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Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Quite Exclusive -- The Pulse is posting a DC press release to the effect that artist Frank Quitely is now exclusive to DC for the next two years.

Quitely -- not his real name, which I didn't believe when Barry Windsor-Smith first told me that back in the late 20th Century -- but anyway, the guy is definitely one of my favourite artists, having provided exquisite illustration for JLA: Earth 2 with writer Grant Morrison. That puts me in mind of the best part of this "exclusive" business, that Quitely will more than likely be teamed with quality writers like Morrison on All-Star Superman. Their creative partnership on the afore-mentioned Earth 2, as well as Flex Mentallo, We3 and the early part of Grant Morrison's New X-Men resulted in some of the best-looking and most entertaining superhero stuff of the past couple of decades, so I am hoping we see more than the five or six issues that a two-year span of "Quitely Time" unfortunately implies.

Yes, the guy seems to have trouble keeping a schedule. Ultimately, though, I would rather DC give him the time to do what he does best. The latter Quitely stuff on Grant Morrison's New X-Men "with Avalon Studios" seemed, at best, digitally inked from layouts, and at worst, very probably ghost-pencilled by others working in the Quitely style. And the thing of it is, really, only Quitely can draw in the Quitely style.

His style always seems to draw both praise and detractors, but I am firmly in agreement with Warren Ellis when he says "People dislike [Quitely's] art because he draws people as they are, not as we want them to be."

In my mind, Quitely is in a special set of artists with Bryan Hitch and Tom Raney, the trio comprising the very best artists to work on Stormwatch and The Authority, the first title morphing into the latter in the end days of the 20th century. Quitely and Hitch always seem to get partnered with good writers, while poor Tom Raney, a truly great superhero artist, has usually been saddled with dreck-peddlers on disposable crap like Mutant X and The Outsiders (where they couldn't even bother to pay an inker to make his art look right), or this week's quickly-to-be-forgotten What If issue about Magneto and the X-Men.

So I'm hopeful the Quitely exclusive will result in some nice-looking, well-written books, and a bit fearful of what might be done to get more than a handful of issues out with Quitely's name on them in that two-year period. Here's to hoping that instead of digital tricks and ghost artists, Quitely has somehow disciplined himself to draw more than three or four issues a year. Because when he's doing his best -- check out his first few Authority issues with Mark Millar, for example -- no one can draw superhero books better.


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