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Previously on Superman...
September 7, 2008 8:38 AM   Subscribe

All Star Superman in eleven panels
posted by Artw (48 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Can't have a post linking to iloverobliefeld.blogspot.com without mentioning:

The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings
posted by Mikey-San at 8:54 AM on September 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


And, from the same blog, All Star Batman in Nine Goddamn Panels.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:09 AM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Am I missing something? Is this supposed to be ironic? Or funny? Or depressing? Or...
posted by wfrgms at 10:30 AM on September 7, 2008


Am I missing something? Is this supposed to be ironic? Or funny? Or depressing? Or...

You're reading too much into it. It's just a summary of the story so far in issues 1 through 11 of the comic book All Star Superman. I'm not sure it works without having read the issues, but you do get the major points there.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:34 AM on September 7, 2008


You know, the idea is clever and all, but I just don't think it works; I recognize what's happening in each frame and some of the context, but see no connection from one to the next, other than what I already know from reading Superman.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 10:48 AM on September 7, 2008


The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings

Thank you for this. I remember most of those panels. My friends and I would just look at this stuff and go "Wha?" Its incredible how bad it is and how popular he is. Its all so half-ass and scribbled and I hated how he couldnt bother to draw feet. The fact that all females have the exact same face was really the worst of it.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:53 AM on September 7, 2008


I mean look at this panel. That's not the same woman with different hair, thats supposed to be two different women.

Not to mention the boxy male shape with the wide womanly hips. Its like Cable as a tranny.

Those awful thighs and foreshortened arms! Heh, who wants to bet that that spidey in the corner was a serious afterthought.

I still cant figure out if this one is some kind of joke. Seriously, Marvel paid money for this?

The lazy random lines just drive me crazy!

Ok, drawing the blob isnt easy, but at least try!

That said, the new stuff looks pretty mature.

/vent
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:03 AM on September 7, 2008


Rob Liefeld is to comics what the burning of the library at Alexandria was to human knowledge.
posted by cmoj at 11:46 AM on September 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


Liefield and McFarlane and Jim Lee and Joe Q and the rest of their contemporaries were all about the style of dynamic images at all costs. Before they hit the scene, everyone was trying to be Byrne or Miller or BWS without actually understanding what Byrne or Miller or BWS were doing. Liefield and his contemporaries simply didn't care about any of that.

They worshipped at the alter of Jack Kirby - and what we sometimes forget is that Kirby's anatomy and perspective and attention to (boring) detail was questionable at best. Liefeld's work had an intensity of motion that caught the eye and captivated your attention. Yes, Barry Windsor Smith could draw a more realistic scene with both hands behind his back and a sharpie up his nose. He couldn't do one as mile-a-minute berzerk. Hyperexaggeration and a feel for the little or even major details readers would submiminate, and ones that could slide as it got lost in the flow of the action. That's why Liefeld sold a gazillion comics. Blame Bill Sienkiewicz... he's the one who got an entire generation of artists to chuck the "solid fundamentals" for over-the-top fun in the Kirby tradition.

Of course... while that worked fifteen years ago, in the present, the medium's come juuuust a leetle farther along. The new crop of artists raised on manga and Alex Ross and gigantic stacks of awesome non-superhero indies like Bone, Akiko and Castle Waiting make a point to sweat the details. Liefeld's stuff is still dynamic and fun... but dated and hollow.

Quietly's stuff, on the other hand, more than stands up to the test of time.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:35 PM on September 7, 2008


The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings

Peopel who care about anatomy, or geometry for that matter, should not look at the groin region on that header graphic and expect to retain their sanity.
posted by Artw at 12:38 PM on September 7, 2008


They worshipped at the alter of Jack Kirby - and what we sometimes forget is that Kirby's anatomy and perspective and attention to (boring) detail was questionable at best.

I hear this a lot, but I hope you aren't actually comparing Kirby to the early Image artists, as others have done. Some shitty, foot-hiding pinup of a guy with massive breast implants and/or a rail gun has no place in the same world as something like this. The perspective and the anatomy may not be 100%, but every character on that page is alive and individual and in motion; that's a spread you could step into, though you'd need to duck. Liefeld doesn't even come close.

