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June 15, 2012 6:12 PM   Subscribe

Nearly five years after creating their Internet- and Mefi-favorite essay describing 40 terrible drawings by 90s-defining comic artist Rob Liefeld, Progressive Boink goes once more unto the breach and publishes "40 MORE Of The Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish (102 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
My god it's full of pouches.
posted by delmoi at 6:14 PM on June 15, 2012 [16 favorites]


Everything bad people say about Liefelds art and writing is true, but I read his peice on how to deal with haters and I can't help liking the guy.

/turns cap backwards in defiance.
posted by Artw at 6:19 PM on June 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Awesome. I know doodly squat about comics, but I loved the first post. It's how I know who Liefeld is.
posted by brundlefly at 6:19 PM on June 15, 2012


Liefeld is apparently an immensely nice and likable guy in person. It's one reason he's still working in the industry - no matter what the fans think of him, he still has good relationships with the editorial types who actually hand out work. Plus his stuff is never late.

None of that makes it any less fun to mock him, though. Good God, TROLL.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:23 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel like trying to find the worst is a game you loose just by playing.
posted by The Whelk at 6:26 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


PSILENCE!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:28 PM on June 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


Goddammit, this is hilarious. I can't stop laughing.
posted by Falconetti at 6:36 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of all the things wrong with this, what stands out the most is how the lens flare in Cable's crotch makes it look like he's cumming on Wolverine's shoulder.
I think the lens flair was meant to be on wolverine's shoulder pad thing... But it actually looks almost like cable has this tiny crystal dong. Ejaculating plasma.
posted by delmoi at 6:38 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


And why did she wear a one-piece v-neck bathing suit to the moon?

The question is WHY DIDN'T EVERYONE ELSE.
posted by elizardbits at 6:43 PM on June 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


From the article;

"5. Hidden feet, because drawing is hard."

Yeah, it is, actually.

Well, to clarify, it is if you want to do it well. Almost anyone can draw a stick figure. But if you want to draw anything more serious than that, and add color and depth and shading and a sense of scale, it takes time, effort and, well, a lot of hard work.

I've been drawing cartoons for most of my life, more as a hobby than as a professional artist. And even now, at 34 years of age, I still find drawing hard, if I'm trying to do it right. I'm starting up a webcomic soon, and drawing concept sketches and test-toons, but I scrap more than half of them because they're not good enough (by my exacting standards). And I know that even the art I do eventually publish, the art on which I worked my ass off and thought "yes, this is good enough for people to see" will still be deemed as shit by many of the people who see it.

I decided to take a look at the bio of the author of the article, Mr SundownMotel. Nothing in his profile tells me that he is an artist himself. Nothing tells me he's qualified to criticise Liefeld with a flippant "drawing is hard" line. Can he do better? Maybe, but I haven't seen anything that proves it.

I guess what I'm saying is yeah, Liefeld is a pretty bad artist, but to me, many of the criticisms in this article read more like "uninformed douchebag criticises guy comic-book fans love to hate on the internet for easy laughs and page views" rather than "peer offers critique of another artist and does so with humor." And I think that ultimately diminishes what's on offer here.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:45 PM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Obviously mefi isn't classy enough to appreciate post-impressionism.
posted by fuq at 6:47 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Women with waists the size of their wrists, standing like they're trying to take a shit on a swingset.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:47 PM on June 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


Bah. More internet philistinism.

Liefeld is a genius. He seems to intuitively grasp that the connection between image and words in comics is far more tenuous and unstable than most people realize. His images resonate like those of Chauvet; they don't so much tell the story as they evoke it, boldly dismissing the mundane expectations of the eye to present something sharp and dynamic directly to the brain. All those lines practically vibrate on the page and it really seems like at any moment the whole might collapse into real chaos because nothing like that can stand for long. This is, I think, what comicbook stories look like: harsh, unstable, blunt, and with all the "characters" seeming to be ultimately, frighteningly similar. (See his early X-Force and you will understand that comicbook stories aren't made of characters so much they're made purely of phrases and actions. Characters are an illusion.)

And so much is owed to him; he's the modern-day Picasso who liberated comic artists from the tyranny of the real so that they might finally enjoy the freedom of abstraction and the wonder of the impossible. It's Liefeld's will to atomize -- to question and dramatize absolutely everything -- to break absolutely everything down, to the point where a body isn't any kind of harmonious whole but an untangled, binding of arms and legs and bone into painful, awkward poses, to the point where light explodes off every edge, every blade, every glare -- that is the essence of his genius I think. He's not an artist so much as he is a revealer, perhaps even a scientist, and there's this sense that he's not creating something so much as he's exposing something. He's creating by destroying. And if you read his work there's this overwhelming desire not to read it but to quickly flip through and see what fantastic and ridiculous and impossible images he's somehow managed to uncover from the stone that he carves from.

It's pretty fucking awesome.

And yes, as all travelers understand, you can never have enough pouches.
posted by nixerman at 6:51 PM on June 15, 2012 [15 favorites]


Nothing in his profile tells me that he is an artist himself. Nothing tells me he's qualified to criticise Liefeld with a flippant "drawing is hard" line. Can he do better? Maybe, but I haven't seen anything that proves it.

