police, Jean De Wolfe (Egregiously misspelled in the Ultimate version), turns out to be working for Kingpin. Gasp! I think my all-Bagley tribute image came out pretty well. I even got his signature in it. I had to do a lot to make it work, such as changing Silver Sable’s costume & hair, adding deep shadow to everyone behind Aunt May because she had it (And it looked cool). Pasting Moon Knight & Montana, Kingpin & Jean DeWolff into the brawl at the top, the rest of which comes from one 2-page splash, so that was handy. Changed Hobgoblin’s arm position and copied it to make another, cobbled Spider-Man together from 3 drawings. Moved, moved and re-moved the tendrils coming off Carnage to keep them out of peoples’ faces, took Nick Fury out of a power suit and put him in a regular suit. Had to ink Cap & Iron Man normally from a fully painted source, added the spider to Venom’s chest. Draw in a bunch of details that weren’t in original panels. The 2 goons fighting under Montana were in an inset panel, and I decided to change their postures so they could be falling down on the floor in the same room as everyone else. Normalize the light sources. Other stuff too. Particularly pleased with my renders of fire and ambient light around the page. I think my Human Torch looks better than the original, even. It was a wholly new kind of challenge. And I thought it was fun, most of the time, and I think it came out pretty good. But I doubt I would do this kinda thing again. I guess I could, only ever with USM. But it’s more fun to actually compose the thing myself. Do I feel ssssssuper good about the best looking drawing in the series not really being my art? Not really! But it was a fun change of pace.