Frank Quitely

Some of you may have already read this in my LiveJournal. Consider it 'recycling'. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Did you hear that?

That was the sound of me revising my opinion of a comic book artist.

The samples of Frank Quitely’s work that I’ve seen from All-Star Superman look quite good. Especially this cover. There’s something about Superman’s face that bugs me but I can’t put my finger on just what yet. I think it’s the jaw-to-rest-of-face ratio but the rest of the cover is outstanding!

There, I said it. I like something Frank Quitely has drawn.

Part of my loathing of his work (not the man, mind, just his art) stems from the craptacular job he did on The Authority when he and Mark Millar took over for Ellis and Hitch. Now, Brian Hitch is a hard act to follow (especially when he’s teamed up with Paul Neary and Laura DePuy) but when Quitely began drawing the members of the Authority they went from attractive, cool-looking, human-shaped people to formorian nightmares with permanently-pursed lips who looked as if they had been hastily assembled out of mashed potatoes.

The first 12 issues of The Authority are some of my favorite comics ever. Hitch’s versions of the characters were, to me, the iconic representations. I don’t expect a new artist to mimic the person he or she is replacing but this was such a drastic change for the worse that I still shudder just thinking about it.

That was several years ago and Quitely has done what real artists do: He has worked on his craft and he has improved.

Woah, mama, has he improved! I wasn’t fond of his work on X-Men (the pursed lips thing again but less with the mashed potatoes) but looking at it more objectively I realize that it was a marked improvement over The Authority.

So, I have been judging an artist’s current work on the basis of some older work I didn’t like.

That was lame.

Annette Benning did a crappy job in The Grifters but she was amazing in American Beauty. Kim Bassinger went from Cool World to L.A. Confidential. Artists who pay attention and who keep working get better. Every now and then I need to be reminded of that.

UPDATE: Dorian and Chuck both assure me that WE3 is really good so I'm gonna check that out. I'll pick up the singles since it doesn't look like a trade is forthcoming.


Anonymous said...

The WE3 trade comes out in June

Vaklam said...

Thanks! I can wait for that.