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One of my favorite books growing up was my father's richly illustrated old copy of Robin Hood.

That Dad had owned such a book was not a surprise; he was an only child and grew up in a comfortably middle class household that could afford to indulge him a bit, and though it took a bit of finagling before he finally got the Lionel Train set of his dreams, my grandparents lavished him with as many good things as they could afford. Summers were spent at Conneaut Lake, he was a given a good camera and the leisure to learn to use it, and as I've written about elsewhere, he and his family took a trip all the way to New York to see the wonders of the 1939 World's Fair.  Riding lessons, piano and trumpet lessons, dancing lessons, even his own dinner jacket when he barely out of short pants…all of these were part of my father's childhood, and when he finally became a father himself, he made sure that I, too, was given music lessons, a trip abroad, and all the books I could read.

The copy of Robin Hood was among these.  It was a version of the legendary Howard Pyle retelling of the classic stories of Robin, Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian, Alan-A-Dale and his wife, and Will Scarlet as they battled Guy of Gisborne, King John, and the Sheriff of Nottingham, and I was enthralled from the moment I first opened it and began to read.  At least once I was so caught up in the action that I crawled out of bed, cracked open the book to a favorite chapter, and attempted to read it by the dim glow of a nightlight plugged into an outlet near the floor.  

You can imagine how pleased Mum and Dad were when they glanced in my room and saw that.

One of the things I liked the best about Robin Hood was the illustrations.  The book had been written and published in the 1920's, which meant a full color painting glued to the cover and Pyle's delicate, beautifully detailed illustrations.   The costumes were more medievaloid than medieval, and Dad's copy was all black and white rather than in color, but Pyle had had a good eye and a fine hand, and the result was a treat for the eye that left me longing for sweeping gowns, dagged sleeves, tunics with tights, and of course a sword of my very own that I could use to fight evil.

This book also left me with a permanent love for good illustration.  N.C. Wyeth's magnificent art for the magazines…Rockwell Kent's stunning illustrations for Moby Dick…Agnes Miller Parker's wondrous evocations of Britomart and the Red Cross Knight…Barry Moser's magisterial work on the Bible…all of the above have left me gasping at their beauty, technical prowess, and (most important of all) their ability to bring out something essential in the narrative.  The best illustrators can and do collaborate with the writer on some level, to make the words come alive and serve as a sort of co-creator.  Just think of Sir John Tenniel's Alice, who is still the girl in Wonderland despite the best efforts of Tim Burton, or of how Sherlock Holmes struggled to find an audience until Sidney Paget decided that his brother-in-law would be the perfect model for Arthur Conan Doyle's prickly detective.  

Most novels today are straight text, with no illustrations of the characters except possibly on the cover.  Readers are left to develop their own impressions of what the hero and her boyfriend look like, or whether that scar on the villain's jaw is a thin red line, a ridge of keloid tissue, or a jagged white line.  Small presses and limited editions are the only remnants of what was once a thriving part of the publishing industry.  

The one exception to this is, of course, comics and graphic novels.  There the illustration not only enhances the narrative, many times it is the narrative, as the arrangement of the panels, the inclusion of a single background image, or the choice of color can make the difference between the ordinary and the timeless;  Art Spiegelman's choice of mice to represent the persecuted Jews and cats as Nazis in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus drove home not only the idea of Jews as prey but also the sadism behind the Nazi movement, for who among us hasn't seen a cat toy with its victim before the final blow?  And the choice of a red dress for Death in the funeral sequence in Neil Gaiman's Sandman instead of her usual punked-out black made it clear that this was not simply one of the Endless doing her job, but a sister's pain at having to say good-bye to a beloved brother.

There are many fine comic artists currently working, in styles that range from Alex Ross's breathtaking gouaches to David Aja's spare, almost flat drawings.  Many of these artists don't work in a particularly realistic style, nor should they; we aren't talking portrait art or religious frescoes, after all.  We're talking stories, and if that means Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir Fun Home emphasizes some aspects of her childhood home and excludes others, well, that's what memoirs are supposed to do.  Ditto Jack Kirby's swooping heroes exploding out of their panels during a fight sequence, or John Byrne's emphatic jaws and luxuriantly curling hair, or Wendy Pini's sinuous, Art Nouveau trees and backgrounds.  

Alas, not all comic artists are so talented.  Sturgeon's Law applies to everything and everyone, much as we'd wish otherwise, and for every panel or character design that enhances the story, there are a dozen that are hastily drawn, poorly laid out, or simply average.  Even the best artists have bad days, or have trouble with one aspect of their work - the aforesaid emphatic jaws in John Byrne's early work, which were distressingly similar for many years (and just plain distressing when used on characters as different as Kitty Pryde and Clark Kent), are a fine example - and of course most artists aren't even that good.  Most are adequate to the task and no more, and if they likely won't get a retrospective at the Norman Rockwell Museum, well, most writers aren't going to be up for an Eisner any time soon.

And then there are the handful of artists whose work is beyond the merely mediocre, beyond the average, beyond the dull.  These are artists who consistently produce art that at best is meh and at worst so resplendently horrid that the reader seriously has to wonder if they own a locked file of blackmail material that they trot out whenever an editor balks at extending their contracts.  There aren't many of them, thank God and the angels, but there are some, and in at least two cases I've stopped buying comic books I enjoyed quite a bit because the art was so bad it was impossible to figure out what was going on.

One of these pinnacles of awfulness is the subject of tonight's diary.  Those among you who regularly follow comic books have probably already guessed this fine individual's identity and know what's coming, especially the final image that I'll link to.  For the rest of you, my faithful readers, I must offer the following warning:

DO NOT READ THE REST OF THIS DIARY WHILE EATING OR DRINKING.  

DO NOT READ IN THE PRESENCE OF YOUNG, IMPRESSIONABLE CHILDREN.  