I'm not a chef, but I know when I'm being fed a plate of shit.
posted by mhoye at 6:52 PM on June 15, 2012 [63 favorites]


What has big tits and becomes a violent juggernaut when enraged? The fantasy life of millions of young men. Liefeld does this pretty well.
posted by wobh at 6:55 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess what I'm saying is yeah, Liefeld is a pretty bad artist, but to me, many of the criticisms in this article read more like "uninformed douchebag criticises guy comic-book fans love to hate on the internet for easy laughs and page views" rather than "peer offers critique of another artist and does so with humor." And I think that ultimately diminishes what's on offer here.

Are only artists allowed to criticize artists? And how do you prove you're enough of an artist to criticize art?

Liefeld is a professional artist. He gets paid to draw. Part of that job is learning how to draw basic things, like feet. He is bad at his job. Maybe he can't help it, or maybe he's too lazy to try harder, but there's tons of good artists..possibly including you!...who could do it better. Who would care enough to learn how to draw feet. But instead we get endless iterations of hidden feet and thigh pouches. No one forced Liefeld to become a comic book artist and draw feet. He could have become a landscape artist and never have to draw a human form again. But here he is, still in business, while lots of much better artists are not.
posted by emjaybee at 6:57 PM on June 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


He (still) can't draw even after 25 years. His stuff is TERRIBLE. Little kids who submitted envelope art into videogame magazines can draw better.
posted by reiichiroh at 6:58 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


At some point this weekend I am going to get drunk and accidentally order some superfluous pouches on etsy. I am preemptively embarrassed for myself.
posted by elizardbits at 6:58 PM on June 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


Artw: "Everything bad people say about Liefelds art and writing is true, but I read his peice on how to deal with haters and I can't help liking the guy.

/turns cap backwards in defiance.
"

Metafilter: From the man that gave Cap boobs.
posted by symbioid at 6:59 PM on June 15, 2012


while lots of much better artists are not.

Uh, I mean "while many better artists are not." Damn you Captain Morgan.
posted by emjaybee at 7:01 PM on June 15, 2012


I'm not a chef, but I know when I'm being fed a plate of shit.
posted by mhoye at 12:52 PM on June 16

Are only artists allowed to criticize artists? And how do you prove you're enough of an artist to criticize art?
posted by emjaybee at 12:57 PM on June 16

I'm not saying Mr SundownMotel has no right to express his opinion on Liefeld's work because he's not an artist himself. It's the manner in which he expresses his criticism.

Flippant attacks like "drawing is hard" when it seems like he has no idea that it is actually hard to do it well is what has rubbed me the wrong way here.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:01 PM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nothing in his profile tells me that he is an artist himself. Nothing tells me he's qualified to criticise Liefeld with a flippant "drawing is hard" line. Can he do better? Maybe, but I haven't seen anything that proves it.

I will accept this as a line of reasoning the exact second I hear any artist (or athlete, for that matter) say, "I know that was a totally sincere and non-backhanded compliment, but you're not a professional artist and you don't know how hard it is to be good at this, so I can't really accept it."
posted by Etrigan at 7:02 PM on June 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


Oh my god -- is that supposed to be a coherent secne? It looks like a bunch of images pasted together in some kind of collage. In particular, the female character seems to be seems to have been pasted from two separate images with two different vanishing points. Her hips are like 3 times the width of her boobs, and they (her hips) seem to be attached directly to her shoulder blades.
posted by delmoi at 7:04 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also rebooted Prophet is one of the most awesomest things ever. Very little to do with Liefeld bar the title, of course.
posted by Artw at 7:08 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dude does seem to have some problems with proportions. Tiny heads that perspective ought to make big. Impossibly long legs. And, of course, the feet.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:13 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haters gonna hate.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 7:18 PM on June 15, 2012


As someone who draws from time to time I feel like I can make a ...somewhat informed opinion on Mr Liefeld. His problem is that he's drawing figures based on a formula from pre-made parts (cylanders, torsos, etc) rather than drawing them from referencing actual humans.

I think this came up before. In a lot of "how to draw comics" books (at least the one I was given for a class) you construct figures from cylanders and other easy to draw shapes (not unlike an action figure is constructed from parts) and then fill in the details (muscles, pouches, what have you)

Granted, this is a bad way to do it. Instead I opted to pay attention to my other drawing class, and learned by drawing from models and gesture drawing sessions. This has the effect to where you can sort of have an idea of what a body can and can't do in a given context and over time you can pose figures pretty naturally.

That said, I've tried to construct comics before, and it's really kind of hard to get a coherent plot, lay out the panels correctly, and draw everything perfectly.
posted by hellojed at 7:19 PM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


There are some things of which I will never tire: a good cup of coffee, the sound of rain, a cold beer after a hard day, and hating on Rob Liefeld's work.

And I say that from atop a stack of Deadpool comics.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:22 PM on June 15, 2012 [9 favorites]


"Hi, my name is Rob Liefeld. For Halloween, I'm dressing up as Jae Lee."

Heh. That one made me laugh. A lot.
posted by Artw at 7:25 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Personally, I think there is war in all the pouches in Liefeld's drawings. That would explain all the shouting and grimacing and glowing eyes and carrying on.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:26 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Hi, my name is Rob Liefeld. For Halloween, I'm dressing up as Jae Lee."

That one made me think of the Catwoman cover where it was redone as a blob.
posted by immlass at 7:27 PM on June 15, 2012


Has Liefield ever responded to the endless hate directed his way?
posted by codacorolla at 7:27 PM on June 15, 2012


Hmm. Not enough people remember how comics, especially over at Marvel, where they didn't put much stock in things like "art", looked before Lee, Liefield and McFarlane.

