♦ Tripwire’s editor-in-chief JOEL MEADOWS hosted a number of panels at last weekend’s inaugural Portsmouth Comic Con. Here is his panel chat with Frank Quitely…
Frank Quitely is a Scottish comic artist whose career began back in 1990 on the underground comic Electric Soup. His real name is Vincent Deighan but his nickname has stuck since his debut. Electric Soup led to the Judge Dredd Megazine where he drew Missionary Man and Shimura. His Megazine work led to him being noticed by Dark Horse and the strip he did for them, Blackheart, got him his first US comics series, Flex Mentallo, a Doom Patrol spin-off. Flex Mentallo was the first of his regular collaborations with acclaimed fellow Scottish comics creator Grant Morrison.
His love of comics comes from reading British comics as a child, he revealed in an interview with Tripwire back in 1995:
“I used to get one comic a week. It was the Beezer and the Beano when I was really young, and the Bullet when I was a little older but I used to read my pals’ comics, like Hotspur, Tiger & Scorcher, Warlord, that sort of thing. I loved Johnny Cougar and I was in the Fireball fanclub.”
He worked again with Morrison on JLA: Earth 2, an original graphic novel, and he then took over as regular artist on Wildstorm’s The Authority with another Scottish writer, Mark Millar. He drew one of the stories for the prestigious Sandman hardcover Endless Nights with Neil Gaiman. In 2003 he collaborated with Morrison once again on Marvel’s New X-Men.
After his run on X-Men, he created a series of Tarot cards with Grant Morrison for singer Robbie Williams’ album Intensive Care in 2005.
He returned to DC at the end of 2004 to work once again with Morrison on the highly acclaimed All-Star Superman, which ran for 12 issues but picked up lots of awards around the world.
Since 2012, he has been the artist on Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy series for Image.
In 2017 his impressively eclectic career was celebrated in an extensive exhibition at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Gallery. He mentioned in an interview for Tripwire this year that this felt very odd to him:
“Kelvingrove was literally my favourite place to go for a family day out. And this is true of a lot of kids in Glasgow, the way that Kelvingrove is laid out, as beautiful Spanish baroque. It’s an amazing looking building from the outside and it’s even more amazing looking on the inside. And when you go in downstairs that’s the museum part because it’s a museum and art gallery. You’ve basically got an Egyptian room that’s got mummies and sarcophaguses, suits of armour and big William Wallace type swords that are eight foot long. They’ve got bees in this glass thing where the bees go in and out. So for kids it’s amazing. And of course they’ve got dinosaurs too. Upstairs is where the art is. Apparently it’s one of the biggest civic collections in Europe. So when I was younger I used to spend most of my time downstairs. When I was an art student too I used to go on a very regular basis and then all through my adult life and my professional life it’s somewhere I would go back to on my own. Usually if I’ve got any other artists coming up I would take them round. If you’re coming through the city, Kelvingrove’s always top of the list. So all my life I’ve been going there and because I’m doing comic art rather than fine art it never occurred to me that I would one day have a single piece there never mind an exhibition.”