Today is International Women’s Day, so there’s no better time to shine the spotlight on a female pop culture creator Fiona Staples. A phenomenal artist, Staples has broken through the “boys club” culture of the North American comic book industry to rise to the very top of her field, winning a raft of awards for her work on books like Saga, North 40, and Archie.
Made in Canada
Hailing from Calgary, Canada, Fiona Staples has been an active part of the comics scene since the mid-2000s. Her artwork has graced the interiors of books for virtually every major publisher, including DC, Marvel, Image, 2000AD, IDW and Archie Comics. She’s also a prolific cover artist, and has lent her striking and sumptuous visual style to covers for the likes of Superman/Batman, The Wicked + The Divine and DV8: Gods and Monsters.
Most recently, Staples’ work received considerable media attention when she and writer Mark Waid oversaw the successful relaunch of Archie, reimagining and revitalising the Riverdale gang for a new generation of readers. But perhaps her most impressive achievement has been her role as the ongoing artist of Saga, which she co-created with Brian K. Vaughan.
A masterful sci-fi/fantasy mash-up for adults with a heartfelt family story at its core, Saga has consistently ranked among the very best comics on the market for the past five years and counting. It’s not just me saying it, either; thanks to Saga, Staples has netted numerous accolades, including the Eisner Award, Shuster Award, Hugo Award, Harvey Award and Inkwell Award.
More than just pretty pictures
The huge haul of awards racked up by Staples shouldn’t really come as a shock – she is, quite simply, one of the best artists working in comics today. From the painterly, sweeping vistas and human drama of Saga to her ultra-hip take on the once tragically-dated Archie, Staples couples an incredibly versatile style with a total command of virtually every artistic and storytelling technique.
Her vivid, sketchy characters are filled with personality and emotion, and she’s proven herself capable of convincingly bringing to life anything imaginable, including the crazy alien worlds and creatures of Saga, where a character with a TV for a head is just the tip of the iceberg! But what really helps Staples stand out from the crowd is the clarity of her layouts; each panel and angle is perfectly chosen to ensure that the dramatic requirements and pace of the story work in tandem with the narrative, resulting in easy-to-follow pages brimming with energy and feeling.
Making her mark in a male-dominated industry
While Staples’ body of work would already be staggering on its merits alone, when you consider the critical and commercial success she has achieved within such a male-dominated field, it’s even more impressive still. Indeed, her greatest accomplishment is that she inspires women and young girls to follow in her footsteps by proving that not only can women make it in the comics business, they can make it all the way to the top, too – which a fantastic message this International Women’s Day.