DO NOT HAVE YOUR PETS IN RANGE OF A THROWN OBJECT.  

WARN YOUR SPOUSE AND NEIGHBORS SO THEY DO NOT CALL 911 IN THE BELIEF THAT YOU ARE EITHER HAVING AN EPILEPTIC FIT OR BEING MURDERED.  

SIT ON A TOWEL.  

AND WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T BLINK.

You have been warned.

Little in our subject's early life would indicate that he would eventually become a byword for early success, creators' rights, and Art So Bad It May Cause Myocardial Infarcation.  Born in Anaheim, California, in the late 1960s, he fell in love with superhero comics as a child, started drawing in imitation of what he saw, and soon determined that this would be his path in life.  He accordingly took art classes in high school, took a life drawing class at a community college after graduation,  and attended comic conventions to meet and seek the advice of idols such as George Perez, Marv Wolfman, and John Byrne.  

All this time he continued to draw his own comics featuring his own characters.  He worked the traditional series of odd jobs while learning his craft, such as building houses for California's booming housing market and delivering the occasional pizza, and he drew.  And drew.  And drew.  Some of these early efforts were sent to small comics companies in hopes of getting a break, but he was too intimidated, and too uncertain of his own talent, to send so much as a single character study to DC or Marvel.  These giants, which bestrode the comics industry like the statue of Superman in Metropolis, Illinois, were beyond his grasp.

Or so our young hero thought, at least until a buddy told him that a major comics convention, one with actual, genuine editors in attendance, would take place in San Francisco, only eight hours away.  Even better, his aunt and uncle lived nearby, which meant that he and his comic-loving buddy would have a place to crash that wasn't the hotel ballroom during an all-night marathon of old Ralph Bakski Spider-Man episodes.  

And so, like Luke Skywalker taking up his lightsaber and sallying forth to Alderaan, this brave, determined youngster packed up his portfolio, got in the car, and headed toward the City by the Bay.  His courage almost deserted him when he got to the convention - all his samples were of his own characters, not icons like Wonder Woman or Mr. Fantastic, because he was sure he couldn't draw them well enough to impress the pros - but egged on by his friend, he still

A DC editor saw his work and liked it well enough to request more samples.  This was good enough to raise anyone's hopes, especially in an artist who was only nineteen and still learning his craft.  But then, in a twist worthy of a comic book -

- a Marvel editor saw his work and liked it well enough to offer him a job on the spot.

That his initial assessment of his work as not quite ready for primetime was correct -what he turned in never saw print - this was the break our hero had been waiting for.  Soon Marvel had him doing character design work, and by 1988, when he was only twenty-one, DC had him drawing a five issue miniseries featuring two minor characters, Hawk and Dove.  Never mind that the original artwork had an odd layout that would have forced the reader to turn the book sideways to read it - the story was set in a "chaos dimension," so why not? - and forced the editors to cut up the drawings, paste them into a more conventional format, then have the poor inker tape them to a lightbox before they were useable.  He was on his way!

Despite its rough beginnings, Hawk and Dove did well enough that the wunderkind of Anaheim was soon working as the penciller for one of Marvel's X-Men books, The New Mutants.  Readers, intrigued by his unique style, began to buy what had been the X-line's lowest selling title in sufficient quantities that the book suddenly was making money rather than losing it.  A little over a year later our hero was so popular, and so powerful, that he'd somehow managed to become the chief plotter/creative force behind the comic as a whole and talked Marvel into retitling it X-Force.

The first issue of X-Force came out in 1991 and sold an astonishing four million copies.  The artist/writer behind it was twenty-four years old.

And thus it was that Rob Liefeld, who was only five years removed from being too nervous to approach the Marvel booth at a comics convention, rapidly became a dominant figure in superhero comics during the 1990s.

You think I exaggerate?  Consider these facts, gentle readers:

-    Liefeld appeared in a series of Spike Lee advertisements for Levi's 501 jeans that featured people with "unique jobs."  In 1991, when he'd been working professionally for only three years.

-    Stan Lee, the grand old man of Marvel, interviewed Liefeld in the second episode of an early 1990's documentary series modestly entitled The Comic Book Greats.  

-    When he decided to strike out on his own in 1992 after a dispute with Marvel, a host of other popular young artists such as Jim Lee, Erik Larsen, and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane followed him.  Their company, Image Comics, allowed creators to keep the creative rights to their characters, unlike the Big Two, which regarded their artists and writers as mere hirelings.  That some of Liefeld's early work for Image was less than mediocre (Liefeld blamed a friend who was doing his scripts) was less significant than the blow this struck for creators' rights; remember, this was a field where seminal figures such as Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, and Joe Simon had to sue to receive credit for developing Superman and Captain America, let alone a share of the enormous revenues generated by the comic books, toys, clothing, furnishings, movies, and television shows featuring the Man of Tomorrow and the Sentinel of Liberty.

-     Despite all this, Liefeld was still so popular that Marvel hired him and fellow Image stalwart Jim Lee in 1996 to rework several of their flagship titles in what became known as the Heroes Reborn arc, with Liefeld himself set to write twelve issues of The Avengers and draw twelve issues of Captain America..  

It was a heady time for someone who wasn't even thirty, and if Liefeld subsequently was fired from Marvel after only six issues of Heroes Reborn because of lower than projected sales and a series of missed deadlines, well, he was a busy man.  He still had his commitments to Image, after all, so what did they expect?

It was one thing to stick it to the Man; Marvel, after all, was a huge company with plenty of other books, and after Liefeld was fired from the Heroes Reborn effort, there were more than enough writers and artists the House of Ideas could tap to pick up the slack.  

