Gary Frank at a convention in 2008.
|Notable works||Action Comics
The Incredible Hulk
Superman: Secret Origin
Gary Frank (born 1969) is a British comic book artist, notable for pencilling on Midnight Nation and Supreme Power, both written by J. Michael Straczynski. He has also worked with author Peter David on The Incredible Hulk and Supergirl. He had a creator-owned series, Kin, which he wrote himself, published by Top Cow in 2000.
Writer Geoff Johns, who has collaborated with Frank, has opined that Frank's rendition of Superman is the best of his generation, and that the only other artist in the same league with Frank in this regard is Curt Swan.
Gary Frank began his professional career in 1991, illustrating covers and interior short stories for publications like Doctor Who Magazine and Toxic!. This led to a stint at Marvel UK in 1992, as regular series' artist on Motormouth & Killpower. It was on that series that he began a long-running collaboration with inker Cam Smith, who would continue to ink Frank's work for many years. In 1992, Frank was recruited by Marvel Comics to illustrate covers for The Incredible Hulk, beginning with issue No. 400. Shortly thereafter, he was hired as the series' ongoing artist (replacing Jan Duursema) beginning with issue No. 403 in 1993 and ending with No. 425 in 1995. Frank is widely considered the last of the "four great artists" (following Todd McFarlane, Jeff Purves, and Dale Keown) who have worked on the series during writer Peter David's award-winning, 12-year run on the book.
During his initial time at Marvel, Frank also contributed covers, interiors, and pin-up illustrations for various series, such as X-Men Unlimited, the Sabretooth Special, X-Men Classic, X-Men Prime, and Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme, among others. He also provided covers for Acclaim Comics' Ninjak and Harris Comics' Vampirella.
In 1996, Frank moved to DC Comics, where he worked on various loose assignments that included a Birds of Prey one-shot and covers for the mini-series and one-shots that followed, and the DC/Marvel Amalgam one-shot, Bullets and Bracelets. The same year, Frank and Smith were hired as the art team on DC's new Supergirl ongoing series, which re-teamed Frank with writer Peter David. Frank's run as penciller ended with issue No. 9 in 1997, although he continued to provide covers for the series until issue No. 21.
In 1997, Frank and Smith moved to Image Comics, where they, along with writer John Arcudi, were hired as the new creative team on the popular Wildstorm title Gen¹³, beginning with the epilogue story in issue No. 25. Their run on the series was praised for its dark, realistic style, in both writing and art; however, the drastic change in tone and style alienated many longtime fans who had grown accustomed to the more fantastical and cartoonish approach of the highly successful Brandon Choi/J. Scott Campbell run. Nevertheless, the Arcudi/Frank/Smith tenure on the series lasted two years, until issue No. 41 in 1999.
(It was during this run, in 1998, that Wildstorm head Jim Lee moved his studio and all its properties to DC Comics. Therefore, issues #25–36 were published by Image and issues #37–41 were published by DC/Wildstorm.)
In 2000, Frank worked on various loose assignments for both DC and Marvel, including issue No. 7 of Tom Strong (under DC's America's Best Comics imprint), and writing and penciling a 2-page X-Men story in X-Men: Millennial Visions (his final collaboration to date with inker Cam Smith), while working on his first creator-owned series. Kin, a six-issue miniseries created, written, and penciled by Frank, was published under Image's Top Cow imprint. The story tells of a secret government agency named S.I.A. who discovers that a race of neanderthal men exists in the mountains of Alaska and proceed to eliminate them to obtain their technology, which developed differently from that of the rest of the world. The book's protagonist, S.I.A. agent Trey McAloon, is opposed to the agency's plans and confronts them about it, while the book's other main character, Alaskan Park Ranger Elizabeth Leaky, establishes contact with one of the neanderthals.
The miniseries' conclusion was open-ended, with questions left unanswered, but so far no sequel or continuation of the story has been announced. The trade paperback collection of Kin (entitled Kin: Descent of Man) includes six pages of additional story that were not featured in the original issues.
Also in 2000, Frank began his first collaboration with J. Michael Straczynski, the acclaimed television writer and creator of Babylon 5, who had created the successful comic series Rising Stars the year before. Frank served as penciller on Straczynski's Midnight Nation, a 12-issue limited series published by Top Cow from 2000 to 2002 under their now-defunct Joe's Comics imprint. The first issue of the series included a 5-page interview with Frank and Straczynski. One of the inkers on the series was Jon Sibal, with whom Frank would begin a long-running artistic collaboration that continues to this day.
