Whit a stoater! A true global superstar of comic books, the Glasgow artist Frank Quitely (real name Vincent Deighan) is, in real life of course, a humble and unassuming guy. This dynamic exhibition of his work and influences is the most comprehensive one thus far. From DC Thomson to DC Comics, his journey to becoming a household name began, as many did, with graduating from The Glasgow School of Art.
What is most interesting about this exhibition is seeing the through line, mapping his cheeky early Broons parody, The Greens (reproduced here in all its satirical, scatalogical glory) from adult comic Electric Soup to commercial posters,to the storyboard sophistication of recent triumph, gothic noir comic Jupiter’s Legacy which deals in societal malaise.
There is a delicacy to Quitely’s artwork, even at its most brutal, a humanity. The attention to detail can be heartbreaking, tender, or gross-out visceral, as with Pax Americana and its explosions of gore. His artwork is pyrotechnic.
The move towards more adult fare within comic books is explored, with contributions from Quitely collaborators Mark Millar and Grant Morrison.
Batman’s Scots makeover in Batman:Scottish Connection is a humorous one, but a pointed comment on how Scotland is myopically perceived at times by some countries, as a backwards, monolithic tartan-clad tourist trap. Quitely’s knowing wit plays with such concepts.
A portrait of Alan Moore from 2017 really captures the comic book legend’s lugubrious red-eyed charisma, but front and centre as you enter the space is Girl on Bucket (2011) a female cyberpunk feminist reimagining of Oor Wullie. This crystallises the great strides made, not only in technology, but is a bold reflection of the appetite for graphic novels and comic books from female readers.This girl stares back with a clear gaze, seemingly saying, ‘I’m the future, too’.
At Kelvingrove Gallery April 1st-October 1st
Tickets: Family £15 Child £3 Adult £7/£5