Byrne and Miller and BWS were almost a decade past their peak by then, and utterly full of Marvel's crap, but selling themselves to yet another publisher - Byrne to DC, Miller to Dark Horse, BWS to whoever. Then along comes Liefeld, and Liefeld don't give a shit. He has a bunch of old Kirby covers and a collection of Akiras and a stack of JRSr Spideys and a longbox of Sal Buscema Hulks and out of the way!

He's a man who's imagination and ambition continually outpace his talent... but sometimes, you really need that.

Also, why doesn't anyone give JRJr any shit over using a T-square to draw human anatomy? The only thing on his faces that aren't rectangles are the irises, which are always perfect circles regardless of perspective. How about Larry Stroman's super-booties? Sam Keith's Sandman work?

To be perfectly, bluntly honest, there is a strain of anti-labor resentment in Liefeld-hate-fest. He told the bosses to shove it and did his own damn thing, and when they wouldn't give him the credit or control he deserved, he started his own damn company, and took the best illustrative talent with him. That is more than Kirby or Kane did - they didn't have the guts to do it. Without Liefeld's Image Comics, there is no Astro City. There is no Top Ten or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. There is no The MaXx.

Yes, he can't draw feet and hasn't figured out wrists or hips, and believes hair styles stopped evolving in 1989. He thinks garters with pouches are a thing. Still. The man moved mountains.

Respect.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:31 PM on June 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Has Liefield ever responded to the endless hate directed his way?

Artw's link above has Liefeld giving a response to it.
posted by frimble at 7:33 PM on June 15, 2012


Has Liefield ever responded to the endless hate directed his way?

He has, but it was difficult to hear him, as he was speaking from the bottom of a swimming pool filled with money.

(Artw linked above Liefeld's response. It is replete with grammatical errors and an abiding love for Night Ranger, which doesn't actually surprise me one bit.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:34 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd have more faith in "Rob Liefeld is soooooooo nice" if he wasn't kind of a homophobe, and kind of sexist.

Nice doesn't get you very far in my book compared to those two things.
posted by FritoKAL at 7:37 PM on June 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


He is bad at his job.

Actually, no. Ultimately, his job is to sell comic books. He's done pretty well at that.

I was never a huge fan of the man's work, but the relentless attacks on Rob Liefeld seem disproportionate to whatever artistic sins he's committed. They're just getting tiresome to the point where it's not funny anymore.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:39 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


@Effigy2000 When he says "drawing is hard" I don't sense that he doesn't think that; quite to the contrary, he's saying it *is* hard and Liefeld is too lazy to learn the thing that he purports to do for a living.

This guy's main argument as I read it is that Liefeld is objectively bad, he's intellectually dishonest about why he does what he does, and that it's a shame because lots of more talented folks never get a tenth of the shot he's had. The guy writing these things is also really funny. Besides, would it make any difference if he began the piece with a 400 word bio about all the comics he's drawn and all the accolades he's amassed?

I'm not a comic nerd as such, but I've seen lots and lots of comic art because of the circles I travel in. Liefeld has no understanding of anatomy, he has the smallest bag of poses possible—his stuff is just a mess. There really aren't many serious comic artists that dispute that. I also contend that you can be a comics appreciator—never having drawn a line in your life—and still have enough of an understanding of the form to know when someone doesn't get it. I've never made wine before, but I have some good ideas about what's good and what isn't.

I also reject the notion that the majority of comic readers are sex starved chronic masturbators and that explains Liefeld away somehow. No one over the age of 12 is attracted to his stuff, and the way comics are marketed now skips over 12 year olds anyway. The last comic shop I was in looked like a Crate and Barrel inside. There wasn't anything fappy about it.

Also? I automatically jetpack the fuck away from anyone who is so unaware of themselves as to trot out the "haters gonna hate" (or its ilk) trope as *any* sort of defense of their shitty behavior/work/attitude/whatever. Pointing to the pile of money people gave you for doing something lots of other people thought was shitty is also not a defense.
posted by littlerobothead at 7:40 PM on June 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


Hmm. Not enough people remember how comics, especially over at Marvel, where they didn't put much stock in things like "art", looked before Lee, Liefield and McFarlane.

I was over the other side of the pond watching the rise of Simon Bisley, which was it's own thing.
posted by Artw at 7:41 PM on June 15, 2012


Flippant attacks like "drawing is hard" when it seems like he has no idea that it is actually hard to do it well is what has rubbed me the wrong way here.

I don't get it. Drawing is hard, and Liefeld isn't doing a good job—shouldn't you be getting upset at Liefeld, rather than his critics? Of course it's actually hard to do. How does that invalidate the criticism of someone pointing out that another person is doing a bad job?
posted by kenko at 7:53 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was over the other side of the pond watching the rise of Simon Bisley, which was it's own thing.

I was a teenager hooked on spottily imported Dredd and Martial Law by an anti-racist skinhead, had just discovered Jane's Addiction and the Pixies and Primus, and then Lobo happened.

How the hell did DC allow Bisley and Giffen to come together? It was like both hemispheres of the Demon Core coming into contact. A flash of heat and light, and then you're all dead. Also, they were only 99¢! (Seven or eight bucks today. The average title was $1.25, then.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:53 PM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


LIEEEEEFEEEELD
WE MEET AGAIN, MY OLD NEMESIS

No no, I keed, I keed. I don't know who I'd ever have as much fun hating if Rob Liefeld ever went away. He's the memesource responsible for like 90% of the NINETIES! GRIMDARK! ANTIHERO!! Aesthetic that I so, so much love unironically / love mocking unreservedly / love mocking my unironic love ironically.