Image was another matter entirely.  There had been rumors of problems with the other creators at Image for quite some time, and about the time that matters fell apart with Marvel, they followed suit at Image.  Liefeld, his partners charged, was writing checks on the company accounts to cover personal debts, even as he was making big bucks for Marvel.  Not only that, he was sleeping during board meetings, spending inordinate amounts of times in meetings at movie studios trying to interest Tom Cruise in his books, and using Image's staff to do promotional and production work for a third company, Maximum Press, where he planned to move some of his established Image characters.

And if that weren't bad enough, his supposed business partners alleged in subsequent legal proceedings, he was copying their work for his own books.

Is it any wonder that Liefeld resigned from Image only a few minutes before the partners' meeting that would have fired him?

The comics press had a field day with this, of course.  Liefeld had gone from eager wannabe to wildly popular newcomer to arrogant jerk in less than a decade, which was fast enough to make the Flash raid Tony Stark's liquor cabinet for a nice, long drunk.  That he next tried to found yet another company, Awesome Comics, using the unpublished scripts and artwork for the six issues of the Heroes Reborn run of  Captain America in a series about a strangely similar individual called Agent America, and that Marvel basically forced him to stop by threatening yet another lawsuit, only added to the fun.  

That was when Liefeld, who seemed completely unaware that the word "no" had any application to his life, tried to buy a nearly forgotten patriotic superhero named the Fighting American so he could be the inspiration for Agent America.  Needless to say Marvel found out, and this time they did sue.  Even though Liefeld finalized the licensing agreement for Fighting American before the lawsuit went to trial, Marvel still forced him to accept a settlement agreement so that Fighting American wouldn't dress like the flag or use his shield like a Frisbee.

If you're confused by all this, my friends, believe me:  you aren't the only one.  

After all this fuss, legal action, accusations, and enough patriotic superheroes to make an American eagle dive straight onto the point of the Washington Monument in sheer frustration, is it any wonder that Awesome, too, went under after its major investor got fed up and pulled his support in 2000?  Or that Liefeld, who somehow managed to mend fences with Marvel, returned to drawing mutants?  

That Image actually took him back in 2007 might well qualify as that year's evidence that the Apocalypse was imminent, but fortunately for the world the news didn't extend to the seven cities which are in Asia, let alone the Archangel Gabriel.

Liefeld's subsequent career has been marked by a series of successes (Youngblood; another series of Hawk and Dove as part of DC's "New 52" relaunch of their entire line;  three more New 52 titles; work on Marvel's popular Deadpool line) and controversies.  He has tendency to miss deadlines, allegedly failed to return the original art to at least one creator after Awesome went under, and has attempted to explain the appropriation of other artists' work as "homages" similar to Brian de Palma scenes and techniques from Sergei Eisenstein and Alfred Hitchcock.  

That fellow X-Men artists John Byrne and George Perez (one of the artists Liefeld professes to admire most), were severely displeased to find that their layouts, figure poses, and costume designs had been swiped pretty much wholesale did not seem to register.

The most recent dustup involving Rob Liefeld was only a year ago when he abruptly quit DC.  Despite assurances that he would stay on his New 52 titles through the end of 2013, he bolted back to Image in August of 2012 after complaining bitterly, and publicly, that DC wanted too many rewrites, that his editor was incompetent, that the corporate culture had changed for the worse since DC had become part of Warner, and that Scott Clark's art for Grifter was substandard.  That the rewrites were part of an attempt by DC to ensure consistency among the New 52 titles was immaterial, and the subsequent flame war sucked in not only Liefeld, but DC editor Tom Brevoort, Batgirl writer Gail Simone, and Batman writer Scott Snyder.

That all this was vastly entertaining to watch goes without saying; for all his influence on comic creators and his popularity among a large segment of the fandom, Liefeld has become something of a trouble magnet.  There are dozens of stories about him being a self-important monster who thinks he's above everyone else, and just as many about his generosity toward eager fans and new pros.  No one seems to have a neutral opinion of him, and his last days (at least for now) at DC all but guarantee that he'll be the comics industry's equivalent of a gigantic hissing Tesla coil in the middle of Stan Lee's living room for years to come.

But what about his art?  Surely, I can all but hear you cry across the DSL, someone good enough to turn pro and sell millions of books every month must be a veritable giant among artists.  His work must be more dynamic than Kirby, more fluid than Ross, more beautiful than Pini, else why would he be so popular?  Right, Ellid?  Right?

Well.  That would certainly be logical, wouldn't it now?  The sheer number of books that Liefeld has written, drawn, and published would seem to argue that he is a colossus among comic creators.  And indeed, comics from the 1990s and early 2000s show many signs of Liefeld's influence, to the point that some artists who worked in a different style had trouble getting work.  He's still popular enough that he has no trouble finding work, and there's little doubt that, at only 46 years old, he'll be with us for years and years to come.

That hasn't prevented other comics professionals from critiquing his work, such as this 1996 statement by Barry Windsor-Smith:

Rob Liefeld has nothing to offer. It’s as plain as bacon on your plate. He has nothing to offer. He cannot draw. He can’t write. He is a young boy almost, I would expect, whose culture is bubble gum wrappers, Saturday morning cartoons, Marvel Comics; that’s his culture. Somebody was at his house and came back with a report: There is not a single book in his house — only comic books. I see nothing in his work that allows me to even guess that there’s any depth involved in that person that might come to the fore given time.
Can we say, "Ouch," boys and girls?

Windsor-Smith wasn't the only artist annoyed by Liefeld's popularity, influence, and distinctive style.  Alex Ross and writer Mark Waid deliberately lampooned Liefeld's tendency to load his characters down with extraneous pouches, firearms and other weapons, prominent scars, and the graphic equivalent of lens flares with the character of Magog in their Kingdom Come book.

