This week let’s take a look at Fiona Staples, the multi-award winning artist best known for her ground-breaking work on Saga.
Penciller, Inker, Colourist. Staples has been actively involved in every aspect of comics’ art since 2005, where her project Amphibious Nightmare was published in an anthology collecting the very best of 24 hour comic day. Her back-catalogue has since grown to an impressive collection. After meeting Andrew Foley through Maple Ink Comics’ message board in 2006, she worked on her first series, Done to Death, a clash between vampire and hunter, published just as she was graduating from art school. Staples also became part of the illustrator team behind the Trick r Treat graphic novel adaptation, as well as working on The Secret History of Authority: Hawksmoor with Mike Costa, and Button Man for 2000AD. Finally, Staples has worked on North 40 with Aaron Williams and on Mystery Society with renowned horror writer Steve Niles.
Staples’ background in these sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and adventure stories undoubtedly set her in good standing for her most notable work to date; Saga. Niles introduced Staples to Brian K Vaughan, which sparked the beginning of a hugely successful creative relationship, beginning with issue 1’s release in March 2012. Co-owning the series, Staples was granted the opportunity to design all the characters, spaceships, and alien races, providing a huge sense of creative freedom in the comic.
An advocate for digital production, Staples has mastered the blend of traditional and digital techniques, hand-inking her characters before finishing the image on screen. Her full-colour images are greatly inspired by anime and the worlds portrayed in video games. And with the vast, detailed environments created in Saga, it’s no surprise she finds colouring digitally preferable! However, Staples hand-letters her narration and paints the cover of each issue, creating a unique sense of freedom and elegance for each comic. It is not only the covers and narration which escape the use of modern technology; we can see in the book itself Staples’ attempt to steer clear of traditional sci-fi tropes, as our protagonists travel in a wooden rocket ship, and much of the resemblance of traditional architecture and buildings in her scenery is certainly not accidental. By mixing the traditional with the technological, Staples’ artistic style has helped to create a completely new fantastical world which defies the usual genre stereotypes; ultimately adding weight to why ‘Saga’ is one of the most popular sci-fi comic series today.
This distinction has not gone unnoticed. Staples, Vaughan and ‘Saga’ have received huge critical acclaim, and been nominated for many awards. In 2013 alone, ‘Saga’ won nine awards ranging from Eisner’s to Harvey’s to Hugo’s; two of which were awarded directly to Staples for Best Artist and Best Colourist. And the nominations continue to roll in, with Staples being nominated for Eisner awards yet again this year. The competition is tough, but my fingers are crossed for her!
Consequently, Staples is now one of the most recognised and respected artistic names in the comics industry, and rightly so. Her constant hard work has allowed her to participate in a variety of projects. Her variant cover art for the big companies like DC and Marvel are highly sought after, and her participation in the new Kickstarter Archie Comics series has been hotly anticipated by fans. Her distinct style has ultimately led to her being part of a creator team producing one of the most popular fantasy comics of our generation, and this undoubtedly is due to the presence of her own creative voice.
So there we have it; a talented woman who has made a strong name within the comics industry; recognised by both fans and critics. Who say’s girls can’t like comics too?!