Not only is Liefeld's artistic...ish...ness unparalleled, he has this GIFT for producing characters who are so amazingly, blazingly over the top and yet shallow that it's easy to hand them over to Real Daddies who can fill in the character sketch with "SCREW IT, FIRE EVERYTHING" glory. In my perfect world there is a creator table with Liefeld at one end dreaming up characters and at the other end (behind soundproof glass) Warren Ellis & a case of cheap-vodka-and-Red-Bull dreaming up how to troll with said characters.

Because in the end, without Liefeld, there would be no Deadpool or Cable or Shatterstar(/Rictor); and more importantly Deadpool would not HAVE ALL THE POUCHES and Cable would not have this M.C. Escher gun, and the world would be a lesser place. I can't imagine how sad and empty my life would be without Cable & Deadpool in it, and I don't want to.

So here's to you, Rob Liefeld; for all the comic-book anatomy and all the accidentally awesome characters, I'm in your debt. As long as you remember that the characters are now legally emancipated and per the terms of intergalactic custody agreement, you are to remain at a respectful 30-yard distance at all times. Seriously, Rob, sticky hands off.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:55 PM on June 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


I spent a lot of time during my early teenage years drawing ridiculously proportioned characters who struck absurd, jelly-boned action poses while appearing to leisure-dive in midair. And yes, their bodies were full of unholy angles from some Lovecraftian dimension, and they had crazy intense hatching and bizarre, inconsistent lens flares. And yes, they had arsenals of ridiculous fetishistic weapons that seemed to be stuck to their bodies with Velcro tape. Oh, and pouch everything.

Little did I know that I was subconsciously channeling the spirit of a great comic book artist.
posted by Nomyte at 7:57 PM on June 15, 2012


it's easy to hand them over to Real Daddies who can fill in the character sketch with "SCREW IT, FIRE EVERYTHING" glory.

Oh, yeah, I forgot... without Liefeld, Ed McGuiness and Joe Kelley and Blind Al don't happen, either.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:01 PM on June 15, 2012


Yo Dawg! Rob Liefeld heard you liked muscles so he put some muscles in your muscles so you can muscle while you musclin'. Also, tiny heads. Now, on to the stack of Marshal Law books I bought off of eBay for $3.00...
posted by MikeMc at 8:03 PM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't get it. Drawing is hard, and Liefeld isn't doing a good job—shouldn't you be getting upset at Liefeld, rather than his critics?
posted by kenko at 1:53 PM on June 16

I was angry at this particular critic for implying drawing is easy and because its so easy Liefeld must really suck because, hey, drawing is easy. However, as littlerobothead has said, perhaps he was being sincere and I just read it the wrong way.

If so, perhaps that's the problem with the article; that the whole thing is chock full of so many attacks and overwrought sarcasm that a (possible) backhanded compliment is hard to distingush from all the LIEFELD SUCKS AMIRITE? .
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:15 PM on June 15, 2012


without Liefeld, Ed McGuiness and Joe Kelley and Blind Al don't happen, either

or Gail Simone and the Rhino on a keychain, or Fabian "Cable & Deadpool could write a rad bromance" Nicieza and Bob, Agent of HYDRA!
posted by nicebookrack at 8:16 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


And then there's Doom Force, by Grant Morrison, MBE.
posted by Artw at 8:26 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I drew like that. In Junior High School. But even my faces weren't... that way.
posted by Splunge at 8:31 PM on June 15, 2012


I would like to state, for the record, that I realized Rob Liefeld and his shitty characters were the worst thing to happen to Marvel since Idon'tknowhat right when they first showed up.

That's right: I've been hatin' on Liefeld since before hatin' on Liefeld was cool.

And I'll tell you what else: I've hated on Millar since before Civil War was even over.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:32 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh my misspent youth. I have SO many of these. WHYYYYYY



Also, when Stephen Platt took over the art for Prophet it blew my mind. Although I never could figure out how a guy could get impaled on a dozen spikes and still run around and fight.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:35 PM on June 15, 2012


Oh my god, this one. What the hell.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:41 PM on June 15, 2012


Oh my god, this one. What the hell.

Look, Nate and Wade's space-marriage was legal on that planet, so Wade can bride-carry his hubby on the honeymoon however he wants!
posted by nicebookrack at 9:07 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there where I step in and declare that this is how I assumed comic books are meant to look?

*Goes back to reading Les Miserables.* Yea, haters gonna hate.
posted by Jimbob at 9:14 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Les Miserables? You mean that videogame?
posted by nicebookrack at 9:22 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I should have known there was a post on here about Liefeld. Every time there is, my husband spends hours laughing about Liefeld's artwork and calling out all the errors. I was wondering why he was talking about it tonight, and now I know. Thanks on his behalf.
posted by kendrak at 9:25 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I actually yelped with pain when I saw this. Women, even fictional women in a Liefeld universe, can damn well dress any way they please: pouches or no pouches, bra or no bra. But would large-breasted women whose days are filled with fighting bad guys and good guys and rogue shower heads actually choose to wear those bizarrely tensioned swathes of plastic wrap? Good God, their racks look like giant misplaced scrotums. They can do better.
posted by maudlin at 9:30 PM on June 15, 2012


He's a better artist than I am.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:34 PM on June 15, 2012


And I'll tell you what else: I've hated on Millar since before Civil War was even over.

