ESPN The Magazine presents Marvel Comics’ pantheon of heroes in a way they have never been seen before – in a special insert inside the magazine’s annual Body Issue on newsstands Friday, July 10th. The custom edition, entitled The Body Issue: Super Heroes Edition will feature Iron Man, She-Hulk, Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Medusa, Hulk, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage.
ESPN.com will also offer fans an exclusive digital sketch book featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of these powerful images. The exclusive digital sketch book will show how ESPN & Marvel Comics, along with some of the premier artistic talents in the world, worked collaboratively honoring and illustrating the male and female form through detailed anatomical drawings. This exclusive online gallery provides readers a behind-the-scenes look of how these unique concepts, designs, and masterful illustrations came together to produce this one of a kind Body Issue insert.
Every day, all over the world, Marvel’s top comic book artists flex their creative muscles to illustrate the world’s mightiest Super Heroes. In the spirit of ESPN The Magazine’s visual celebration of athleticism, dedication and strength, a mix of those same artists took to their drawing boards to craft bold images of Marvel’s characters like never before. From the ferocious and powerful Hulk to the brawny but diminutive Ant-Man, the results represent a partnership—not only between sister companies ESPN and Marvel but between physical power and sculpted beauty.
“For a comic book artist drawing the human anatomy is an everyday job,” says Marvel Comics artist Sara Pichelli. “But here it was matter of celebrating the maximum expression of human muscles and shapes. Creating believable, powerful, and at the same time harmonic bodies is always a challenge, that’s why I wanted to be part of this.”
“While The Body Issue itself celebrates the unique characteristics of each athlete’s physique, we thought it made perfect sense to extend this theme to these Marvel characters,” says ESPN The Magazine Deputy Editor Otto Strong.
“When comic book artists imagine the physical ideal, they have to start somewhere,” says Editor In Chief Axel Alonso. “And let’s face it, professional athletes, whose bodies are fine-tuned instruments, are the closest thing to real-life Super Heroes. Marvel’s Body Issue insert is a celebration of the most iconic Super Heroes in the world and the athletes that inspired them.”
In their own words, illustrators describe their experience creating such characters for The Body Issue: Super Heroes Edition:
“My goal is to make super heroes more human. We look to see ourselves in many masked vigilantes. Not only with Daredevil, but many characters I draw are based on real people. —Alex Maleev
“I work to combine correct proportions and powerful muscle shapes with a commonly accepted idea of beauty.” —Sara Pichelli
“Women are more delicate in muscle mass definition, so the secret is to not define each muscle too much.” —Emanuela Lupacchino
“I tend to gravitate toward athletes when it comes to getting a reference for my artwork. Particularly MMA fighters, who have a more functional physique.” —Leinil Francis Yu
“She’s a character of power, so I keep her upright: shoulders back, chest out—just a very commanding presence.” —Frank Cho
“I do tons of reference. I try to get a variety of artists from different time periods to see how different people represented the character. —Russell Dauterman
“Drawing super heroes? Well, they have to be perfect. They are like modern gods.” —Mike Deodato
“When I’m illustrating such dynamic figures, background explosions help sell the impact the character is having on the environment around him. The toughest part is trying to show the kinetic energy in a static image.” —Jim Cheung
“I always try to have the musculature of something that could possibly exist. Even though everything looks extremely exaggerated, I still want him to look like he can move and be functional.” —Greg Land