Just wanted to share a few amazing Frank Quitely images. He’s one of my favorite artists, partly because he works with Grant Morrison so much, but also because, well, I think you’ll be able to tell why from this Daredevil he drew:
How fantastically dynamic. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud discusses how a single panel, like the one above, can show both one moment in time and have a narrative. The drawing originally appeared in Daredevil 65 as a standalone piece of art. It wasn’t part of the issue, just a piece of eye candy by Quitely (along with other artists’ work), so there’s no story to go with this. Just a Daredevil vs. ninja smackdown. But it does have a story. Let me amateurishly draw in a few gutters:
Suddenly we’re not just looking at one moment in time, we’re seeing a story. Daredevil versus a sneak of ninjas, swords flying. We have three different things going on. At the top, two ninjas are prepared, ready, posed, jumping into the fray. In the middle, Daredevil is ably dispatching a few of their friends. And in the bottom, the ones Daredevil has already defeated, their weapons in freefall below them. All in one image. This is visual storytelling.
The piece also makes homage to Frank Miller, who famously wrote Daredevil in the 80s and more or less created the treatment of the character as a ninja. Compare the composition to this iconic drawing by Miller from 300 (along with its movie version):
Birds of Prey
Just for fun, Quitely’s cover to Birds of Prey 125:
All Star Superman
And to show some mood, and not just action, All Star Super man 1:
This cover, drawn by Quitely, came from an idea Morrison had for his never-realized Superman 2000 collaboration with Mark Millar, Tom Peyer, and Mark Waid (which Tim Callahan and Chad Nevett covered extensively last year). Morrison met a fan dressed as Superman in the middle of the night outside of a hotel and had a long conversation with him, in character. Superman.nu covers the meeting, about which Morrison says:
The thing that really hit me, wasn’t so much what Superman was saying as how he was sitting. He was perched on a bollard with one knee drawn up, chin resting on his arms. He looked totally relaxed… and I suddenly realized this was how Superman would sit. He wouldn’t puff out his chest or posture heroically, he would be totally chilled. If nothing can hurt you, you can afford to be cool. A man like Superman would never have to tense against the cold; never have to flinch in the face of a blow. He would be completely laid back, un-tense. With this image of Superman relaxing on a cloud looking out for us all in my head, I rushed back to my hotel room and filled dozens of pages of my notebook with notes and drawings.
Look again at how Quitely draws this scene. See how relaxed Superman is as he watches over Metropolis. Now look at how much depth is in that picture. It’s easy to focus just on Superman, but there’s a fully-imagined city below those clouds. You can see The Daily Planet just peaking up by Superman’s boots, with Centennial Park just beyond. The plane of clouds Superman is sitting on is hundreds of feet up, where it’s calm. Quitely captures the scope of the entire world there, floating hundreds in the sky. The city under those clouds isn’t just background filler, it’s the real focus of the image.