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Fiona Staples is a Canadian comic book artist best known for her work on her science fiction series Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan, as well as other books such as North 40, DV8: Gods and Monsters, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, and Archie. She has won multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards between 2013-2017.

Life & CareerEdit

Staples was born in Calgary, Alberta. She attended the Alberta College of Art and Design.[1]

Staples's first published work was "Amphibious Nightmare", a 24-hour comic included in the About Comics anthology 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2005.[2] Her first series assignment was 2006's Done to Death, working with writer Andrew Foley for Markosia. She was one of the illustrators of WildStorm's Trick 'r Treat graphic novel, an adaptation of the Michael Dougherty film. She was the penciller and inker of The Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor, written by Mike Costa. She also coloured Frazer Irving's art for the 2000 AD story Button Man.

In March 2012 Image Comics published the first issue of Saga, an ongoing series conceived by writer Brian K. Vaughan.[3] Staples was introduced to Vaughan by their mutual friend, writer Steve Niles, with whom Staples worked on Mystery Society.[4] Vaughan, who had not met Staples in person until just before their panel at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, explained his selection of Staples by describing his reaction upon first seeing her work, saying, "Her artwork is incredible. [It] doesn't look like anyone else. She is very unique. When I opened up this file I was like, 'This is going to work!" Staples is co-owner of Saga,[5] who designed the cast[6] and all the ships and alien races in the story. She also provides painted covers, and hand-letters the narration (using her own handwriting), which is the final work she does after finishing the artwork on a page.[4][7][8]

In 2015, Staples and writer Mark Waid became the creative team for the opening three-issue story arc of Archie Comics' relaunched Archie, in celebration of the character's 75th anniversary. Staples, who had previously provided variant covers for the publisher, contributed her distinctive drawing style, rather than Archie's house style, and designed "a new look and an edgier tone" for the Archie comic book, whose storylines now portray the character in darker, more complicated situations, though not necessarily for a strictly adult audience.[9][10]

Technique & InfluencesEdit

Books that have had a seminal impact upon Staples include The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, Dragon of the Lost Sea series by Laurence Yep, the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, and The Chronicles of Narnia books by C. S. Lewis.[11]

At the beginning of her career, Staples would scan traditional drawings in and edit them in Photoshop later.[1] Staples began creating her artwork entirely digitally several years before she began work on Saga, though her process for that series is different from previous ones, for which she characterizes it as "one intense, ongoing experiment." She begins with thumbnails, roughly drawn on printed paper templates. During this stage Staples gives copious thought to the layouts and staging, making it, in her words, the most important part of the process. After scanning the thumbnails, she enlarges them and uses them as rudimentary pencils, and "inks" over them in Manga Studio. She has said that her art distributor is "perpetually disappointed in her," as fans would pay steep prices for inks and pencils.[1]

One of the advantages Staples sees in working digitally is the ability to dispense with tight pencils in favor of making corrections in an ad hoc manner, as she finds that penciling in great detail, and re-drawing such artwork a second time in ink, to be boring. In Saga, Staples inks only the figures in pen-and-ink, using a lot of self-shot photo references to finalize the poses, which she does not use in the thumbnail stage. She then imports the art into Photoshop, which she uses to paint the backgrounds entirely in color,[12] to achieve a look inspired by video games and Japanese animation.[6] At the 2012 Image Expo, Staples described the process by which she produces the art as harkening back to animation cels, in which emphasis is placed on figures and backgrounds.[13] The process, according to Staples, can be time-consuming, depending on the complexity of the environment.

For outdoor environments, she begins by selecting a color palette and initially blocking in the shapes roughly. She subsequently colors the figures, using flat colors both to make the process quicker and because she feels that painted figures in comics can often look "stiff" and difficult for the reader to "read" quickly. For pages that feature narration by the character Hazel, Staples writes the text using her own handwriting.[12] Vaughan has stated that Staples's style has influenced the direction of the story.[5] The organic forms of most of the series' technology, for example, such as the main characters' wooden rocket ship, is derived from Staples's dislike of drawing mechanical objects.[6] To design the series' various planetary settings, Staples looks to the real world for inspiration and then exaggerates some elements of them. Some rooms on the planet Cleave, for example, were inspired by Cambodian architecture.[8]

Critical receptionEdit

Staples's work on Saga received wide acclaim from numerous reviewers,[14] with Ain't it Cool News characterizing it as "glorious",[15] and P.S. Hayes of Geeks of Doom praising her art as "amazing", saying, "From the gorgeous painted cover all the way through the last page, she delivers in every way that’s artistically possible. It’s got to be tough to be handed a script like this one and try and figure out what to do, but she handles it beautifully. Everything looks like it belongs in the universe. Her backgrounds are elaborate, yet never distracting or too busy and they never take focus off the main characters."[16]

Alex Zalben of MTV Geek predicted readers would "fall head over heels in love" with it,[17] and Greg McElhatton of Comic Book Resources positively compared it to that of Leinil Francis Yu, specifically her use of delicate lines to frame characters with large, bold figures, and her mixture of the familiar and the foreign together in her character designs to create a visually cohesive universe.[18] AICN singled out Staples's handling of grand, sweeping space shots and other genre trappings, as well as her mastery of facial expressions, which AICN felt was perfectly suited to Vaughan's subtle dialogue.[15]