Which, as silly as it is, is still by Alex Ross, a comics artist noted for his fine draftsmanship, excellent attention to detail, and careful anatomy.  Liefeld, who after all turned pro after but a single life drawing course, has a tendency to exaggeratedly long legs (especially on his female characters), wasp waists (ditto), exaggerated muscles better suited to Belgian Blue meat kine than human beings, and a persistent inability to draw feet, lower legs, and hands.  He himself agreed, at least in part, by saying that

In the mid-90's we Mortal Kombat'd everything.  I'm as guilty as anyone…
Although he surely wouldn't have agreed with critic Peter David's review of the Heroes Reborn take on Captain America that dubbed Liefield "the Ed Wood of comics."

And then there was Ryan Coons.  

Coons, who blogs under the name "Yellow Hat Guy," attended the WizardWorld convention in the summer of 2009 with several friends.  They were all on the main floor enjoying themselves when one of his companions pointed out that Rob Liefeld, who was not listed as a guest in the program, was attending anyway and had a small booth.  

Coons, who had hated Liefeld's work for years, walked up while Liefeld was attempting to draw a sketch for another fan and demanded an apology for (you guessed it) Liefeld's attempt at Captain America during Heroes Reborn.  Liefeld, showing remarkable restraint at this show of rudeness, merely nodded, said "Nice to meet you," and continued to draw -

Which was when Coons, showing enough gall to be divided into three parts, wandered off, found a copy of the old How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way manual, wrote a nastygram on the inside cover telling Liefeld that he should study it carefully before attempting to reboot another established cover, and requested another apology for Heroes Reborn.

He then signed it, included his e-mail address and business card, walked over to Liefeld's booth, and dropped the book in front of Liefeld while Liefeld was talking to someone else.

Needless to say, all hell broke loose.

Several dozen comic artists and writers, some of whom had made no secret of their dislike for Liefeld's work, immediately slammed Coons for being an obnoxious ass.  Liefeld, again showing remarkable restraint by not belting Coons in the jaw, gave the book away.  Coons whined that all he wanted was an apology for Heroes Reborn.  It was a nine days' wonder, and despite the passage of four years, still has to count as one of the least classy things ever done at a genre convention, which is truly saying something.  It certainly wasn't Ryan Coons' finest hour.

Not that this would have been anyone's finest hour except possibly in the sort of crass animated sitcom that has made Seth MacFarlane a very, very rich man. Rob Liefeld is a human being, after all, and as much as he's undoubtedly learned to shrug off criticism, having a fanboy suggest that a working professional with over twenty years' experience under his belt needs remedial drawing lessons is pretty much the dictionary definition of "insulting"….

And then one looks at Rob Liefeld's art, and as awful as Ryan Coons' now legendary insult is, suddenly one understand exactly what he means.

Behold the glory that the is the cover for Warchild, one of Liefeld's own books for Awesome Comics:

Is it War?  Or a child?  No!  It's Warchild!

Or Shaft, a character who is either Liefeld's attempt at an archer a la Green Arrow or Hawkeye (male) or his response to every single critic who has sneered at his attempts to draw feet:

Nice boots, dude!

Now, these examples were original characters, so it can be said that regardless of their flaws, Warchild and Shaft look the way they do because that's how they're supposed to look.  This doesn't example what Liefeld did to beloved characters created by other people, such as Northampton's own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

Cowabunga!

Or the villainous Crossbones, who may be a neo-Nazi, a fanatic disciple of the Red Skull, and the man who (briefly) assassinated Captain America, but who is assuredly not twelve feet tall and possessed of dainty white gloves:

Can we say "bad perspective, boys and girls"?  Can we?

As for what he did to these woman, let's just say that the first one, who not only seems to have a broken back and no internal organs, but balloons instead of breasts, turns up repeatedly in the Hawkeye Initiative, which redraws appallingly poor female characters using Hawkeye of the Avengers:

SEX-AY!

Even when their mammary units flop over their bondage harnesses:

Playtex?  We don't need no stinkin' Playtex!

As for Asgardian villain Amora the Enchantress, her legs appear to be approximately six feet long and have feet that would make Christian Louboutin throw himself bodily from the Whitestone Bridge in despair:

High heels?  Who needs high heels to tower over everyone?

We won't even dignity his allegedly humorous panel "Shrink!" with a joke.  It speaks for itself:

Shrink!

As does the questionable lens flare that makes it look like Cable is doing something incredibly nasty to Wolverine, who may be a rough, tough, cigar-smoking, beer-swilling, claw-wielding Canadian with a very bad attitude and enough body hair to double as a broadloom carpet, but surely didn’t deserve that:

Cable, uh, doing what we might call "the money shot" on Wolverine

Then again, Wolverine does have unusual taste in women, unless Jean Grey has just come back from a steampunk convention that required her to be corseted until her waist was smaller than Wolvie's wrist:

Wolverine and Jean Grey

And then there's Captain America.  Poor, poor Captain America.

Remember what I said about Rob Liefeld's characters looking like Belgian Blue cattle?

Remember the Heroes Reborn story arc from 1996?  The one that Marvel basically guillotined halfway through because Liefeld couldn't make his deadlines?  The one that Ryan Coons demanded Liefeld apologize for?  

Remember what I said about not eating, drinking, having pets in the room, and so forth?  

Don't say I didn't warn you….

Captain America, hell yeah!

This ludicrous image, which was originally intended as, I kid you not, the publicity poster/pinup advertising Heroes Reborn, has become almost as much of a legend as Captain America himself.  Even for a superhero who's supposed to be big, strong, and muscular, this simply doesn't work; Cap's head is too small, his chest is too big you don't say, Ellid?, his left arm seems to have been wrenched out of the socket and twisted behind his back, he has a case of scoliosis that would put Richard III to shame, and (poor bubbe) genitals roughly the size of a seven year old's. Even his shield is out of proportion, and just where is the light coming from to produce so many lens flares?  And why are there lens flares anyway on a pinup?

