Fantastic Figures

Fantastic Figures: Franklin & Valeria

Artist Mark Bagley explains how he brings the extraordinary offspring of the Fantastic Four to life!

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Fantastic Four #2 preview pencils by Mark Bagley

By Jim Beard

After Franklin Richards’s birth in the classic FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #6, the Fantastic Four transformed from one of the greatest super teams in comics to the premiere super hero family. Later, the appearance of Franklin’s baby sister Valeria in the series further cemented the quartet’s unique position as a group of characters who’d go anywhere and dare anything for the love and safety of their children.

For the all-new FANTASTIC FOUR series, artist Mark Bagley’s the man with the greatest gig on Earth: drawing the entire First Family of super heroes, kids included.

“I love drawing kids,” he says, “Could be because I'm a grandpa. The older I get the more entrancing I find children’s innocence and life is just fun to draw.”

Both of the Richards’s children sport distinctive looks, yet both stand as chips off the old block. Bagley’s taken that all into consideration as he prepares to draw Franklin and Valeria on their newest adventures in FANTASTIC FOUR.

Fantastic Four #2 preview pencils by Mark Bagley

“Franklin is older, so I draw him taller and leaner,” he notes. “Valeria is three so I try and draw her in that sorta soft, round half-formed figure that kids that age have. My grandkids are just a bit older, and they make great visual aids for me.

“Overall though, I try not to use photo-reference for kids. I'd rather be a bit more cartoony—it keeps the life in them.”

In addition to The Fantastic Four and their progeny, the artist will also depict another facet of the new series which may become something of a character in its own right: the ship that will transport the team—kids included—across time and space on their upcoming “family vacation.”

Though the “innocence and brightness” of Franklin and Valeria came more easily to Bagley, their ride proved more of an artistic challenge:

“I don't think I design vehicles well so it took forever to come up with a design I liked [for the ship]. I'm still tweaking it a bit.”

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