I've just read a bunch of his Dredd stories - everything was up from there.
posted by Artw at 9:42 PM on June 15, 2012


As someone who has drawn their whole life(albeit not in the super hero comics style), my own very subjective opinion is that Liefeld is a truly dreadful artist.

There's an inept, though at the same time overdone, foul rottenness to the enterprise that seems to be congruent with so much of the pop culture of the day. Along with all the funny things about his hapless short fingered rendering pointed out in these threads there's the very weird relation to space his figures have. That is, there is no relation. Figure/ground Rob, figure/ground.

Compare this by Liefeld to this by Moebius to see what's possible with figure/ground. And yes, I know it's terribly unfair to use Moebius as an example, just like it's terribly unfair that Liefeld has made so much cash from his grotesqueries that he can buy the goddam moon.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 10:19 PM on June 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just waiting for all of this to be revealed as one of David Lynch's odd, inscrutable media projects.
posted by The Whelk at 10:37 PM on June 15, 2012


with all those fpps about terrible/sexist comic book artists here on mefi recently I wonder if we can get an appreciation post about some good comic art. Is there a blog collecting great cover art? One or two positive examples? I really like comics and would love to see some of what folks consider good.

I know it has to be out there, but I get that it's just way more easy to be negative.
posted by ts;dr at 12:58 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


(on preview: Yes, Moebius would be a good example. Quenched consciousness is a tumblr blog collecting his art. (previously). also: Otomblr with the art and comics of Katsuhiro Otomo. Are there similar ones for US comics?)
posted by ts;dr at 1:27 AM on June 16, 2012


Artw: "Everything bad people say about Liefelds art and writing is true, but I read his peice on how to deal with haters and I can't help liking the guy.

/turns cap backwards in defiance.
"

I dunno, he seems to be saying that the reason one of the few things that most comic fans can agree is that his art is horrible, and it isn't because of anything he has actually drawn! It must be a problem with haters.

Also, he constantly uses an apostophed s to make things plural. And he's writing for DC now.
posted by ShawnStruck at 1:28 AM on June 16, 2012


I remember when Rob seemed like a breath of fresh air .... six months later I was no longer reading New Mutants.

These two facts are not unrelated. I spent the rest of the next 15 years not reading comics because the 90s seemed so awful.

And now they are coming back.
posted by Mezentian at 1:39 AM on June 16, 2012


I think I can officially say that I've hit a new low when I'm inspired by the grammatical chaos that is Rob Liefeld's diatribe on haters.

I can't stand his art. I think he needs a college composition class. But I appreciate his determination and drive.

I'm going to go slam a Dew and wear a backwards hat now. If you need me, I'll be in the back, blasting some Nickelback and Night Ranger with my hottt new girlfriend, Pamela Anderson.
posted by donquixote at 2:37 AM on June 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Someone should point him at Terry Moore's books, like "How to Draw Beautiful" where he discusses Phi and phi and all that.
posted by mikelieman at 2:46 AM on June 16, 2012


with all those fpps about terrible/sexist comic book artists here on mefi recently I wonder if we can get an appreciation post about some good comic art. Is there a blog collecting great cover art? One or two positive examples? I really like comics and would love to see some of what folks consider good.

I can't post another FPP so soon, but check out ComicsAlliance's Best. Art. Ever. series.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:00 AM on June 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


My story: As a preadolescent in 1980, knowing next to nothing about comic books other than yay comic books!, I decided I wanted to subscribe to some titles. I'd vaguely heard that Marvel was better than DC, so I picked two titles pretty much at random and started subscriptions. I happened to pick Daredevil and X-Men.

So, I basically started my life as a comic book reader with the Dark Phoenix saga, and shortly thereafter got Frank Miller's run on Daredevil. I became a faithful reader of selected Marvel titles for the rest of the decade, even though it took the slow percolation of years before I recognized names like Chris Claremont and Frank Miller and realized that these books had authors and that who the authors were made a difference. (Hey, I was like nine years old, OK?)

When New Mutants came out, I started subscribing to that, because it was a new X-Men title before there were 13,000,000 new X-Men titles, so it seemed like it might be fun. At that point I still didn't know anything about artists, really. The first time I noticed an artist was a couple years into New Mutants when the art started getting very strange. I checked and it was by a guy named Bill Sienkiewicz. Odd for a comic book, but I didn't dislike it, and kept subscribing.

Years passed, and as the eighties headed towards a close, I was getting more and more dissatisfied with my comics. In X-Men, everyone and his kid brother was suddenly a mutant, and there were all these new characters that just didn't resonate with me and I couldn't bring myself to care about. I'd long ago stopped bothering with the post-Frank Miller Daredevil.

Then one day I got a copy of New Mutants, looked at the cover, and my first thought was, are they fighting some kind of reality-warping enemy?

Then I opened it up and thought, is this a joke?

I had no idea who Rob Liefeld was. I still didn't pay much attention to the artists' names, even though I was now aware they made a difference. I'm sure I must have checked to see who drew this thing, but it didn't make any impression and I promptly forgot his name. Only years later did I have any idea who this guy was.

But I was done. For me, the art in that issue was the final nail in the coffin. My subscriptions ran out and I didn't renew them. My decade as a Marvel reader was over.

Not long after, a friend of mine who knew I read comics asked if I had checked out DC's new line of comics.