Unsurprisingly, "Captain America, the Well-Marbled Meat Bull," has become a byword for terrible comic art, including parodies pointing out both the anatomical difficulties and the practical advantages to having a chest that large.  

Best of all, someone with far too much time on her hands decided to see just how this would look on a real, live human being, whom I sincerely hope never, ever sees this diary.

Rob Liefeld is currently working for Image (again).  Whether he'll agree to return to DC, or if they'll even want him after he basically flounced off insulting everyone in the room, is still up in the air.  He's not even fifty, and presumably has several decades of drawing Belgian Blue/human hybrids festooned with unnecessary pouches, large quantities of weapons, breasts the size of a watermelon that still stay perky and firm despite weighing more than a newborn child, and feet the size of a postage stamp.  

The same cannot be said of Scott Clark.  This unfortunate man, whose work on DC's New 52 title Grifter was characterized as "crap" by Liefeld just before he picked up his pencils and exited pursued by Ryan Coons, died a few months ago.  Evidently he'd been ill last year when he attempted to work with Liefeld, which makes Liefeld's action even less mature than it appeared at first glance.

As for whether his work was indeed as bad as Rob Liefeld said, you must decide for yourself.  

I know what I think, but that is neither here nor there.

%%%%%

So...do any of you have a copy of Heroes Reborn wrapped in plastic?  Ryan Coons bookmarked on your blogroll?  An issue or two or Image or Awesome Comics' finest?  Maybe a Liefeld autograph?  A Belgian Blue bull?  Captain America cosplaying as a Belgian Blue?  This is the change to cleanse your soul....

%%%%%

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Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 06:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Most graphic art since 1990 (10+ / 0-)

    looks muddy, indistinct and blurry to me-a sort of charcoal and watercolor mix.

    Do we have this artist to blame?

    Its true-all his characters have Orphan Annie eyes. You made me go on a nostagia trip-Jack Kirby's fight scenes and machinery, John Romita who gave us Mary Jane Watson and Steve Ditko whom I include only because of his inspired rendition of J.Jonah Jameson as modeled on Stan Lee.

    "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1. Keep the faith.

    by Tonga 23 on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 06:40:15 PM PDT

    •  A LOT of artists who came of age back then (13+ / 0-)

      Basically copied Liefeld.  Some of the older ones didn't, thank God, but it's one of the reasons so many comics from that decade look just awful.

      One artist who's quite good right now is David Aja, who draws Hawkeye.  His work has a really fun retro look and feel, and a lot of clever little touches (a bunch of AIM agents chanting "We!  Are!  The 99%!" as they're arrested, an issue told entirely from the point of view of Hawkeye's dog).  And Alex Ross's work is simply gorgeous.  

      •  Love Aja and Fraction on Hawkeye (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wonderful world, matching mole

        Marvel Now has had some very pleasant surprises and Hawkeye's near the top of that list.

        •  BRO!!!!!! (5+ / 0-)

          That comic is perfect from beginning to end - great dialogue, great characters, and a real sense of what a superhero who's actually just a guy with a highly polished skill set would do off-hours.  

          My favorite panel (besides "Pizza Dog Solves a Mystery," which is brilliant throughout) is probably the one where Wolverine and Spider-Man are gushing over a reality show, Clint is complaining about his bruises, and a bunch of AIM agents are chanting that they are the 99% while a disgusted SHIELD agent tells them to shut up.  I laughed so damn hard.....

          •  My favorite illustrators predate comic books (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ahianne, RiveroftheWest

            N.C. Wyeth, color, composition, captured instants of time.

            Google N.C. Wyeth to get a cluster of his most famous illustrations and every single one of them pauses the action at the top of a wave, the zenith of an explosive burst of force, the memorable moment when the goal is about to be realized, the arrow launched, the sword strike made, when driving forward head down into the blizzard your companion turns to look back over his shoulder for the pursuing threat.

            You can see the Marvel Universe attempting to get you there, to sit you down to hear the tale, but the real power of capturing your imagination needs to learn how to pause while you think about what comes next.

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 04:10:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wyeth's art was wonderful (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ahianne, RiveroftheWest

              And he wasn't the only one of his time - ever seen Walter Crane?  Or Arthur Rackham?  Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff.

              •  The Book "God's Man" by Lynd Ward (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ahianne, RiveroftheWest

                His Mad Man's Drum and illustrations for other people's books aren't as emotional. All done in Woodcuts, no captions or text. In a sense its very Frank Miller, Black and White and starkly straight in theme as well as execution.

                As for Walter Crane and Art Nouveau illustration we can go back to Edward Burne Jones and the nineteenth century romance painters, and the difference between that and modern illustration is the graceful organic flow of movement contrasted to the broken glass spandex linearity of modern comic arts statements.

                Arthur Rackham abhors a straight line in much the same way as nature, and every curve is beautifully drafted. I think the art of the curve is a common and dominant theme along with the richness of color and the power of the composition.

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 05:19:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I loved Burne-Jones (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RiveroftheWest

                  Rossetti was a bit over the top (which is what happens when you keep painting portraits of Jane Morris over and over again), and I had no use for Holman Hunt.  But I dearly love Art Nouveau, lush and sinuous and glowing with color.

                  At the same time I also love Art Deco, with its clean lines and industrial vigor.  Rockwell Kent's illustrations for Moby-Dick are just brilliant, and the architectural elements and the sculpture of the form are simply wonderful.

                  •  Back when I was apprenticed to Wilbur Burnham (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    RiveroftheWest

                    just as I entered his studios every morning there was a huge piece of art deco WPA art coming up the stairs, but I was still into Burne Jones as I learned how to capture the light in a panel of stained glass. My appreciation of Art Deco came later.

                    Like Rockwell Kent I lived on Monhegan; came out to work on the Red House sixty years after he left, just as he was passing on. The place hadn't changed all that much, we shared a lot of the same art nouveu carpentry influences transitioned into Art Deco in a workmanlike way.