In 2015, Staples was voted the #1 female comic book artist of all-time by readers of Comic Book Resources.[19]

Awards and nominationsEdit

WinsEdit

  • 2011 Joe Shuster Award for Outstanding Comic Book Cover Artist for Mystery Society #1-5 (IDW), DV8: Gods and Monsters #1-8 (DC/Wildstorm), Superman/Batman #79 (DC Comics), Acts of Violence: An Anthology of Crime Comics (New Reliable Press), Magus #1 (12 Gauge Comics)[20]
  • 2013 Eisner Award for Best New Series for Saga (with Brian K. Vaughan)(Image Comics); Best Continuing Series for Saga (with Brian K. Vaughan)[21]
  • 2013 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story for Saga, Vol. 1 (with Brian K. Vaughan)[22]
  • 2013 Harvey Award for Best Artist for Saga; Best Colorist for Saga; Best New Series for Saga (with Brian K. Vaughan); Best Continuing/Limited Series for Saga (with Brian K. Vaughan); Best Issue/Story for Saga (with Brian K. Vaughan)[23]
  • 2013 British Fantasy Award for Best Comic/Graphic Novel for Saga (with Brian K. Vaughan)[24]
  • 2014 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series for Saga (with Brian K. Vaughan); Best Painter/Multimedia Artist (interior art) for Saga[21]
  • 2014 Harvey Award for Best Artist for Saga; Best Cover Artist for Saga; Best Continuing or Limited Series for Saga (with Brian K. Vaughan)[23]
  • 2014 Joe Shuster Award for Artist for Saga[25]
  • 2015 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series for Saga (with Brian K. Vaughan); Best Penciller/Inker for Saga[21]
  • 2015 Inkwell Awards All-in-One Award for Saga[26]
  • 2015 Harvey Award for Best Cover Artist for Saga; Best Artist for Saga; Best Continuing or Limited Series for Saga (with Brian K. Vaughan)[23]
  • 2016 Harvey Award for Best Cover Artist for Saga; Best Artist for Saga; Best Continuing or Limited Series for Saga with Brian K. Vaughan)[23]
  • 2017 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series for Saga (with Brian K. Vaughan); Best Penciller/Inker for Saga; Best Cover Artist for Saga[21]

NominationsEdit

  • 2010 Eisner Award for Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team for North 40 (WildStorm)[27]
  • 2011 Joe Shuster Award for Outstanding Comic Book Artist for Mystery Society #1-5 (IDW), Northlanders #29 (DC/Vertigo), Fringe: Tales from the Fringe #4 (DC/Wildstorm)[20]
  • 2013 Joe Shuster Award for Cover Artist for Life with Archie #24B (Archie), Dark Horse Presents #10 (Dark Horse), Action Comics #15B, National Comics Madame X #1 (DC Comics), Smoke and Mirrors #1B (IDW), Saga #1-8; Artist for Saga #1-8[28]
  • 2013 Harvey Award for Best Cover Artist for Saga[29]
  • 2014 Eisner Award for Best Cover Artist for Saga[30]
  • 2014 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story for Saga, Vol. 2 (with Brian K. Vaughan); Best Professional Artist[31]
  • 2014 Inkwell Awards, All-in-One Award[32]
  • 2016 Inkwell Awards, All-in-One Award[33]
  • 2016 Harvey Award for Best New Series for Archie (with Mark Waid)(Archie Comics)[34]

BibliographyEdit

Interior ArtEdit

  • 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2005: "Amphibious Nightmare" (self-written, About Comics, 2005)
  • Done to Death (with writer Andrew Foley, 6-issue limited series, Markosia, July 2006-January 2009)
  • Button Man: "Book IV: The Hitman's Daughter" (colours, with writer John Wagner and artist Frazer Irving, in 2000 AD #1551-1566, 2007)
  • Proof #6-8 (colours, with writer Alexander Grecian and art by Riley Rossmo, Image Comics, March–May 2008)
  • The Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor (with writer Mike Costa, 6-issue limited series, Wildstorm, June 2008 - March 2009)
  • Tales from the Black Museum: "The Incredible Teatime Torture Show" (colours, with writer Tony Lee and art by Vince Locke, in Judge Dredd Megazine #284, May 2009)
  • North 40 (with writer Aaron Williams, 6-issue limited series, Wildstorm, September 2009 - February 2010)
  • Northlanders: The Sea Road (with writer Brian Wood, Vertigo, One shot, June 2010)
  • Mystery Society (with writer Steve Niles, IDW Publishing, April 2010-ongoing)
  • Jonah Hex #66 (with writer Jimmy Palmiotti, DC Comics, One shot, April 2011)
  • Saga (with writer Brian K. Vaughan, Image Comics, ongoing, March 14, 2012 – present)
  • Archie (with writer Mark Waid, Archie Comics, #1-3, 2015)

