Every week How to Love Comics spotlights a comic book artist that should be on your radar. We present you a gallery of their work and then leave you some reading recommendations if you are starving for more of their work. We have cleverly titled this Artist of the Week.
In this 6th edition, I feature the wonderful Fiona Staples. Best known for her work on Saga, she has won many awards and countless fans with her beautiful art. Like many people, I discovered her work through Saga and I have become a fan ever since.
Working digitally exclusive, Fiona has been able to create an art style which is detailed but not cluttered. While her line work is not overly detailed, her colouring brings her art to life with plenty of depth, texture and a great understanding of lighting. Staple’s character designs are varied and you never know what you will see next. On one page you might see an anthropomorphic baby seal in overalls, while on the next you might see a topless spider-like woman with eight legs and equally as many eyes. What is even more impressive is how emotive she is able to present each character. It gives extra depth to the story, especially with Saga, and makes you feel for the character in ways you wouldn’t for others.
Below is a gallery of her work from various points in her career. Enjoy!
Fiona Staples Recommendations
Hopefully the gallery has you excited about Fiona Staples’s art, so much so, that you want to go out and read some of her work. Here are the three comics I would highly recommend you check out.
Since it’s commencement in 2011, Saga has been one of those series that everyone has talking about. And so they should be as Saga is fantastic. Mixing fantasy and science-fiction elements, the series follows an alien couple from different sides of a galaxy spanning war – who have ran off with each other and have had a child. The couple are constantly on the run, pursued by bounty hunters from both sides of the conflict. As the series progresses the reader follows more characters who are connected in one way or another.
Brian K Vaughan’s dialogue is witty and clever, allowing for likeable characters. Although, his writing really excels with his character moments which, when combined with Fiona Staple’s beautiful art, make you feel for the characters and their situations. Saga is also a series that cannot be predicted, with plenty of twists, turns and shocks along the way.
Saga is definitely Fiona Staple’s best known work, garnering her plenty of awards for her art contribution. If it wasn’t for her artwork, the world described by Brian K Vaughan would not be possible. We wouldn’t have the fleshed out environments, interesting characters and wild and wonderful aliens. Her expressive characters tell volumes about themselves and make them so likeable.
Saga is definitely a comic series for mature readers, with plenty of adult language, sexual references and nudity. Although, don’t let that put you off as it is a fantastic comic series.
At the time of writing this article Saga has been collected into 3 trade paperback volumes and is available digitally.
Mystery Society follows a husband and wife team, along with a few recruits, of paranormal investigators who investigate the weird secrets of the world’s underbelly. Their mission is to find the missing skull of Edgar Allen Poe, which along the way opens up the story to much weirdness.
Yet again, Fiona Staples art is great. Filled with interesting characters that are expressive and well designed, with each bringing a different element to the story. Her colours are deliberately muted, with a grainy texture, which successfully sets the tone of the series.
Mystery Society is a bit of a departure from Nile’s horror work, with him taking on a paranormal route – with a hint of wit – for this series. If you are a fan of paranormal stories, especially one feel like Steed and Mrs Peel, then Mystery Society is for you.
Mystery Society can be collected in its entirety in one hardcover or found digitally.
Northlanders is a Nordic themed series that tells self-contained stories, following a different protagonists for each. Issue #29 of the series tells the one-issue story, titled The Sea Road, in which group of travellers are lost at sea. They must now face the elements as they attempt to find their way back to land.
Through both Wood’s writing and Staple’s art, the reader sympathises with the protagonist. The reader gets to know him better through the dialogue, as you find out how sad his life and situation is. Fiona’s art is expressive as always, showing the genuine fear on the characters.
It should be also pointed out that Fiona draws powerful waves, that look dangerous and horrible to be in.
Northlanders #29 is a stand alone issue that can be read if you have not read any previous issues of the series. It can be found in the fifth trade paperback collection, titled “Metal”, as well as digitally.