DC? said my teenage self. Don't they just do the silly boring superheroes with the repetiive plots and the ridiculous villains and all that?

No, no, she said. They've got this thing called "Vertigo" which is totally different. Here, read this new one, it's called Sandman.

And thus began my life as a comics reader in the 90's.

So, not as an art critic, not as a sophisticated comics insider, not as anything at that time but some kid who read comics ... I now know that Rob Liefeld sold millions of copies of comics and was a pioneer of independent comics publications and is apparently a nice guy ... but to me, his art sucked badly enough to finally destroy the last vestiges of a decade's worth of naive brand loyalty.
posted by kyrademon at 4:53 AM on June 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hate on Liefield all you want for his art, but he (and all the other 90's Marvel/Image guys) deserve mad props for what they managed to do for creator's rights and labor. Both Marvel & DC now have creator owned imprints (Ikon and Vertigo) because of what Liefield & company did. When we talk about how The Big Two screw creators, it is almost exclusively about what they did to creators prior to Image. Would we all be pitching about how Jack Kirby got screwed if had the opportunity to make creator owned content for Marvel in addition to his work for hire stuff? Alan Moore would have nothing to bitch about DC if the current Vertigo model had been in place back in 1985. Yes, Liefield drew shitty comics, but they sold a crap ton, and once the Big Two saw it was in fact possible for their top tier artists to make a metric shit ton of money on their own AND cut into the market share, they had no choice but to offer talent the opportunity to own the rights to al least SOME of their work.
posted by KingEdRa at 5:36 AM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Liefield is, like me, basically a living, breathing proof of the "pick any two" of three pillars of getting steady contract work:

1. Be awesome
2. Be easy to work with
3. Be on time

Liefield is clearly a 2,3 contractor. Myself, I am a 1,2 contractor. And I know plenty of 1,3 contractors.

There are no 1,2,3 contractors, by the way. They all quit a long time ago to tour the world on their fifty metre yachts.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:01 AM on June 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


So I was re-reading the first part of this article from 5 years ago, and came to the cover showing someone holding a sword and a bad guy reflected in the blade. I thought to myself, "It's five years later and people are STILL doing this exact same cover! I just saw one like this in the latest Previews!" Then something occurred to me and I verified that the recent cover was the cover to Deathstroke #12, drawn by one R. Liefeld.
posted by Legomancer at 7:08 AM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


A few weeks ago, I torrented the complete run of "Prophet". I'm enjoying the hell out of the new run Brandon Graham is writing, and was curious as to just how crazy his stuff is compared to the original Leifeld works.

And omg it was so not the same book at all. Guns, giant over muscled dudes, lots of little lines everywhere. And tons of death. None of these are really things I want in my comics. Never have, even when I was an angsty teenage dude.

But there was one thing in "Prophet" that endeared me to Leifeld. Prophet's little buddy. Who is named "Kirby". As in Jack Kirby. He's a straight-talkin', cigar-chompin', gun-havin' sawed-off little parcel of attitude. And that made me stop taking it seriously, at all.

I mean I still wouldn't read this normally. Stories about men who shoot everything and call themselves "Bloodsomething" really aren't my thing. But it made me giggle along with it instead of at it.

I'm off the Leifeld hate parade. I have better things to do with my time than hate on the man for weird anatomy. I perpetrate worse distortions all the time in my freaky animators style.
posted by egypturnash at 8:28 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


someone holding a sword and a bad guy reflected in the blade

Wow, you're not wrong! At least his colorist has gotten cleaner in the last decade.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:45 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have better things to do with my time than hate on the man for weird anatomy.

I wouldn't say I hate on him for weird anatomy as much as I can't read his books any more without my back aching when I look at the women.
posted by immlass at 8:58 AM on June 16, 2012


Then one day I got a copy of New Mutants, looked at the cover, and my first thought was, are they fighting some kind of reality-warping enemy?

I suspect you remember wrong.
There was Claremont until 50, and then soon after there was Louise S writing (which was 90% shit, matching the both Guice artwork), Bird Boy died because CROSSOVER! and then CROSSOVER! and then Liefleld.

After Brett Belvins Rob was a nice change.
posted by Mezentian at 9:05 AM on June 16, 2012


with all those fpps about terrible/sexist comic book artists here on mefi recently I wonder if we can get an appreciation post about some good comic art. Is there a blog collecting great cover art? One or two positive examples?

Scans-Daily is heavy with the snark, but it's also great for calling out the squee-worthy art. Off the top of my personal head, I wanna have all of Rafael Albuquerque's art babies. Check out his run on Blue Beetle for women with bodies that accept physics gracefully (and who are awesome). Brenda Del Vecchio I love you foreverrrrr
posted by nicebookrack at 9:44 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, I'll freely admit the New Mutants had been abominable for a good long time when I stopped bothering with them, Mezentian. It's not like Liefeld single-handedly destroyed years of otherwise nonstop happy reading with his bad artwork. Like I said, I'd been getting disaffected for a while, and he was more the final coffin nail. I was reading the few titles I was still following more out of habit than pleasure by then, even the X-Men, which I'm pretty sure Claremont was still writing in the late 80's.

Sure, comics at that time were ripe for a change and a new direction. And Liefeld was a change and a new direction. But it was one I was fundamentally uninterested in. Legions of fans at the time disagreed with me. But I didn't find him a "nice change", even after the awfulness that had preceded him. The introduction of Cable etc. just kind of made me go, "Really? This is where it's going now? You know what? Forget it."

