♦2016 is an anniversary for Tripwire. It marks the 24th anniversary of the magazine, which began back in February 1992. So for the rest of February, we shall be representing some of our classic moments over the past 23 years. Tripwire has had an association with Frank Quitely since 1995 and so today’s Flashback February is the second part of an interview we did with Quitely which ran in Tripwire Volume 1 #9 back in May 1995…
JM: Would you say that British comics are still as influential as they used to be? For example, 2000AD used to be the breeding ground for a lot of top names and it doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Do you think that Judge Dredd Megazine is a better publication than AD, more willing to take chances than 2000 AD?
FQ: I don’t know. I haven’t been this side of comics long enough to know. I wouldn’t want to compare the ‘Meg and AD because the Megazine gets sent to me every fortnight and I only occasionally pick up AD, so I would have a pretty unbalanced view. The Meg sometimes gets criticised for the fluctuating quality of its contents, but that’s only to be expected because David Bishop’s prepared to stick his neck out and give newcomers a chance. A lot of the writers and artists he takes on have got potential but haven’t had a chance to cut their teeth, so to speak. And he puts them in there alongside the big names and he should be applauded for that. He’s given me and countless others the chance to break into the mainstream. He’s won the Best Ongoing Publication Award at UKCAC for the last 3 years and deservedly so.
JM: A magazine like Judge Dredd Megazine seems to be more violent than the American comics. It was criticised about a year ago for being excessively violent. Do you have anything to say about that?
FQ: The Megazine ran an ongoing violence debate in the Dreddlines letters pages for months and a fairly wide cross-section of opinion was represented, but what seemed to come across was that no-one really worries that anyone is going to be warped by a comic.
JM: How much of a difference is there between working for US companies and UK ones?
FQ: Erm, it’s a totally different set-up in some respects. I like working for both.
JM: What do you think it is about England and Scotland that produces so many comic creators?
FQ: I don’t know. There are quite a few of us from around Glasgow and Edinburgh, so it seems like there might be an unusually high number of creators from a small area. But look at the number of comic writers and artists from some of our neighbouring European countries. Maybe it’s just that loads of people like writing or drawing and as finding a medium to tell a story goes, comics are easy to put together, cheap to produce and potentially stunning. I don’t know, maybe there’s a comics gene?
JM: You recently started work on the Doom Patrol spin-off, Flex Mentallo, with Grant Morrison. Have you made a conscious effort to draw in a different style when compared with your Missionary Man and Shimura stuff?
FQ: But it does look different. The drawing style hasn’t really changed. I’ve just improved slightly since Missionary Man and I put more thought into the storytelling.
JM: Would you rather work in black and white or colour and why?
FQ: I love working in both. They both have their own rewards.
JM: If someone came up to you who had never seen any of your work and they asked to see something and you could show them the thing that you have drawn which are the most pleased with, what would it be and why?
FQ: I’d show them my pencils for Lobo and Flex Mentallo because that’s the two things I’m working on and I would usually tend to show people my most recent stuff.
Part Three here tomorrow
in case you missed it, here is the first part of the interview