Filed under: Interviews | Tags: Frank Quitely, Grant Morrison, Jupiter's Child, Mark Millar, Pax-Americana, Red Hot Comics, Robert Crumb
At the tail end of last year we were lucky enough to catch up with Frank Quitely during a signing at Comics Anonymous’s comic book shop of choice – Red Hot Comics. The store was celebrating it’s 20th anniversary, so what better way than to invite the comic artist megastar Mr Quitely and local comic creators Metaphrog. Frank was, as always, a pleasure to talk. We asked about all of his upcoming projects – here’s what he had to say:
So, What have you been up to – have you been busy lately?
(Pauses) Yes… yes! I’m working with Grant just now on one of his multiversity books, called Pax Americana, which has the Charlton characters. After that I’m going to be working with Mark Millar, on a creator owned superhero thing for Image, and I’ve written a bunch of short stories that I want to draw as well.
And what about your project with Mark Millar?
I know almost nothing about it yet – I told him I wanted something really short and simple with a very small cast and no superheroes – and I’ve got either a 12 or a 9 issue Superhero-Fest, “Lord of the Rings for Superheroes” he said, or “Star Wars for Superheroes”.
And when will you start that?
I think I’ll be starting that in Spring, because I’ll be finished with Pax Americana by then.
Can you tell us a bit about your short stories?
I wrote a bunch of short stories, just short comic stories I wanted to draw. What most of them had in common was that they had a domestic setting. So I’ve decided to put them all into flats, like a tenement block, and have the stairwell as the framing sequence. It’s a number of different genres and at the moment I’ve put together the first half dozen stories because they fitted together in some ways. That’s like 40+ pages and because I’m trying to do that in my spare time it’s been sitting at the thumbnail stages for about 6 months. The first one that will see print is a silent short with a bunch of Argentinian artists, a silent anthology. It’s a really linear story about an assassination.
With these be self-published or by one of the big publishers?
I don’t know yet, we decided when we started talking about it earlier this year (I met these Argentinian guys at a convention I was at) we decided then that we’d do the work first, and then once it’s finished we’d decided what to do. We could completely self publish, or we might find a publisher – they all work for Marvel and DC, so amongst us all we shouldn’t have trouble getting it published. We’re also thinking about releasing it digitally. I’d been talking to people about doing some digital stuff as well – like purely digital, but that’s just at the early stages.
You had something to do with Blank Slate Book’s Nelson recently – can you tell us a bit about that?
I was too busy to get involved when they were collecting it the first time round, and they’ve just brought out a hardcover edition, so I just did a pin-up for that – funnily enough that was all digital.
Is there anything you’ve read recently that you’ve enjoyed?
I actually read the Winter Men last week – not that it’s very new, but it’s new to me! Funnily enough I’ll need to finish reading Crumb, I just got the Comic Journal and about half of it is about Genesis. I started reading it when I bought it, which was ages ago, and got about a third of the way in and started reading something different. I bought it for Robert Crumb, but only half of it is Robert Crumb, so half of it is good and the other half is questionable. I thought most of what I like about Robert Crumb was his life and I didn’t realise how much of it is the way he thinks and the way he actually does things – and that’s not what I’m getting from Genesis. In some ways it’s much more of an illustration job – it’s obviously him that’s making up the compositions and it’s a beautiful piece of work, but approaching it as a Robert Crumb fan it’s not as satisfying as the stuff that he writes himself.
So do you think 2012 will be a different output for your work – we won’t be seeing your name under as much DC or Marvel line – it’s going to be elsewhere?
The beginning of 2012 will have Flex Mentallo coming out, Peter’s recolored that. Then I’ll finish Pax Americana in the spring so I don’t imagine that’ll be out until the summer. Hopefully by autumn the first couple of issues of the thing I’m doing with Mark will be out. As for when the self-published stuff will come out, it’s obviously got to go on the back burner while I do the paid for work first – until I become hugely wealthy and I’ll just stop working for big publishers altogether and do my own stupid self-indulgent stuff!
Of course, since the interview we now know that his project with Mark Millar is called Jupiter’s Child – we hope to get some more details on this next time we speak to Frank. As well as all the amazing stuff he has coming out this year, make sure and pick up some of his other work if you haven’t already – including All Star Superman, Batman & Robin, WE3 and New X-Men, all of which are (surprisingly enough) written by Grant Morrison!
Top picture courtesy of Stuart at Red Hot Comics.
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