Thursday, June 22, 2006

Y is for Yu, Leinil Francis

ALISTER KENNEDY
ALPHABETTI FUMETTI
http://ninthart.com/display.php?article=1242

Y is for Yu, Leinil Francis
B: 1978, Metro Manila, the Philippines
1997: WOLVERINE; 2002: HIGH ROADS; 2003: SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT

Jammy git. That's the phrase that comes to mind when thinking about Leinil Francis Yu. Look at him! He's had successful stints on big-name US comics such as WOLVERINE, X-MEN and SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT, not to mention creator-owned work such as HIGH ROADS and SILENT DRAGON. He's massively in demand as an illustrator and designer, with his spaceship designs turning up in SERENITY. And he's not yet twenty nine years old. You'd think he'd made some kind of deal with the devil to secure his position. The reality is more prosaic, of course - it's a combination of hard work, raw talent, and good luck.

Yu has been working in comics for close to ten years. His friend and sometime collaborator Gerry Alanguilan had punted his work in the direction of Whilce Portacio, who was sufficiently impressed to offer him work at Wildstorm. Yu dropped everything and went to work with Portacio, learning as much as he could there. Unfortunately, the promised Wildstorm work didn't materialise, but his portfolio was passed to Marvel, who immediately put him to work on WOLVERINE.

The fact that his first professional assignment was on one of Marvel's flagship characters is evidence enough that he leads a charmed life, and that's only cemented by the fact that he then moved on to work on X-MEN with Chris Claremont as part of the Revolution revamp of the mutant line. Following this, he got a shot at creator-owned glory with the action adventure story HIGH ROADS, the first Cliffhanger title to be produced by someone other than one of the imprint's three founders.

It seems that Yu is one of these remarkably lucky fellas who don't have to seek out work - instead, editors come to him. He was paired with Mark Waid on SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT, now regarded by DC as the official history of Superman's youth, and then with LOST writer David Lindelof on ULTIMATE WOLVERINE/HULK. He's also recently completed SILENT DRAGON, a brutal and exciting action story about duty, honour and guys getting their heads chopped off, with co-creator Andy Diggle. Once he wraps up on his Ultimate work, he's set to do an issue of the CIVIL WAR tie-in to NEW AVENGERS.

The sky's the limit for Yu, it seems, and you'd have to break a lot of mirrors to counteract the good fortune he's rightly had.

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