Blame Bill Sienkiewicz... he's the one who got an entire generation of artists to chuck the "solid fundamentals" for over-the-top fun in the Kirby tradition.

Uh...well, that's an interesting interpretation. Bill Sienkiewicz who began by drawing like Neal Adams, and then found his own style and it looked like this? I'm seeing a lot of over-the-top there, but not a lot of "fun" or "Kirby" to speak of. And I'm definitely not seeing any proto-Liefeld. Are you sure you aren't thinking of someone else?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:30 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


/has flashbacks to a ton of sub-par "vertigoesque" painted-art in a Sienkiewicz/Dave McKean style from the 90s... shudders.
posted by Artw at 1:33 PM on September 7, 2008


Quietly's stuff, on the other hand, more than stands up to the test of time.

Wait, so you're slagging on Sienkiewicz while defending Quietly's "punched in the face until horribly bloated" art? Seriously?
posted by Dr.Enormous at 2:00 PM on September 7, 2008


what we sometimes forget is that Kirby's anatomy and perspective and attention to (boring) detail was questionable at best.

Ridiculous. Who could forget the way Kirby drew anatomy or used forced perspective, that was the man's style, and what constitutes boring - or inversely, essential - detail is certainly up for debate. They are only sins if you can't pull them off. Kirby could, but most can't, and blaming him for Rob Liefeld is like blaming Otis Redding for Michael Bolton, or Alex Ross for Greg Land. Liefeld's a punchline because he sacrifices storytelling and composition in favour of pure dynamism, yet still produces some of the most static and boring work EVAR and consistently fails to achieve its one goal. It's pretty obvious that manga was a far greater, and negative, influence on Liefeld than Kirby ever was ("Speedlines=WAY COOL!"), and sort of funny that you mention BWS, who got his start aping the vitality and solid storytelling of Kirby before channeling that influence into a more nuanced style.

I'm kind of leery of your apparent veneration of realism and detail. Alex Ross has done good work, but there's often a bland stiffness to his stuff, Chris Weston draws with an amazing attention to detail and technical ability, but without a good inker, a lot of his work is dead on the page.

I'd also quibble with your characterization of Sienkiewicz, whose art owed more to Neal Adams and then some weird sort of superhero Expressionism than Kirby, and who displays an astounding sense of composition paired with drawing chops that are amply evidenced by Big Numbers, but my cereal is getting soggy.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:24 PM on September 7, 2008


Here's Sienkiewicz doing a "big gun" cover. Here's one by Liefeld. Worlds apart.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:36 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Liefield and McFarlane and Jim Lee and Joe Q and the rest of their contemporaries were all about the style of dynamic images at all costs. Before they hit the scene, everyone was trying to be Byrne or Miller or BWS without actually understanding what Byrne or Miller or BWS were doing. Liefield and his contemporaries simply didn't care about any of that.

This is a ridiculous grouping. McFarlane, Lee, and Quesada could draw extremely well and cared about their craft. Rob Liefeld may have been able to draw but he never demonstrated it in his comic book art. Those 40 worst images are not aberrations (though some points mistakenly blame Rob when it was the inker's or colorist's fault). The man just didn't care about drawing or about story. Lumping him in with Todd, Jim, and Joe is a serious insult to them. I didn't like the hyper-dynamic, too-many-lines style that those three thrived on but they were artists who could compose panels, maintain coherence, develop drama, and represent human anatomy, no matter how exaggerated, in a logical way. Rob Liefeld was a joke. That anyone liked his art at all demonstrates the infinite scope of human forgiveness (with generous assistance from various skilled inkers and colorists).

Bill Sienkiewicz is one of the most innovative comic artists ever. And Kirby! Ugh, thankfully on preview Alvy mentions that.

(I know I will regret sounding harsh and ultimately any opinion of the aesthetic qualities of Rob's art is a matter of taste but his work ethic is a matter of record. The others mentioned are comic book artists, Rob was a bullshit artist.)
posted by effwerd at 2:43 PM on September 7, 2008


In a world where people hate Rob Liefield, why is Frank Quitely so popular, anyway? He draws all his characters with piggy little pig faces. How is that less annoying than skipping the feet and adding pocketspocketspockets?
posted by The Tensor at 3:25 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's Sienkiewicz doing a "big gun" cover. Here's one by Liefeld. Worlds apart.

