Frank Quitely

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Frank Quitely
Frank Quitely

Frank Quitely (born January 18, 1968) is the professional pseudonym of Scottish comic book artist Vincent Deighan. The name is a spoonerism of the phrase 'quite frankly'. He was born in Glasgow, where he still lives.


[edit] Biography

An example of Quitely's work on The Greens from Electric Soup.
An example of Quitely's work on The Greens from Electric Soup.

Quitely first worked upon the Scottish underground comics title, Electric Soup, in 1990. He wrote and drew The Greens, a parody of The Broons strip published by D.C Thompson. It is at this point that he adopted the pseudonym of Frank Quitely, as he claims that he didn't want his family to see his work, worried that they may have found it upsetting. Initially Electric Soup was only distributed locally in Glasgow, then it was picked up by John Brown Publishing for widespread national UK distribution.

This brought Quitely's work to the attention of Judge Dredd Megazine editor David Bishop. He was given work on Shimura, written by Robbie Morrison, and Missionary Man, by Gordon Rennie, quickly rising to prominence and being voted among the fans' favourite five artists in an end-of-year survey. By 1994 he had started work in various stories in Paradox Press's series of Big Book Of graphic novels, as well as work for Dark Horse Presents for Dark Horse Comics.

His big break into American comics was Flex Mentallo, a Doom Patrol spin-off written by fellow Glaswegian Grant Morrison for DC Comics' Vertigo imprint, in 1996. Quitely's work proved very popular, and this launched him onto more work for Vertigo. Initially he was put to work on strips for anthology titles such as Weird War Tales, and drew four issues of Jamie Delano's 2020 Visions, as well as various covers for DC. He later drew his first full length graphic novel, Batman: The Scottish Connection, with writer Alan Grant.

The year 2000 saw Quitely and Morrison collaborate again, on JLA:Earth 2. Once again, the graphic novel was met with a hugely positive critical response, and later that year Quitely took over from Bryan Hitch as artist on The Authority, with Mark Millar as writer. This run proved to be highly controversial, and Quitely's art suffered censorship by DC due mainly to the violent content of Millar's stories. In addition, the title was hampered by delays, due in part to Quitely's slow drawing speed and the time he took off to draw the final issue of Morrison's The Invisibles.[1]

New X-Men art by Quitely.
New X-Men art by Quitely.

Quitely abruptly and controversially left The Authority, however, after receiving an offer from Marvel Comics to draw New X-Men, the lure of such a high-profile title and the chance to again team up with Grant Morrison too strong to resist. The pair's first issue saw them dispense with many of the trappings the title was associated with, such as the colourful spandex costumes, and replace them with a more contemporary look and feel. Although provoking an initially hostile response from a section of X-Men fans, the run sold extremely well and brought the title the sort of critical acclaim it had not had for many years. However, Quitely's pace again drew criticism, as a title as high-profile as X-Men could not afford to delay issues while waiting for him to finish, and the three-year run was therefore characterised by the use of many fill-in artists. Despite this, Quitely also managed to find time to illustrate a Neil Gaiman-written story for the hardcover graphic novel, Sandman: Endless Nights.

Since leaving New X-Men, Quitely has drawn the mini series We3 in 2004, again in collaboration with Morrison. More than any other series in his career to date, this book was almost unanimously acclaimed by critics for its art and storytelling,[2] and further cemented Quitely's reputation. He has also written and drawn new installments of The Greens for the Scottish underground comic Northern Lightz, and in 2005 Morrison and Quitely designed a series of tarot cards for Intensive Care, the latest album by popstar Robbie Williams.

In December 2004, Quitely signed to a two-year exclusive contract with DC Comics, where he is currently illustrating All Star Superman. The twelve issue series, yet another collaboration with Morrison, began publication in November 2005, and has once again attracted near-unanimous praise.[3] Meanwhile, he has continued to draw covers for Vertigo, for series including Bite Club, Books of Magick : Life During Wartime and the recent American Virgin.

[edit] Artistic style and criticism

Quitely's pencil work is sometimes "digitally inked" by Jamie Grant (WE3, All-Star Superman), with a darkening of the linework carried out in the digital realm in programs such as Photoshop rather than the more traditional use of actual Indian ink applied directly over the artwork. This technique was used to "ink" some of Quitely's art in his New X-Men run, and in the entirety of the WE3 and All Star Superman miniseries [4] [5] [6] [7].

Quitely employs a distinctively stylised approach to drawing human figures in particular, and from the beginning of his run on New X-Men - his first exposure to a notoriously critical audience, in this case X-Men fans - his work has tended to divide readers and critics. The majority of comics commentators have praised his craftsmanship,[8] particularly the kinetic approach and level of detail brought to more recent work such as WE3 and All Star Superman. However, a number of fans posting on message boards and blogs have expressed their distaste for his stylised figures and perceived "ugly" faces,[9] particularly in his X-Men work. In this latter case, Quitely's defenders tend to cite the enforced "rush" he was placed under while working on X-Men that is said to have affected his work; although detractors are also often critical of his notoriously slow rate of production.

[edit] Selected works

JLA:Earth 2 cover by Quitely.
JLA:Earth 2 cover by Quitely.

[edit] References

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ See the above 3 links to the Barbelith forum where colorist Jamie Grant discusses digitally inking Quitely's art
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Note : the final issue; the series' third and final volume was numbered in reverse order

[edit] External links

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