                    I went off with the muse of the goddess to explore the caves and the spouts in the sea cliffs, spent some summers putting wood shingles on fisherman's roofs while watching the whales and the sea birds dance, rowed out to the schooners in my seine dory to get breakfast from the girls in the galley...

                    I find his wood cuts similar to those of Lynd Ward as defining a different slant on Walter Crane's international worker progressive.

                    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                    by rktect on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:23:19 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Wyeth, Rackham... I just bought a couple (0+ / 0-)

              of old Forester novels partly for the Wyeth covers. Not just pictures, they truly do capture and "illustrate"  the story's action.

        •  The Hawkeye Inititive (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ahianne, RiveroftheWest

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 05:40:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I love that blog (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest

            Flat-out love it -

            Have you seen the Avengers poster with all the characters redrawn so thatthe men all pose like Black Widow in the original?  I couldn't stop laughing...

            And then I thought of how sad it was that the marketing staff hadn't realized that the best posteriors in the film belonged to Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner, and how many more women (and gay men) might have bought tickets if they had shoved their tushies at the viewer in the posters.....

    •  IMHO the thing about L------ (6+ / 0-)

      is that he learned about drawing comics from comics - that is, he was taking an already distorted frame of reference and introducing further distortions.

      I don't believe his claims to have taken art and life drawing classes - or if he did, he didn't learn a goddamn thing from them because he was so busy drawing comics illustrations instead of what he was supposed to be doing.

      In comics history you will, here and there, find examples of individual flaws that make up "the L------ style". Blank eyeballs date back, as noted, to "Little Orphan Annie", but also show up in Bob Kane's Batman and many subsequent masked heroes/heroines. The Squint was typical of early Superman. Overuse of skritchy lines was characteristic of a now-forgotten DC workhorse by name of Don Heck, but he didn't originate it.  Image swiping was rampant all the way back to the Golden Age - everybody did it, Martin Nodell probably more than most (he reused the exact same image in several different issues of the same comic in the same year). Anatomical distortion was most notoriously introduced by Paul Reinman after he tried to hype up a mediocre style with Picasso-esque flowing lines (but alas he was no Picasso).

      But before L------, no one combined every single one of these flaws in one "style".

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:25:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That makes a lot of sense (4+ / 0-)

        Especially since someone who visited his home said that there was NOTHING in it but comic books:  no hardcovers, no paperbacks, no prints on the walls, no art books, nothing.  There was no hint that he'd read anything but comics or every set foot in an art museum.

        Intellectually empty and artistically barren...yeah, that's about right.

    •  Admittedly, I quit following comic books (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, Ahianne, RiveroftheWest

      shortly after the X-Men stopped wearing the blue and yellow Spandex, but I think people like Jim Steranko were the epitome of comic art. I've seen some glorious work since then, but the instances have been few and far between, and were obviously labor-intensive to the point where you had to wonder how the artist had enough time to draw Issue #105 before Issues 106-115 came due.

      Liefeld is atrocious. I've seen his work before, though I didn't put it together with his name. It's just horrifyingly bad. And he's a head case to boot? Yeccchhh.

      •  I think it's yet another case (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ahianne, Dancing Frog, RiveroftheWest

        of early success leading to stagnation.  He definitely has talent, but I think Dick Giardano (or whoever bought his first work) did him a disservice by not telling him to take some life drawing classes, study fine art, and read something that wasn't a comic and watch something that wasn't action/adventure.  Having a broad background is very, very helpful for an artist of any sort.

  •  There's a Harry Harrison story IIRC (10+ / 0-)

    About an artist struggling in some big name comic company sweatshop, struggling to crank out pages as fast as he can against deadline for miserable pay, when some tech guys come in to show him what will be replacing him.

    It's a new software package to automate drawing comics - gets anatomy, perspective, etc. automatically, and even more fun, it has a feature where you can have the software emulate the style of legendary great comic book artists.

    I won't give away the ending here, but the thought that Leifeld's style could be just a menu click away....

    And the dread power of the internet means that the work of artists that might not otherwise see the light of day is now out there waiting for the unsuspecting to come across it. I hesitate to link to it even now.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 06:44:06 PM PDT

  •  Liefeld can't do teeth. Among other things. (6+ / 0-)

    Hideous stuff.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10 UID: 8519

    by Bob Love on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 07:22:47 PM PDT

  •  Little heads and bulging biceps spell steroid (9+ / 0-)

    abuse to me.

    But then, I stopped reading comic books back in the 50s when Superman looked more like a, well, a man. After all, he had to fit in a suit as Clark Kent.

  •  Something of an antidote is in order, I think (5+ / 0-)

    A friend of mine (though we've never met in person) is Scott Christian Sava. He's had a long running project on the web called The Dreamland Chronicles. It's an all ages friendly fantasy adventure. Sava does the writing, and he's worked with some talented artists to create 3D environments and characters which he uses to craft the pages (over a thousand so far) in his story. There are some beautiful images among them.

    And he's not too shabby an artist in his own right.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 07:28:09 PM PDT

  •  OMG, the colors. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, Ahianne

    What tortured twisted evil rainbow spawned those putrid shades?

    Gawk. (That's the sound my eyeballs make when they try to throw up).

    Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue including Hero for Hire, an epic fantasy with a sense of humor by C.B. Pratt

    by wonderful world on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:16:05 PM PDT

  •  oh dear..... (4+ / 0-)

    ....I just KNEW there was a reason I didn't like comic books......sigh

    Fortunately, I was brought up on single cartoons drawn by masters like Carl Giles (whose Christmas Collections are now collectible)....then graduated to the incredible 'Fosdyke Saga' (Bill Tidy) and the 'scourge of the Tories' Steve Bell's 'If....' in the Guardian - still going strong!