That Liefeld cover looks a shoe-in for Viz's Up The Arse Corner
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:34 PM on September 7, 2008


I know absolutely nothing about the man's personal life, and I'm fully aware that it's none of my business, but can anybody confirm for me whether or not Frank Quitely is gay? I only ask because all of the men he draws have these luscious, pouty lips, and all of his women have huge shoulders and look like dudes in drag. Knowing that he was merely projecting his own sexual desires into his art would make things a lot less creepy.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:18 PM on September 7, 2008


Umm. So. Yeah. All Star Superman. Great little comic.
posted by webmutant at 4:23 PM on September 7, 2008


In a world where people hate Rob Liefield, why is Frank Quitely so popular, anyway?

Well, I guess both their styles are stylised, and have their own particular tics, buts st Quitelys got a real sense of design, and lays things out masterfully, wheras with Liefeld it just seems like a bunch of random over-the-top stuff designed for maximum fanboy appeal. Also Liefeld just sucks.

In terms of overall popularity he's probably actually way more liked than Quitely though.
posted by Artw at 6:09 PM on September 7, 2008


...and anyone who disses Kirby deserves a punch, but anyone right-thinking new that anyway.
posted by Artw at 6:10 PM on September 7, 2008


Quick tutorial for the uninitiated: Liefeld, Lee and McFarlane were two of the 'creators' who were almost singlehandedly responsible for the comic book speculation bust of the late '90's when the illustraors decided that they were also writers and broke-away to form their own publishing outfits.
(My personal opinion, not necessarily anyone else's)
.

In the mainstream, only Byrne and Miller were capable of both writing and pencils -- everybody else, even Bendis, pretty much fails.
(Also my personal opinion.)
posted by vhsiv at 6:12 PM on September 7, 2008


In the mainstream, only Byrne and Miller were capable of both writing and pencils -- everybody else, even Bendis, pretty much fails.

Mr. Kirby and Mr. Ditko would like to speak with you.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:18 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


^ s/two/ three
posted by vhsiv at 6:26 PM on September 7, 2008


Steranko, Giffen, Starlin, Lapham, Willingham, and Veitch have all performed double-duty for the Big Two with fairly successful results.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:29 PM on September 7, 2008


Also Mignola, if Dark Horse counts.
posted by Artw at 6:35 PM on September 7, 2008


(and, well, since Hellboy has spawned two movies, several cartoons and at least one videogame I guess it does count)
posted by Artw at 6:35 PM on September 7, 2008


I don't know a damn thing about comics, but I really, really love the Liefeld hate pages. Damn that guy can't draw.
posted by DU at 6:37 PM on September 7, 2008


That Rob Liefeld banner is scary.

And I agree with one of the comments on the blog -- it's like those plot summaries TV shows have to catch up an audience.

But do comics need a Reader's Digest...?
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:01 PM on September 7, 2008


In the mainstream, only Byrne and Miller were capable of both writing and pencils -- everybody else, even Bendis, pretty much fails.

Dude, Walt Simonson!
(and what they said :P)
posted by Chuckles at 10:19 PM on September 7, 2008


Liefeld's stuff is still dynamic and fun... but dated and hollow.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:35 PM on September 7 [+] [!]


So he's the Robert Rodriguez of comics?
posted by basicchannel at 11:44 PM on September 7, 2008


Umm. So. Yeah. All Star Superman. Great little comic.

That it is. Did I mention I love the covers as well?
posted by Artw at 12:33 AM on September 8, 2008


Here's Sienkiewicz doing a "big gun" cover. Here's one by Liefeld. Worlds apart.

The difference being Sienkiewicz appeals to people with a taste for art, and Liefeld appeals to fans of professional wrestling.
posted by autodidact at 5:25 AM on September 8, 2008


For me, Jim Lee is one of the worse offenders of the lot. Half his characters look like they've got elephantiases.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:40 AM on September 8, 2008


Looking at artists I used to like and who I like now, I wonder how much my opinions are shaped by the change in coloring and printing over the 20+ years I've been enjoying comics. I remember being pretty wowed by Miracleman, but looking at it again yesterday I thought "eh." It's still nice, but looking at the overall page quality there compared to, say, Quitely's turn on The Authority, it doesn't age well IMHO.

