Artist Mark Bagley is lending his hand to Marvel's upcoming seven-issue Heroes Reborn event - in which machinations by the Phoenix Force create an alternate reality where the Avengers team never existed and were supplanted by the Squadron Supreme, Marvel's Justice League analogs.
The main series is written by Jason Aaron and the lead artist is Ed McGuinness. Bagley will draw trading card variant covers in May featuring members of the Squadron Supreme.
"Featuring all the major players of this upcoming saga including Hyperion, Doctor Spectrum, Whizzer, and Blade, this extraordinary collection of covers will allow fans to further immerse themselves in the new world of Heroes Reborn with cover designs modeled as '90s style trading cards," reads Marvel's announcement. "A series of 9 covers, the Heroes Reborn Trading Card Variant Covers will connect to form one epic image."
These nine variant covers will be spread out over what Newsarama can now confirm are all seven issues of the main series. The first issue will get two of the nine variant covers, with the remaining six issues each getting one. The ninth variant will accompany an as-yet-unannounced additional title connected to Heroes Reborn.
Bagley's artwork will also be featured on actual trading cards, with the cards available in packs at participating comic book shops beginning May 5 along with Heroes Reborn #1.
The variants appear to be drawn in the specific style of 1993 Marvel Universe trading cards from Skybox. Cards in that series were organized in blocks of nine that could be arranged in a card binder to show a larger image when places in the right order.
The borders, which are essentially the same as the borders on the covers, were intended as guide marks to show the correct order in which to arrange them and were color-coded so you knew which sets of nine cards went with which, usually along the lines of which franchise the characters on the cards were from.
"Man, this was fun! I got to draw a bunch of characters for the first time, which doesn't happen very often after all these years of drawing comics," Bagley says in the announcement. "I was just a kid comics fan when the Squadron was created, and I remember loving John and Sal Buscema's art at the time. Even then, I aspired to do what they were doing, so it was a thrill doing this, and I'm proud to have been offered the opportunity."
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