Posted October 5, 2014 by Julius Sambo in Comics

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Frank Quitely and the Case of the Infinite Curvy Lines

Artist Spotlight is a weekly Flipgeeks Feature showcasing the works of established and/or budding comic book creators involved in the art department, such as pencillers, inkers, colourists, and/or cover artists. Every week, we will present a gallery of some of their best creations, along with some recommendations as to where you’d be able to find their work. 

Frank Quitely

My love for Frank Quitely‘s work is an incidental occurrence brought about by my immense admiration for Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman. It’s that uncanny attachment to something that you have grown to love, and now you want nothing but more of that same thing you fell for. After All Star Superman, it was an exciting descent down the Morrison-Quitely rabbit hole.

Now before I go start coughing up random niceties and praise for All Star Superman and begin castigating everyone who haven’t read it or who did but hated it, let’s move on to the our main man, Frank Quitely. Most(more?) popularly known for his collaborations with fellow English-man Grant Morrison, the inimitable duo has worked on a number of critically acclaimed projects with DC-Vertigo such as Flex Mentallo, All-Star Superman, Batman and Robin, and We3; as well as with their work on Marvel for All New X-Men. However, there’s more to Quitely than his amazing collabs with Morrison, having worked alongside writer Mark Millar for The Authority and their (currently very, very delayed) creator-owned work from Image, Jupiter’s Legacy.

On His Art
Frank Quitely’s art is particularly unique. To some, it could be quite polarizing, dissuading from the norm and familiar feel that dominates most comic books. However, this is what sets him apart. His work does not feel like a butchered derivative of someone else’s work, a breath of fresh air in the stale, all too familiar looking prairie of comic book art. It’s the daunting realism he paints with his character’s faces, every scrunched up sleeve, every wrinkle and every fold, and every squiggly line that sets him apart.

There’s also a sense of dynamism in his art, especially in the way he depicts motion. There is fluidity in every panel, with each one cascading seamlessly to the next.
Motion in Quitely's work
Motion Again
WE3 02 Lizzy Empire pg07-08

If there’s any indication that one is a great artist, it is when his work can stand on its own with little to know dialogue involved. It is when the art becomes the main driver of the story, and that is exactly what Frank Quitely is able to evoke. Perhaps this is best exemplified by his work in We3, a story involving mechanically-enhanced animals filled with bloodlust and love.  With most scenes involving only the titular “We3”, genetically and mechanically enhanced animals who can only speak using fragmented semi-coherent sentences, it is Quitely’s art that fuels this work. To top it all off, he’s envisioining a Grant Morrison script, which is guaranteed to be a tough feat.

Again, with most works of art, we must let them speak for themselves. Check out a curated collection of Frank Quitely’s art below:

Recommended Reading:
All Star Supes
All Star Superman

Being Morrison and Quitely’s definitive Superman story, this book is a must-read for just about everyone. Quitely is able to depict Morrison’s vision of Superman being this carefree looking guy who seems happy and content, feeling no worry as nothing can hurt him rather perfectly.


We3 follows the journey of three mechanically enhanced animals, a rabbit, a cat, and a dog, and their pursuit for freedom and belongingness. Another fantastic Morrison-Quitely collab, We3 has the perfect mix of needless violence, cuddly creatures, sadness, and that teeny tiny glimmer of hope. In here, Quitely isn’t confined to depicting people in capes and in tights and he proves that comic books can also be mainly driven by the art.


Jupiter’s Legacy
In the great Millar wants more money catastrophe of 2000-something, every book he wrote felt like a glorified movie script, an instant storyboard any director can gallivant upon. However, in the recent Millarworld re-launch of sorts, Millar delivered his latest attempt at superhero deconstruction in the form of Jupiter’s Legacy with Frank Quitely on art duties. While Millar’s story has been quite enjoyable and engaging at times (or tedious, to those who are tired of these attempts at being the next Watchmen or something), it is Quitely’s work that is the main star of the work.


Flex Mentallo
Considered as Quitely’s big break into American comics, Flex Mentallo is a high-concept meta-narrative penned by Grant Morrison. Its riveting concept and merry band of colourful and high-strung characters are well exemplified by Quitely’s pencils, opening him to more opportunities in the more mainstream comic book alley.

Julius Sambo

Julius spends his free time reading comic books, listening to audio books, watching countless cancelled TV shows, and pretending that he's some kind of sci-fi loving guy (He hasn't seen Star Wars! Gasp!). He likes to create things, loves 90% of baked products, he hates Math, and his one dream is to go to space.