Saturday, December 01, 2007

Website Attacking Liefeld

Streebo linked to this in a comment to comics out this week. This deserves its own post, because it is one of the funniest things I have read in a long time, in part because I grew on on many of these comics. I had to leave the room at one point, I was laughing so hard. This has to be the definitive attack on Liefeld. He is an easy target to be sure, but these observations are especially sharp because they combine the jokes with a half-serious, but fully deserved, righteous anger.

http://progressiveboink.com/archive/robliefeld.html

20 comments:

scott91777 said...

Okay, this may seem like blasphemy to some but this is something I've been thinking about for sometime: Liefeld was attempting (wether conciously or not) to be a 90s version of Jack Kirby and failed miserable. Before you crucify me, think about it: There are certain defining characteristics that are associated with both artists such as posing, distortions in physique, over the top machinery/weapons... The difference is this: Kirby had subtlety, something Liefeld was sorely lacking in. I don't think Liefeld was conciously trying to be like Kirby; I just think maybe he had a similar personal aesthetic. If you doubt this, check out Kirby's last work on the Superpowers series. Sadly, at this point the gap between the talent of the two men is greatly lessened(it was because of this series that, for years, I couldn't STAND the art of Jack Kirby).

Streebo said...

Yes, you speak blasphemy Scott! Eleventh Commandment is Thou Shall Not COmpare Liefeld to Kirby. Just kidding. In all seriousness - there is validity to what you say as both men very much worked with their own sense of aesthetics that at times veered from the accepted interpretation of reality in terms of anatomy and physics. The difference begins at the very fact that Kirby developed his own dynamic style and innovated the very syntax for the language of superhero comics - whereas Liefeld's style of drawing is a hodge podge of swipes from everyone beginning with Kirby's bulky dynamics and including the hyperkinetic and superfluous detailing of early Japanese anime to outright lifting compostitions from more accomplished storytellers such as Frank Miller. If you've ever seen the original Fist of the North Star - you will know exactly where Liefeld swiped the rest of his drawing affectations - the hair, larger bodies with little heads, the Mad Max style mix-n-match clothing. Therefor one = innovative genius while the other = opportunistically fortunate swiper.

Streebo said...

I was a fan of the early Liefeld books for a variety of reasons - the least of which being that I was just young and incredibly stupid. There was a definite energy - not dissimilar to Geoff's oft quoted line from Blake about exuberance = beauty. However, the more I learned about compositions, anatomy, and the dynamics of physical interaction with objects on the Prime Material Plane, the more I realized that Liefeld's exuberance often masked an outright laziness with attention to detail - and logic. There's simply no excuse for the bizarre phantom interaction between characters and the objects around them. I had a bizarre love-hate relationship with Liefeld in my youth. I was happy that a guy so young could become so successful in superhero comics. I loved his early revamp of The New Mutants as I felt the title had become a bit stagnant and lost during the bizarre Inferno storylines of the 80's. It wasn't until Liefeld was left to his own devices - without the seasoned assistance of Louise Simonson that I began to realize how lame his stories were. All of his early encounters were just devoid of character development. Each new issue seemed like an advertisement for a new toy with it's Character of the Month. Obviously this was true of a lot of comics at the time - but in Liefeld's case it was doubly true. Believe it or not - but I'm not going to rant on Liefeld here - but I'm explaining the part he played in my eventual disillusionment with corporate owned superheroes. I bought all of the damn X-corssovers month after month - sometimes with the variant cover editions goldangit, and at the end of it all, I always felt cheated. I bought those dang early Youngblood issues reading each in two minutes time - then putting it down with the thought that - next issue must be where the story comes in - but then the next issue came often six months later - and NOTHING happened. Often the last issue was entirely forgotten and never referenced again in order to make room for Another Cable Clone to run through the pages. I'm really getting out of hand here - so I'll reel it in. But I do want to say that Liefeld was a huge font of inspiration to me as a young aspiring artist - because I could always point to his work more than anyone else - and say with pride "I draw better than this guy!" And therefor it was only a matter of time until the editors at Marvel realized that and gave me control over Spiderman - although my dream Marvel projects are Shang Chi Master of Kung Fu, Dr. Strange, and Paste Pot Pete. Just checking to see if anyone is still reading with that last one. ;) So I would make my way out to the Heroes COnvention year after year with pages of my samples that were "Better Than Liefeld's" only to have it all shot to pieces by an editor who would inevitably point out the moments where I had emulated Liefeld with the lack of backgrounds and the overuse of lines on characters and so on and so forth. My whimpered cries of "But it's better than Leifeld fell on deaf ears." I would have up if not for the fact that at the Heroes convention the following year - an editor told me to look at Eric Larsen comics and "draw like him." At which point I realized that most editors were full of shit and had no idea what they were talking about. I renounced the idea of ever working at Marvel and have developed my own superhero characters ever since - and I owe it all to Rob Liefeld. Thank you, Rob.

Streebo said...

