Recently I did a profile on Kate Leth, and now it’s time to showcase another rad Canadian artist (are they taking over?) who has influenced me with her beautifully emotive work. That’s right, it’s the one and only Fiona Staples. You know; she’s the badass illustrator of Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga and Mark Waid’s remarkable reboot of Archie.
But let’s venture back to 2005, when Fiona was working in a comic book store in a shopping mall. There was a 24-hour comic challenge in the store one day, so naturally, she decided to participate. Slaving over her artwork in the crowded food hall proved to be a mighty fine decision, because Fiona came up with Amphibious Nightmare, which kick-started her career. She then began doing short series assignments for Done to Death, The Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor, WildStorm’s Trick ‘r Treat, and Jonah Hex, among others. Sometimes she would illustrate, other times color, and occasionally she would work as a penciler and inker. This was all great practice for her first major series with Image Comics.
Yes, Saga. The epic, fantastical tale of love between long-warring extraterrestrial races. For this project, Staples was recommended to Vaughan by a friend when he was looking for artists, and damn, what a successful collaboration it turned out to be! Now, I haven’t been reading comics for as long as many of you, but rarely have I seen such expressive art that truly compliments the narrative structure. You know a Staples illustration when you see it, as her faces are characterized by triangular, bold jawlines that project confidence. In the story of Saga, you don’t want to mess with Alana, EVER. In Staples’ work, that idea is captured perfectly in illustrations that could so easily be over the top, but they never are.
The fifth volume of Saga recently came out, so if you haven’t checked out this series, I strongly recommend you do. You’ll be rewarded with Staples’ visually stunning portrayal of the world and characters who inhabit it (some of them uber creepy, like The Stalk), and a captivating, suspenseful story by her partner-in-crime, Vaughan.
Another gem of a comic co-captained by Staples, is Archie. I’ve been reading Archie for a long time. When I found out that Staples was coming on board to illustrate the new series, I was thrilled. She captures the familiar faces of Archie, Jughead, Betty and the rest of the gang with a fresh perspective, while honoring the look and feel of the original comic. Even if you think Archie has passed it’s use-by-date, I urge you to pick up the new series by Staples and Waid–it’s a fun-filled, nostalgic experience.
No matter where you are in the comics reading spectrum, please, give Fiona Staples some attention. Her artwork is not only gorgeous, but most importantly it reveals many a pleasant surprise, and true depth within each character.
Are you already a fan of Fiona Staples? What is it about her art that appeals to you? Reach out to me on Twitter (@trilbyberesford) with your thoughts, or make a comment in the section below!
Feature Image Source: SAGA/Image Comics