  •  To Be Fair (5+ / 0-)

    This:

    The most recent dustup involving Rob Liefeld was only a year ago when he abruptly quit DC.  Despite assurances that he would stay on his New 52 titles through the end of 2013, he bolted back to Image in August of 2012 after complaining bitterly, and publicly, that DC wanted too many rewrites, that his editor was incompetent, that the corporate culture had changed for the worse since DC had become part of Warner, and that Scott Clark's art for Grifter was substandard.  That the rewrites were part of an attempt by DC to ensure consistency among the New 52 titles was immaterial, and the subsequent flame war sucked in not only Liefeld, but DC editor Tom Brevoort, Batgirl writer Gail Simone, and Batman writer Scott Snyder.
    You might want to recheck your facts here.  Liefeld is one of many creators, most recently Paul Jenkins and Justin Jordan, who have quit DC because of its treatment.  At least 10 or so creators have quit citing, among other things, continual rewrites of already agreed upon plots, editorial interference, and yanking away characters at the last minute torpedoing the plot.  If I had to bet money, I'd bet Liefeld was telling the truth.  DC's screw-ups have gotten so bad that a neat little site "Has DC done anything stupid today?" has been created to track them.

    Also you're right about his art, he's always been terrible at anatomy, and can't draw feet to save his life, but one of the reasons he got popular and has remained so is because he does bring a certain energy to the page.  He's never been my cup of tea, I tend to prefer less muscular versions of characters but the movement and energy that Liefeld brings is important.  Compare and contrast him with some like Steve McNiven who draws beautiful, anatomically sound art, but lacks any energy.  If I had a choice I'd rather have Liefeld.

    •  It wasn't simply that he quit (5+ / 0-)

      I'm sure they did ask for a lot of rewrites, and that the corporate culture has changed quite a bit.  But when Gail Simone (who was having her own issues with DC - remember when they tried to fire her over Twitter and changed their minds only after a huge outcry from fans?) and other people got involved to defend the actual editor, that really makes me wonder.  

      I also still can't see a reason to slam a sick man the way Liefeld did.  That's just cruel - and given that Clark had been sick for a while, and he died only seven months later, Liefeld almost certainly was aware that he wasn't well.  

      •  You shouldn't dismiss (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wednesday Bizzare

        rewrites as quickly as you do.  For a writer that's a significant amount of free work and it's one thing to have to rewrite because of shoddy or bad work, but it's a whole other ball of wax to have to rewrite because editorial wanted to go in another direction.

        Here's Jim Shooter on editorial problems:

        Shooter says DCU Executive Editor Dan DiDio directed him to introduce a new “Super” to the team, but the would-be Super Lad never made it to the page. “After delivering the first draft of the 16-issue plot, I was ordered by Dan DiDio to rewrite it – for free – to include the introduction of a young, male Super -- note how I’m avoiding using the word ‘Superboy’ -- as a Legionnaire. So, I re-crafted the plot to introduce a new scion of the House of El, Super Lad,” offered Shooter. “Francis and I spent a good deal of unpaid time doing design work. But, ultimately, DiDio and DC decided they didn’t want or need a new Super, and I was told to excise the character.
        George Perez:
        Because the fact that, after I wrote it I was having such frustration that I told them, ‘Here, this is my script. If you change it, that’s your prerogative, don’t tell me. Don’t ask me to edit it, don’t ask me to correct it, because I don’t want to change something that you’re going to change again in case you disagree.
        ...
        I didn’t mind the changes in Superman, I just wish it was the same decision Issue 1 or Issue 2,” he continued. “And I had to kept rewriting things because another person changed their mind, and that was a lot tougher.
        There's a lot of criticism of Liefeld that's valid.  His most recent stint with DC and their widespread editorial problems shouldn't be among them.
        I also still can't see a reason to slam a sick man the way Liefeld did.  That's just cruel - and given that Clark had been sick for a while, and he died only seven months later, Liefeld almost certainly was aware that he wasn't well.  
        I wouldn't assume that Liefeld knew anything about Clark's health.  From what I remember only a few in the industry knew.
        •  My first published article required *8* rewrites (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xaxnar, JesseCW

          So why you seem to think that I am opposed to rewrites is a mystery.  I'm not, and I am perplexed as to why you think I need to read advice from Jim Shooter.  My editors at Boydell & Brewer and Circlet have been more than sufficient in that regard.

          As for Liefeld...he may well have been right to walk.  That's not the point.  The point is the way he did so, which was very public, very loud, and rude enough that several other people (one of whom had a lot better reason to slam DC than Liefeld given the way she was treated) felt compelled to call him out on his behavior.  That is why it turned into a big fat wank, and why the potentially legitimate reasons for Liefeld to bolt got lost in the shouting.

          And as for Clark...you're right, Liefeld might not have known.  It's still a lousy thing to say about another artist, especially given what people have said about Liefeld.  

        •  Shooter and Editorial Mandate (7+ / 0-)

          Jim Shooter knows a bit about editorial meddling.

          Tony Isabella tells the story about when he was writing GHOST RIDER back in the '70s  Johnny Blaze was a stunt cyclist who had made a desperate deal with the devil, (well, "Mephisto" to be specific) and gained a flaming skull and a motorcyle to match.  Tony wanted to get Johnny out of his infernal contract and take the comic in a different direction.  

          Tony got editorial approval for his change of direction and in a series of stories began having Johnny working bit by bit to win his redemption.

          At the same time, Tony was bugged that there were several representations of the Devil in the Marvel Universe, (like "Mephisto" and -- I kid you not -- "Satannish") but none of the Other Side.  So with that in mind, Tony introduced a character who would show up occasionally to give Johnny encouragement and advice.  The character was never named; he simply called himself "Friend"; but he looked a lot like Hippie Jesus.