On 16 July 2002, it was announced that Frank had signed an exclusive contract with Marvel. His first work under this new contract was a two-issue story arc on The Avengers (issues #61–62), written by Geoff Johns and inked by Jon Sibal. In 2003, Frank re-teamed with writer J. Michael Straczynski on Supreme Power, a revamp of Marvel's superhero team Squadron Supreme, published under their mature-audience Marvel MAX imprint. With its hard-edged realism and mature storytelling, the book became Marvel's first MAX title to sell over 100,000 copies, making it their best-selling mature-readers series of all time. The series ran for 18 issues, from 2003 to 2005.
During his run on Supreme Power, Frank also provided covers for a diverse number of Marvel books, such as Silver Surfer #7; Wolverine/Punisher #2; The Incredible Hulk #75; issues 4 and 6 of the Supreme Power spin-off miniseries, Doctor Spectrum; The Amazing Spider-Man No. 515 and 517; Black Panther #10; and numerous others, as well as two pages of interior art for the Avengers: Finale one-shot.
On 10 May 2007, having worked several years on a Marvel exclusive contract, Frank signed a new one with DC Comics. He most recently served as the regular series artist on Action Comics with writer Geoff Johns. After the New Krypton story arc, Action Comics became a title headlined by Kryptonian heroes Nightwing and Flamebird. As a result of this, the creative team on Action Comics changed.
Frank and Johns will still be working with Superman, however, in a six-issue mini-series entitled Superman: Secret Origin. The story features what Johns and DC Executive Editor Dan DiDio are calling a "definitive" telling of the origin story of Superman, dealing with his life in Smallville, his first adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes as Superboy, and his arrival in Metropolis and at the Daily Planet. Frank and Johns will also collaborate on an out-of-continuity original graphic novel starring Batman titled Batman: Earth One. The novel is the first in a series of graphic novel scheduled in 2012 that is a redefining of Batman.
Comics work (interior pencil art) includes:
- Action Comics #858–863, 866–870 (2007–08)
- Batman: Dark Knight Dynasty (among other artists) (1997)
- Batman: Earth One (2012)
- Batman Chronicles No. 10 (1997)
- Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey, one-shot (1996)
- Bullets and Bracelets No. 1 (Amalgam Comics, 1996)
- DC Universe: Legacies, limited series, (Blue Beetle) No. 10 (2011)
- The Flash No. 1 (Tangent Comics, 1997)
- Gen¹³ #25–41 (Wildstorm, 1997–99)
- JLA No. 15 (1998)
- Just Imagine Stan Lee With Gary Frank Creating Shazam (2002)
- Justice League, vol. 2, (Shazam!) #7–11, No. 0, #14–16, #18–21 (2012–13)
- Supergirl, vol. 3, #1–9 (1996–97)
- Superman: New Krypton Special, one-shot (among other artists) (2008)
- Superman: Secret Origin, miniseries, #1–6 (2009–10)
- Tom Strong No. 7 (America's Best Comics, 2000)
- War of the Supermen No. 0 (among other artists) (2010)
- Wonder Woman, vol. 3, Annual No. 1 (2007)
- Avengers, vol. 3, #61–62 (2002)
- Avengers Finale (among other artists) (2005)
- Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #82–83 (1995)
- Incredible Hulk, vol. 2, #403–411, 413–418, 420–423, 425 (1993–95)
- Incredible Hulk, vol. 3, #100–101, 106–107 (2007)
- Sabretooth Special No. 1 (1995)
- Squadron Supreme, miniseries, #1–5, 7 (2006)
- Supreme Power #1–12 (2003–04)
- X-Men: Prime (among other artists) (1995)
- Godwheel No. 1 (Malibu, 1995)
- Kin #1–6 (Image, 2000)
- Midnight Nation #1–12 (Image, 2000–01)
- Vampirella/Dracula: The Centennial (Harris, 1997)
In other media
In 1990, prior to him working in the comic industry, he produced a book called Rovers: Portrait of a Football Team, which featured caricatures of a number of Bristol Rovers F.C. players from the 1989–90 season. He wrote it in conjunction with then-Rovers player Geoff Twentyman.
- "Geoff Johns Conquers the Universe," Comic-Con Magazine (Winter 2010). Pages 7–11
- Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1990s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 274. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "The Girl of Steel flew back into an ongoing series at long last, courtesy of fan-favorite writer Peter David and artist Gary Frank."
- Artist Gary Frank exclusive to Marvel
- JMS Speaks About Supreme Power
- Gary Frank Signs Exclusive With DC
- Greg Rucka on being named new Acton Comics writer
- "Geoff Johns: Telling Superman's Secret Origin". Newsarama.
- "AICN COMICS STM EXCLUSIVE Q&@ w JMS & GEOFF JOHNS on DC EARTH ONE!". Ain't It Cool News.
|The Incredible Hulk artist