Mightier than the sword

The pen of Vin Deighan, aka artist Frank Quitely, is triumphing in the resurgent world of superheroes and comics at this summer’s exhibition of his work in his native Glasgow

Batman and Robin get the Frank Quitely treatment

“Hey, we just wanted to say thank you, man!” The American couple are thrilled. They’re astonished to have bumped into Vin Deighan, never having expected to come face to face with the star of the show on their visit to his Art of Comics exhibition at Kelvingrove.

Vin, better known to comic devotees by the spoonerism Frank Quitely, is the artist who has taken on some of Marvel and DC Comics’ most famous characters, such as Superman, X-Men and Wonder Woman. His encounter at Kelvingrove is typical of the kind of adulation he receives at comic conventions, where fans of his work will queue for hours to have a picture signed by their artist hero.

The 49-year-old enjoys the anonymity that comes with being an artist but also appreciates the admiration he receives at conventions in the USA. In Glasgow, where he lives with his wife and three children, being recognised is a much rarer occurrence – despite the fact that, as this delighted couple show, he is a genuine superstar. “Our kids will be blown away!” they beam.

Born and brought up in the south side of Glasgow, Vin’s artistic sensibilities were honed at an early age. “I’ve just always been into drawing,” he says. “I wasn’t into comics as such, though I did read Oor Wullie and The Broons.”
He went to the Glasgow School of Art but didn’t really figure out what he wanted to do until after he graduated, when he took on a series of freelance jobs creating artwork for album covers and nightclub posters. He did some portrait work (even accepting commissions to draw pets), before submitting some ideas to a new comic book he’d heard was starting up in the late 1980s.

Frank Quitely: The Art of Comics is at Kelvingrove until 1 October www.glasgowmuseums.com

Words Catherine Coyle