The change and new direction I went with instead was what was going on in Vertigo (and later from there into indie comics, and finding some older stuff I'd missed out on like Zot!, and so on.)

I wouldn't say Liefeld was worse than what immediately preceded him, no. But he replaced a paradigm that had gotten tired and directionless with one that simply never interested me in the first place.
posted by kyrademon at 9:56 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bret Blevins is actually quite a good artist to compare Liefeld too. Both have that exagerrated anatomy going for them, where their artwork is so stylised that if these were real people you'd be very concerned about their obviously broken spines and such. The difference is that with Blevins it's his style and there is a basic competency underlying it, while with Liefeld you get the impression it's just a bag of tricks and his style is less a conscious decision and more just the fact that he can't draw any other way.

The same goes for some of the other incredibly stylised artists named earlier, like Sam Kieth or Larry Stroman or John Romita, Jr. Somebody asked them apart from Liefeld, when each of them also draws completely unrecognisable human figures, but the thing is that each of them has basic things like composition and storytelling sorted and Liefeld for the most part hasn't.

Even if you like the hyperkinetic, overmuscled, overpouched and overgunned Liefeld style, there are artists better at it than him.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:30 AM on June 16, 2012


What I find weird are the male faces. Are they, or are they not, right out of Tom of Finland? So feminine. In fact, isn't a lot of this really gay? I know homo eroticism is pretty much in the DNA of comics, but doesn't he take it to a new level?
posted by Trochanter at 10:39 AM on June 16, 2012


I feel like the Tom of Finland aesthetic most most fully explored in Ranxerox.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:02 AM on June 16, 2012


The Myth of Sexy Superman and the Search for Superhero Beefcake [Op-Ed]

YOU'RE WELCOME.
posted by The Whelk at 11:04 AM on June 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


It occurs to me that Rob Liefeld might well be the human personification of comic sans.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:13 AM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


So I was re-reading the first part of this article from 5 years ago, and came to the cover showing someone holding a sword and a bad guy reflected in the blade.

Number 14 on the old list, and re-used as number 7 on the new list. (It's X-Force (2004) #2.)

And another thing: for number 9 on the new list (Captain America (1996) #3), they complain that the figure in the back is 12 feet tall — which is unrealistic, sure, but at least it's unrealism in service to the dramatic purpose of the picture, that the big bad guy is big and bad and Cap is really in danger this time, for sure — but they don't even mention how Cap's head and neck is attached to the wrong place on his torso.
posted by stebulus at 11:26 AM on June 16, 2012


I'm not really on the Liefeld hatewagon, myself. Yes, his style combines terribly overwrought features with a basic lack of artistic incompetence, and that hasn't changed much over the last couple of decades. Yes, there are better artists out there who go begging for work (sometimes literally) while Rob continues to pull in the tall coin. But, as MartinWisse points out above, other, better artists do that sort of exaggeration (heck, Jack Kirby did--THAT'S RIGHT I MENTIONED KIRBY AND LIEFELD IN THE SAME COMMENT JUST BACK UP THAT TRACTOR-TRAILER OF HATERADE RIGHT OVER THERE THANKS), and other, better artists are sometimes lacking in things like basic anatomy--Bernie Wrightson, for instance. (He's not egregiously bad, but I've seen more than one drawing of his where he has people with muscles where people don't have muscles; other artists do this, too.) It's not just one thing like LOL THIGH POUCHES (the first time I saw those was in Miller's The Dark Knight Returns), it's the overall effect.

And, again as others have noted, the real fault is in the comics readership that likes things turned up to 11. Chris Claremont did that for writers, where he kept bringing in long-lost relatives and characters (almost inevitably female) slowly being corrupted by creepy psychic/mystic chessmasters, and the sales of X-Men kept climbing. One of the Liefeld drawings is actually a collaboration between him and Stephen Platt (who sometimes signs his work with the charming contraction S.Platt), and while Platt is actually a better artist--some of his own work shows a certain flair that Liefeld has never had--most of the published stuff that I've seen of his is an even more exaggerated Liefeldesque cavalcade of muscles and weapons and spikes and stuff underneath the dudes' skin that you can't even tell if it's tendons or veins or what. They're giving the people what they want.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:44 AM on June 16, 2012


Now it's going to turn out Liefeld is some secret spiritual son of the Expressionists. Heh.
posted by Iosephus at 11:47 AM on June 16, 2012


I was over the other side of the pond watching the rise of Simon Bisley, which was it's own thing.

Indeed it was. From that point onwards, the 2000AD artist catalogue meant that any artist who could emulate Bisley was guaranteed a job. We did get the likes of Steve Yeowell and Chris Weston as compensation, mind.
posted by panboi at 1:23 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whatever sins he's committed, I forgive Liefield because a thread on this exact same topic at Fark led to me discovering Phil Noto whose art I am now deeply in lurve with.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:28 PM on June 16, 2012


Not all the people, Halloween Jack. I mean, I was a fan of the X-Men. I was a fan if the damn CHRIS CLAREMONT X-Men. Those were MY X-Men, you know? But Chris Claremont's own eventual excesses soured me on them, and then the Rob Liefeld era drove me away from superhero comics entirely for a long, long time.

But yes, there were certainly a mllion fans who were getting exactly what they wanted from them.
posted by kyrademon at 2:08 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


From that point onwards, the 2000AD artist catalogue meant that any artist who could emulate Bisley was guaranteed a job.