Cover ArtEdit

  • Sheena #2 Variant Cover (2007) #5 (2008)
  • War Machine #5 (2009)
  • DV8: Gods and Monsters #1-8 (2010)
  • Magus #1 (2010)
  • Superman/Batman #79-80 (2010)
  • T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #7-10 (2011)
  • 30 Days of Night #1 Variant Cover (2011)
  • Criminal Macabre/The Goon: When Freaks Collide One shot (2011)
  • Dark Horse Presents #10 (2012)
  • National Comics: Madame X #1 (2012)
  • Rat Queens #1 Variant Cover (2013)
  • Chrononauts #1 Variant Cover (2015)
  • The Wicked + The Divine #11 Variant Cover (2015)
  • Archie #650
  • Sex Criminals #16 XXX Variant cover (2017)

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "The Comic Book Artist Fiona Staples Gives Archie a Makeover", The New York Times. Published 12 Jul 2015.
  2. Singh, Arune. "'Done To Death' Lives On At Markosia This Summer", Comic Book Resources. Published 03 Feb 2006.
  3. Armitage, Hugh. "Brian K Vaughan's 'Saga' launches". Digital Spy. Published 13 Mar 2012.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Uzumeri, David. "'Saga': Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples Bring a Stellar Sci-Fi Comic Into the World", ComicsAlliance. Published 14 Mar 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lewis, Shane. "IMAGE EXPO: Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' "Saga" Panel", Comic Book Resources. Published 26 Feb 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Wolk, Douglas. "Masters of the Universe. The space story Saga is the comic world's big hit", Time, p. 54. Published 05 Aug 2013.
  7. Staples, Fiona (artist) and Brian K. Vaughan (writer). "Chapter One", Saga #1. Image Comics, March 2012
  8. 8.0 8.1 Kepler, Adam W. "Graphic Books Best Sellers: Fiona Staples Talks About 'Saga'", The New York Times. Published 26 Oct 2012.
  9. Schmidt, Gregory. "As Archie Nears 75, Riverdale Gets a Youthful Infusion", The New York Times. Published 14 Dec 2014.
  10. Ching, Albert. "New 'Archie' #1 on the Way In 2015 from Mark Waid & Fiona Staples", Comic Book Resources. Published 14 Dec 2014.
  11. Uzumeri, David. "'Saga': Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples Bring a Stellar Sci-Fi Comic Into the World", Comics Alliance. Published 14 Mar 2012.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Staples, Fiona. "Fiona's Process", Saga #8, p. 24-25. Image Comics, December 2012.
  13. Allen, Todd. "Advance Review: 'Saga' By Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples". Comics Beat. Published 12 Mar 2012.
  14. Richards, Ron. "ADVANCE REVIEW: SAGA #1 (Spoiler Free)", iFanboy. Published 30 Jan 2012.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "AICN COMICS REVIEWS: Brian K. Vaughan’s SAGA! FAIREST! UNCANNY X-MEN! AKA! & MORE!!!", Ain't it Cool News. Published 14 Mar 2012.
  16. Hayes, P.S. "Comic Review: Saga #1", Geeks of Doom. Published 13 Mar 2012.
  17. Zalben, Alex. "The 'Saga' Of Brian K. Vaughan: How He Went From Runaway Kids To Epic Fantasy", MTV Geek. Published 05 Mar 2012.
  18. McElhatton, Greg. "Review: Saga #1", Comic Book Resources. Published 13 Mar 2012.
  19. Cronin, Brian. "Top 25 Female Comic Book Artists #3-1". Comic Book Resources. Published 31 Mar 2015.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Boyd, Kevin. "2011 Nominees and Winners", Joe Shuster Awards. Published Jun 2011.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 "Eisner Award Recipients: 2010-present", Comic-Con International: San Diego. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  22. "2013 Hugo Awards", The Hugo Awards. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 "List of Harvey Award Winners", Wikipedia. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  24. "Winners of the British Fantasy Awards 2013", British Fantasy Awards. Published 03 Nov 2013. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  25. "2014 Nominees and Winners", The Joe Shuster Awards. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  26. "2015 Winners", Inkwell Awards. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  27. MacDonald, Heidi. "2010 Eisner Award nominations announced", Comics Beat. Published 8 Apr 2010. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  28. "2013 Nominees and Winners", The Joe Shuster Awards. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  29. Cavna, Michael. "2013 Harvey Award Noms: Chris Ware, ‘Saga’ among top nominees", Comic Riffs (Washington Post). Published 15 Jul 2013. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  30. MacDonald, Heidi. "2014 Eisner Nominations: It was the DeFractions year…and a lot of other great things too", Comics Beat. Published 15 Apr 2014. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  31. "2014 Hugo Awards", The Hugo Awards. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  32. "2014 Winners", Inkwell Awards. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  33. "2016 Winners", Inkwell Awards. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
  34. Cavna, Michael. "‘Bloom County’ and ‘Bloodshot Reborn’ are among the multiple 2016 Harvey Award nominees", Comic Riffs (Washington Post). Published 5 Jul 2016. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
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