Frank Quitely: 'The majority of changes I've seen over 30 years of working in comics have been absolutely positive'
- Lynsey May
- 15 August 2018
Speaking to us from his studio space in Glasgow, Frank Quitely fills us in on his upcoming appearance at Edinburgh International Book Festival and a few highlights of is 30-year career
The internationally renowned Frank Quietly is a pseudonym – or perhaps alter ego – for Glasgow artist Vincent Deighan. Comics have changed a lot since the artist, known for his work on Batman, Superman, X-Men and recently, Jupiter's Legacy with fellow Glaswegian creator Mark Millar (coming to our screens via Netflix in 2021), first got started 30-years-ago. Happily, he says 'the majority of changes I've seen over 30 years of working in comics have been absolutely positive'.
In a practical sense, he's seen computers go from barely there to something that changed the way comic work is drawn, lettered, coloured and delivered. Now it's even changing the way work is published. For example, self publishing used to be a bit on an under the counter kind of thing and now 'self publishing is one of the main things people tend to aim for. It used to be you self published so you could do what you wanted but there wasn't much money in it or you worked on licensed characters to make you trade and then if you were lucky you moved on to what you wanted.' Now, largely thanks to how easy it is to create and share work digitally, people are much more likely to start out with self publishing.
'Another big change is the gender balance in comics,' he says. 'When I started out, there were very, very few women working in creating comics. Their women who were working in comics tended to be working in editorial roles, which was great, I worked with a bunch of female editors particularly at Vertigo… Nowadays, there are even more women working in editorial but there are at a lot more found doing the writing, colouring lettering and drawing.'
He's also noticed there are far more women attending comic conventions, which have changed a lot over the years too and become about a lot more than comics themselves. As well as heading to Boston Comic Con this summer, Quitely will be at the Edinburgh International Book Festival with his new book from BHP Comics, Frank Quietly: Drawings + Sketches. The book came about after his 2017 exhibition at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, The Art of Comics, curated by Martin Craig.