That, and a switch to color printing and a lot of painted art, led to the 90s being what fans refer to as "the brown era".

They were dark, dark times.
posted by Artw at 2:15 PM on June 16, 2012


I was a fan if the damn CHRIS CLAREMONT X-Men

Everything since has been pale imitation.
posted by Artw at 2:16 PM on June 16, 2012


Liefeld spawned a host of imitators. The lot of them nearly turned me off comics in the 90's, because beyond the anatomical improbability of their characters, I just found the drawings too hard to parse. I found my reading thrown by the artwork: WHAT is this a picture of, exactly?

I'm a big fan of story and characterization. I learned to read early because I was curious about what exactly was happening in Classics Illustrated's Midsummer Night's Dream when I was four. The drawings were so clear, even a little kid had a sense of the story's arc. For flipping SHAKESPEARE. I read comics consistently as I grew up. I learned that you can have a pretty awesome comic with few if any words, so long as the art tells a story. When Liefeld was The Big Thing, I was actually working in a comics shop, and I came pretty close to throwing in the towel. I felt then, and still feel, that the art and story working together is the whole POINT of a comic. When the drawing gets in the way of the story, there's a problem. And if it's a style that spreads, it's a problem that can ultimately harm the whole industry, when the backlash hits.

I'm sure there are some people who enjoy Rob Liefeld's work, and he certainly has a right to draw as much as he likes. I just won't be looking at it; I'll be spending my money on some of the really great artists out there.
posted by theplotchickens at 3:16 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


In case anyone missed the Comics Alliance link above re: Liefeld-character Shatterstar coming out as bisexual and Liefeld's over/reaction to same, I reproduce part of the article here, because it is glorious:
Rob Liefeld Says Gay Shatterstar 'Sucks,' Plans to 'Undo' His Sexuality

A new "X-Factor" comic by Peter David recently revealed that Shatterstar, a previously rat-tailed warrior from a gladiatorial alternate dimension, was gay or bisexual after he shared a surprise kiss with male teammate Rictor.

Rob Liefeld -- Shatterstar's creator who used to draw him as the pouch-adorned anatomical curiosity depicted left -- was very upset about this development, and had an announcement to make on his forums:

"As the guy that created, designed and wrote his first dozen appearances, Shatterstar is not gay. Sorry. Can't wait to someday undo this... Shatterstar is akin to Maximus in Gladiator. He's a warrior, a Spartan, and not a gay one." When another commenter added that numerous writers that followed him had developed the character in very different ways, Liefeld responded, "Your opinion doesn't change the fact that it sucks."

Oh Rob Liefeld, don't let anyone tell you that you aren't a treasure.
Peter David's response to this response is beautiful, beautiful.
posted by nicebookrack at 3:26 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was a big fan of Simon Bisley when he started doing ABC Warriors. It just worked, you know? (And I preferred him to the artist he was alternating with, SMS, at the time).

2000 AD might have gone wrong soon after, but I really liked the way each time you finished one story the next four pages were a completely different style.

All Liefield characters look (and act) the same, but with costumes and codenames chosen at random. It gets tedious to compare Youngblood #1 and Hawk & Dove #1 and see nothing has changed.
posted by Mezentian at 4:41 PM on June 16, 2012


I just read the 2007 Liefeld Hate-o-thon on Friday so this went down cold and easy. So great. I can't believe this guy gets paid top dollar for drawings I'd hesitate to praise a middle-schooler for.
posted by DU at 6:16 PM on June 16, 2012


I'm not sure who I despise most: Rob Liefeld, Rob Granito or Thomas Kinkade.
posted by reiichiroh at 6:58 PM on June 17, 2012


Body Images and Realism In Art: Notes Towards a Transvaluation of Liefeldian Values via Crooked Timber.

"But here’s the thing: like all good people, I love Jack Kirby and loath Rob Liefeld. But most of the criticisms of Liefeld – namely, it’s so, so anatomically wrong! – could be applied to Kirby. Why do all his characters look like someone poured a pot of ink down their foreheads? What are those things on the women’s cheeks that might be cheekbones but aren’t? But in the one case I feel affection and admiration, in the other, contempt and revulsion."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:05 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


When a guy is clearly incompetent and then does things you don't understand, he's probably just being stupid again.

When a guy is very competent and then does things you don't understand, he's probably just being a genius again.
posted by DU at 8:26 AM on June 18, 2012


Busty Girl comics could be talking about Liefeld here (not sure about the story part, though).
posted by immlass at 9:21 AM on June 18, 2012


"Sam Keith's Sandman work?"

IIRC, didn't Keith quit after the first couple of issues because he felt his art style wasn't right for the series (though Gaiman had approached him specifically)?

People rag on Liefeld precisely because (he seems like) he's the kind of fellow to whom that line of thought would never, ever occur.

Like in that Between Two Ferns ep. when Z.G. asks Bruce Willis: "Did you know some actors turn down roles?"
posted by Eideteker at 12:35 PM on June 20, 2012


LIEFELD & GRAHAM Talk PROPHET vs. PROPHET
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on June 30, 2012


People rag on Liefeld precisely because (he seems like) he's the kind of fellow to whom that line of thought would never, ever occur.

FWIW I don't think I've ever seen Liefeld work on a project that wasn't in line with his whole, um, thing.
posted by Artw at 1:18 PM on June 30, 2012


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