This all started due to an article where Liefeld bashed Alan Moore. I found the link to the 40 Worst Liefeld Drawings there.


Rob Liefeld Shoots on Alan Moore.

The link was hidden in the Newsarama comments section to a related article.

Streebo said...

eepBeep.

Streebo said...

Ummm. . .

That should read -

My whimpered cries of "But it's better than Leifeld" fell on deaf ears. I would have hung it up if not for the fact that. . .

Sorry, all. No more posts from me on this one.

scott91777 said...

Oh, by the way, about the site that Geoff posted... did Garth Ennis really do a story where Superman demanded blowjobs? I mean, I'm sure that was just those guys being snarky but, I must say, I think that would be totally AWESOME... someone get Ennis on Superman, pronto!

Streebo said...

I saw that comment about Superman too. I wonder if that was part of the JLA/Hitman crossover. I never read it because by the time Ennis was writing Hitman - I realized how most of his gags had grown cold on me. You can only have a man make love to a fish one or two times before it's just not shocking any more.

Chad Nevett said...

I think that's a reference to an issue of The Boys where the Superman-stand-in of The Seven (aka JLA) demands the new girl perform oral sex or get kicked back to some crappy C-level team.

brad said...

My favorite is Number 10: "A one-act play, drawn by Rob Liefeld."

neilshyminsky said...

My favorite line about Liefeld:

"He has on a backwards cap, and when he turns it around, it's still backwards."

Dougie said...

I miss that world-weary, hard-boiled, tough guy dialogue most of all.

Marc Caputo said...

My first return to comics (for the record, this is the second AND last return, started in 2003.) began in 1991 - when all of these Image-to-be guys were still romping all over Marvel. I can't remember loving Liefeld - I seem to think he was bad compared to guys like Lee, Portacio, Jae Lee, Larry Strohman and others. But I was reading all the X-books back then, so I had to deal. But the guy is bad. What I can't understand is how creators with talent and brains and companies with money to lose continue to work with/back this guy.

Christian said...

One of my favorite nerdrage hobbies is bashing Liefeld. I actually got a friend to take a picture of his feet as proof that Liefeld could actually have the world's most deformed toes or something.

And that Ennis line, while fun, isn't necessarily true. Despite all his "superhero hate," he's written one of the best Superman stories the last 20 years, that being the Hitman issue, where Supes (Fuck you, Byrne!) laments the fact that he couldn't save an astronaut from dying and Tommy cheers him up. And then assassinates a guy as he leaves. Which I guess is kind of parodying Supes a little, but it's still a great moment.

Matthew J. Brady said...

Re: Ennis and Superman blow jobs - In addition to the bit in The Boys, there was also a scene in The Pro where the titular (ha ha) prostitute character gives the Superman stand-in The Saint (who is a bit more like the "real" Superman, naive and well-meaning) a blow job, which leads to him accidentally blowing the wing off a plane and rescuing it with no pants on. Good times.

Oh, and yea, Liefeld sucks. That's all I have to add.

Streebo said...

christian - I agree about that Hitman story being a good Superman story. It was so good - it actually seemed out of character for the series - until the end of the issue of course. It's probably the best single issue of a superhero story Ennis has ever written.

For the record - my favorite line about Liefeld from that article was,
"If you asked Rob Liefeld to draw a diagram of the uterus he'd put on a pair of gauntlets and punch the shit out of your chalkboard."

James said...

Rob Liefeld currently has a vendetta against DC - I guess something happened when he did those Teen Titans issues - and if you're bored enough at work you can find a trail of messageboard posts of him criticising DC's artists. Anyway, I guess at some point he included Rags Morales (recently of Identity Crisis) in his appraisals, which resulted in this hilarious parting shot on the newsarama boards. I mean really, that closing line is fantastic.

Streebo said...

Since this is Rob Liefeld Appreciation Day - here are some more hijinx courtesy of Mr. Liefeld.

A user on the Comic Forums just posted a link to Rob Liefeld's Digg account. You can see the comments he has made as of late.

I love how he signs off some of his messages with his catch phrase - "Nuff said!" Sure is catchy. . .

Josh Hechinger said...

Liefeld is basically comics' own Chuck Norris: you can blatantly make shit up about his talents (or shortcomings), and it's both hilarious and seems entirely plausible.

On an unrelated note: I never put two and two together with Liefeld/Fist of the North Star, despite being a huge fan of the latter. Now that it's been pointed out, it's realllly obvious.

(Liefeld also seems to have taken big cues from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure in terms of posing)

Christian said...

Just wanted to say that the only time Liefeld's stuff has looked good was on Hawk & Dove. And that was only because Karl Kesel seemingly redrew almost every single panel.

Tony Moore, former artist on Walking Dead and current artist on Exterminators and Fear Agent, does a scary parody/"homage" to him. I'm genuinely surprised he could surpress his own talent long enough to complete the follow picture of Heath.

http://tonymooreillustration.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=591