Five Quitelys

Like many of you, I look up to a lot of artists and always see their work as something not just to be admired but studied as well.  Working in the sequential medium, I find that single images that are able to deliver story are of course given a premium.  And this is what my love for Frank Quitely’s art stems from.  He’s got quite an impressive body of work and I’ve probably missed a handful of his earlier stuff, but below is a selection of my favorite images by him, taken from the material that I’ve been lucky enough to read.

WE3 #1; “Bullet storm”

In the opening of sequence of this mini-series, we are treated to this absolutely stunning image of a hail of bullets eviscerating a human body.  I remember seeing this image for the first time and just dropping my jaw.  The shot is also saved from being too cluttered simply because the artistic decision was made to leave out any trace of background.

All-Star Superman #6; “A boy and his dog”

In this flashback issue, we visit a younger Superman who happens to still have a super-powered dog.  This image manages to capture a genuine sense of playfulness and wonder.  Anyone who has ever run around with a pet dog knows how satisfying it can be.  A playground doesn’t get much grander than a crater on the moon.

American Virgin #1 (cover)

American Virgin was a relatively short-lived series from DC’s Vertigo imprint.  It told the story of a teenage televangelist on a quest to understand the secrets of sexuality and how it related (or conflicted) with his religious beliefs.  I feel this single image that Quitely did captures the spirit of the book,  as well as the feeling the main character had of being swallowed in a living subculture that was as ugly as it was beautiful.  I dare anyone to find a comic cover that’s about 75% taste buds.

All-Star Superman #11; ” POV”

This is a pretty small panel in the masterwork that is All-Star Superman.  It’s a favorite of mine for two reasons:  First because my answer for what superpower I’d want, ever since I was a child, was flight — and this first-person point of view is what I imagine flying over a city would look like.  And second, because this shot was selected with the story in mind.  This panel tells us that Superman is flying to the Daily Planet without having to show us his face or how he is dressed.  This has purpose within the context of the story, but I’ll leave that detail out for those of you who haven’t yet read the book.

You should really be ashamed of yourselves though.

Just sayin’.

And of course.  Something I like to call “Cat Slices of Time” from WE3 #2.

WE3 was such a great book in the sense that it had so many innovative storytelling techniques.  And with the main characters being animals, the great art was never obstructed by excessive dialogue.  This is my favorite sequence in the entire series because it has really intelligent action choreography at the same time using the panel design to tell you that it’s all happening extremely fast.

Obviously, the guy is pretty fucking awesome.  The only real drawback is that he’s not quite as prolific as I often wish he was, but at least it means that whenever he puts something out, it’s special.