Bagley Bags Bizarro "Sports Illustrated" Cover

With DC Comics' latest weekly book "Trinity" launching in two weeks, superstar artist Mark Bagley knows quite a bit about quick turnarounds.

So when "Sports Illustrated" dialed up DC Executive Editor Dan Didio looking for an artist for an upcoming cover, Didio knew who he could call on right away to deliver art faster than a speeding bullet.

Tomorrow's "Sports Illustrated" cover, depicting the fictional happenings of the 2008 Bizarro baseball season, features pencils by Bagley, inks by Karl Story and colors by Alex Sinclair.

Bagley, who, heroically, is scheduled to provide pencils for all 52 issues of "Trinity," told CBR News Tuesday evening, "Dan Didio called me Thursday afternoon asking if I could do the pencils. I asked him what the deadline was and he said inked and colored by Monday. I said something nasty, and agreed to do it. From then I dealt with Mark Chiarello.

"'SI' gave me a paragraph long description of what they needed, and I went to town with some sketches. I had a sketch approved by noon on Friday, and finished the piece Saturday morning.

"Karl Story is local to me, so he agreed to do the inking chores and when he finished doing a great job, he scanned and emailed the art to Mark, who colored it. I'm tired but what a great opportunity."

The cover features Tampa Bay Devils Rays leftfielder Carl Crawford hoisting New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter above his head, as Bizarro watches on.

"Basically, it's been a bizarre baseball season for the American League, with the Yankees in last and the lowly Devil Rays in first place," laughed Bagley, who added that he follows the Atlanta Braves "fairly closely."

Bagley, who called the sports weekly, "the Newsweek of sports magazines," said he is well aware of the "Sports Illustrated" jinx and believes in its Mister Mxyzptlk-like magic.

"It is bad luck to deny a jinx, so yes, I believe," said Bagley.

The jinx is the long-standing and well-documented belief by sports fans and beat writers that once an athlete or team appears on the cover of "Sports Illustrated," bad luck -- be it loss, injury or embarrassment -- will quickly follow.

It's probably a good thing Bagley believes in the jinx what with his own weekly schedule about to become a bit tighter as issues of "Trinity" start rolling out week after week.

"I'm trying not to think of the pressure," said Bagley. "I'm just keeping my focus on what I'm doing. I've really cut back on a lot of social stuff and other parts of what I consider my 'normal' life, but this is part of the commitment of doing this project."

"Trinity" #1 written by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza is set for release June 4.

Updated 8:45 5/21/08 - For those who fear the SI jinx may affect artist Mark Bagley's ouput in some fashion, fear not. Shortly after the cover was revealed, New York Yankee's shortstop Derek Jeter, pictured on the cover, had to leave his game against the Baltimore Orioles in the third inning last night after he was hit on the left wrist by a pitch from Daniel Cabrera. The Yankees lost 12-2.

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