I don't mean the art in any way, or the story - just the overall 'pizzaz' of the page. Miracleman had an effort - as Moore wrapped it up - that was trying for an ornate style that I recall working for me. Now I look at it and am underwhelmed. Is it because computer-aided drawing has lead me to be intolerant of lines and curves that are not machine-precise? Is it the coloring? Aged printing? Or is it the far more common and pedestrian fact that I was a teen then and am older and crankier (if that's possible) now?
posted by phearlez at 8:01 AM on September 8, 2008


FWIW I used to be a big Simon Bisley fan, now I look at his stuff and, well, yikes.
posted by Artw at 8:14 AM on September 8, 2008


Is it the coloring? Aged printing? Or is it the far more common and pedestrian fact that I was a teen then and am older and crankier (if that's possible) now?

No offense, but if you're looking at the stuff John Totleben drew (as I think you must be, since you mentioned Moore wrapping the book up) and comparing it unfavorably to The Authority, I think it may be because you need glasses. And I say that as a defender of Frank Quitely. But seriously: No. Just no.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:41 AM on September 8, 2008


I knew I was not expressing myself well there. The below linked scanned pages aren't as good as a real physical example would be but they'll have to do as illustrative points.

Is Totleben's work better 'artistically,' absolutely. I'm talking more about my gut reaction to the page. Here's an example from Miracleman, a two page spread. Beautiful drawing, but the colors and the line style just doesn't click for me as well as I remember it doing twenty years ago. In this case the colors are probably deliberate but most of the old stuff I go back and look at just doesn't pop the way newer books do. Is that age, printing technology, or style?

On the other hand here's a page from the Authority and the lines are thinner and clearer, the color and shading works better for me...

I don't know. I'm not making a quality judgment here. If I was going to hang something on my wall done by either artist it wouldn't even be a question. But in the arena of graphical story-telling ... I don't know. There's something different now vs then.
posted by phearlez at 10:13 AM on September 8, 2008


Um, wouldn't Miracleman have been black and white originally?

(sadly I've never laid hands on a copy in any format)
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on September 8, 2008


I guess not.
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on September 8, 2008


Marvelman/Miracleman was a book intended for color publication by the time that Totleben worked on it; the first six or seven issues were reprints of material that originally appeared in black and white, but were republished in color (with varying results).

Unfortunately, I can't actually see the pages that you've linked to, phearlez, but I think you're mostly talking about the strides that have been taken in coloring and printing in the last decade or thereabouts. (Which are considerable, and also part of why comics are so goddamned expensive now.) That said, I don't think Miracleman was intended to "pop" -- a darker pallette for a character originally intended to be bright and sunny was certainly a deliberate choice. (And not yet the cliche that it would become.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:01 AM on September 8, 2008


So in other words, after a "no offense but you need glasses" you're now asserting agreement with my exact opening statement. *sigh*
posted by phearlez at 12:04 PM on September 8, 2008


Frank Miller's "All-Star Batman" is the funniest Batman parody I've ever seen. I'm not a big fan of Lee's art, but I love how he makes Batman look completely insane with all that stubble. And the scene with Green Lantern in the room painted yellow where Batman has painted himself yellow and taunts Green Lantern by drinking lemonade...hilarious.
posted by straight at 12:10 PM on September 8, 2008


So in other words, after a "no offense but you need glasses" you're now asserting agreement with my exact opening statement. *sigh*

Well, no...you clarified your statement. If you're talking about the processes that go into coloring and reproducing the art, as it now seems that you are, then I agree with you that they've improved. If you're saying that Quitely's art is itself better than Totleben's, then no, you are empirically wrong forever. FOREVER
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:23 PM on September 8, 2008


This attempt fails. I have not read All-Star Superman, and have not the faintest clue what happened in it based on these 11 panels.

And man, that is one fat Superman.
posted by kyrademon at 1:00 PM on September 8, 2008


So... what do comics have to do with reality, anyway? You're arguing about anatomy and faces? Bottom line: is it fun to read? Is the art exciting and colorful?

Then it works.

When I was a kid, comics were a dime a pop and they all sucked. But who knew? We sat around and read them all afternoon and had a great time.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:50 PM on September 8, 2008


Issue #12 Review
posted by Artw at 11:18 PM on September 21, 2008


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