With hashtag= traffic fantasy bloggers live in and the Deadpool movie about to come out, it isn’t much of a shock I saw a blog recently bashing Rob Liefeld’s comic book illustration abilities. As the movie gets closer we’ll probably be seeing them daily, from people trying to get traffic to their site in as backhanded a way as I can think of.
You can read it here if you want, but it’s all the usual swipes at the guy…The torsos are too big, the waists are too small, he can’t draw feet so he hides them…you know the drill, by now if you follow comic books, and if you don’t, all you have to know is the guy has a half-dozen things or so that are painfully obvious that he keeps doing wrong. Because he became hugely successful at a young age and seemingly didn’t have to pay any dues, he’s a favorite target of critics…even though you could list as many painfully obvious, consistently wrong, flaws in almost every illustrator.
As I like to say, “style is just doing something wrong consistently”
Jack Kirby couldn’t draw women’s heads, or hands correctly. John Byrne only knows how to draw two faces, male and female, and without costumes you’d never be able to tell the difference between Captain America, and Hawkeye. Frank Miller doesn’t draw anything correctly.
I’m not saying Rob is on par with these men, I’m just pointing out that whether it is a “flaw” or “style” is in the eye of the beholder. And if that eye belongs to the green eyed monster ( envy, not the Hulk) then yeah…you think Rob sucks.
I dunno, I’m not really on board with all the Liefeld bashing that goes on. it’s a unique situation, he was just a dumb kid when he started and everyone made him famous and then it was one deadline after the next, you only have so much time for learning in a situation like that. While there is a lot of stuff he didn’t bother to learn to do correctly, I can’t say he isn’t putting full effort into things. Look at all the detail, the man did work hard.
Here’s a thing to remember…drawing stuff is hard. Leifeld isn’t going to be able to draw anatomy as well as Boris Valjeo just because you think he should be able to. As long as someone is working hard to put out what they think is a good product, I don’t have a problem with him/her. He avoids drawing feet…well if you can’t draw feet and you have a deadline you can either draw feet poorly, or hide them. I’d say , for the sake of a better product, hiding them is a better option. I haven’t looked as his work recently but I don’t recall a lot of lazy ass cutting and pasting back when I saw his stuff last. The bottom line is always- do you know how to tell a story with words/pictures/and panels. He’s done some pages that left me wondering what the hell is going on, but most of the time they are understandable and move the story along, and once in a while he does something inventive.
Maybe more importantly, he’s not ripping anyone off. If you see that Leifeld drew the book, you know what you’re getting. Some people like his stuff and they think it’s worth the cash, those who don’t know right away not to spend the money. It’s a different situation then a middle tier guy phoning it in, when he should be earning the readers cash and …perish the though…even advancing the medium. Leifeld already contributed to the medium of comic books in a substantial way, he helped found Image and break the hold on the store shelves that Marvel and DC had, and helped advance the option of creators owning their work even in larger companies. He did some stuff that wasn’t good, but he did more things that helped the industry stay relevant.
So the people who beat up on the guy, to me, have a lilliputian vibe to them. Like whoever wrote this. He doesn’t seem to have any more insight into comic book illustration than Rob, probably a lot less. A torso is too big, a waist is too small, the faces are wrong…anyone on the internet could have written this, there is no criticism worth reading here. No insight into the whys and wherefores of sequential storytelling. No insight into how a rearranging of panel or composition could have made the page or illustration better. No insight at all, just snarky drive by insults. and really…40 pages? You want to know who is “phoning it in” and not really putting effort into something, it’s the author of this blog.
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As always, if you want to see good work, you can find me here.