Back in the early ‘90s, Marvel Comics had an annual swimsuit magazine called Marvel Illustrated, an obvious parody of the famous Sports Illustrated swimsuit special. Every year, Marvel’s top artists would depict its heroes, (but really, mostly the women) in skimpy swimwear.
While it’s been several years since Marvel released a Marvel Illustrated special, something similar is happening just in time for Comic-Con 2015. On Friday, ESPN Magazine’s annual “Body Issue” will feature several Marvel heroes and heroines completely naked.
But this isn’t Playboy, fanboys! The artwork done for ESPN Magazine doesn’t appear to be designed to titillate in the way that Marvel Illustrated was. Both Marvel and ESPN are owned by Disney, so it’s easy to see how this came together.
ESPN has posted an online sketchbook featuring Marvel’s contributions to the Body Issue with commentary from the artists.
“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
“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
The ESPN Magazine Body Issue will be released tomorrow, July 10.
PHOTO CREDIT: ESPN & Marvel