          Okay, that does not sound terribly subtle; but Tony insists that he took great care to avoid heavy-handed preaching.  More importantly, he got editorial approval every step of the way, for the overall story arc, the character and for each individual script, from three seperate editors

          Then Jim Shooter came onboard as an editor, just as the Tony was writing the pivitol issue where Johnny would confront and defeat Mephisto.  At the last minute, Shooter decided that it was too preachy and took it upon himself to re-write the issue -- requiring several pages to be re-drawn -- so that Friend was actually Mephisto in disguise and had been playing Johnny for a sucker all along.

          Because this was such a violent inversion of the story he wanted to tell, Tony asked that his name be removed from it, but Shooter refused.  As a result, a lot of fans who had been following the Johnny's Redemption arc and felt betrayed by Shooter's plot twist blamed Tony for it.

          As you might imagine, Tony has little good to say about Jim Shooter.

          Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

          by quarkstomper on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:03:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  That's what I can't stand about (13+ / 0-)

    comic books.  I'm not familiar with Liefield, which means I'm not deeply familiar with a great deal of more modern comic book art, obviously.  

    But jeez, that really is awful, and it emphasizes the awfulest part of comic book art.

    I think I may know why, too.  When young adolescent boys enter puberty and begin to discover their sexuality, maybe with a bit of panic and awe, you become magnetically focused on secondary sexual characteristics.  Exaggerating them in your drawings seems to be a natural thing to do.

    In my own case, when I was a kid, before puberty struck, I was into drawing cars.  I was a big fan of the Batmobile.  I lived and breathed Batmobile.  I wanted to grow up and own it.  I drew the batmobile over and over.  It was the only thing I could actually draw and do a half-decent job.  

    And then puberty struck, and the batmobiles I drew turned into penismobiles.  To be fair, I drew a few boobmobiles as well, and some octopusmobiles and dinosaurmobiles, etc., you can guess.  The penismobile became my specialty, though, and I became very adept at drawing various types of mobile penises, usually with a big shark grin and furrowed eyebrows, rear tires that were like hairy balls, and exhaust that wrapped around it like bulging veins.  I had drawings of penismobiles running people over, body parts flying left and right.  Penismobiles standing up straight and turning to sneer at the viewer.  I guess I was in awe of my own penis and although I couldn't have explained it just this way back then, it just seemed natural that the perfect car should be like a giant penis, reflecting the awesome of my own penis.

    But I kind of grew out of that.  Maybe it was having a teacher yell at me to stop drawing penises and pay attention.

    For a while, I switched to drawing Bambi meets Godzilla.  I don't know if you remember when Bambi meets Godzilla came out.  It won an Oscar for best animated short, and it was all we could talk about the next day after it was shown at the Oscars.  Here's Bambi meets Godzilla.

    My focus moved from batmobiles and penismobiles to drawing Godzilla's foot.  I loved how just the foot alone was cooler than the whole monster.  You had to imagine it!  So I drew lots and lots of Godzilla-feet, usually stepping on people I didn't like.

    I remember my step-mom seeing one of my drawings and asking me why there was a monster killing Mickey Mouse.  I told her, "That's not Mickey Mouse.  That's Davey Jones from the Monkeys.  He's screaming, 'Help me Mickey!', meaning Mickey Dolenz."

    I couldn't explain to her how much boys my age hated Davey Jones from the Monkees.  It just seemed natural that Godzilla should stomp Davey Jones, with a big pool of spreading blood underneath and droplet-shaped splatter marks.

    But drawing the foot... that became an obsession.  There was a kind of minimalist beauty to it.  So I started drawing big things in even smaller finer detail.  Like, a whole page full of Godzilla's toenail.  "Hey, guess what this is?"  "A broken car windshield?"  "No!  The top part of Godzilla's toenail!"

    Probably the best drawing I ever did in school though... This is a rather poignant story.  I got kicked out of speech class in the middle of the semester one year because I pissed off the teacher.  They had to scramble to put me in another class, and I ended up in Drama, which I really, really did not want, because when I was in 11th grade, we all knew that was where all the gay guys were, and that sounded icky.  

    But that was also where a lot of the hottest girls in school were, too, and I got seated across from this gorgeous girl that I just developed a huge massive crush on.  

    One day I gave her a drawing I had made of her.  It looked sort of like a simple three or four line drawing of a stethoscope that filled up a whole page.  

    "What is it, she asked?"

    "Your earlobe."

    I think that was the peak of my drawing career.  There was nowhere else to go after that.  I think back to it now and feel impressed.  It was rather brilliant of me, so simple and so obviously adoring.  Just three or four lines with a pen on paper.

    She could have crushed my heart so easily by just crumpling it up or showing it to her friends and laughing at the weird guy.  No.  She was impressed.  And I was relieved.  

    Then she told me, she knew how to draw Binky.

    Binky?  What is Binky?  Well, if you're old enough, you may be able to remember back when ever book of matches came with a picture of a fawn's head on the back cover and an offer to get you an art scholarship if you could "draw Binky" and send in the picture.  Everybody tried to draw Binky.  Here's a binky-like matchbook cover:

    So my hot little 11th grade Drama seatmate took out her pencil and bit her tongue and started drawing Binky for me, then she showed it to me with a grin.

    I said, "I think I can draw Binky, too."

    I bit my tongue and started drawing away, then, with a big innocent smile on my face, handed her Godzilla's foot stomping on Binky.  

    Not my swiftest move, I guess.  

    •  *snerk* (8+ / 0-)

      I actually tried drawing Winky when I was kid, and I did just fine even though I'm a terrible artist.

      And yes, Rob Liefeld seems like the sort of guy who's just as obsessed with sex now as he was when he was a teenager.  Makes me really wonder how he is with women, at least the ones with normal proportions who don't have balloons for breasts.

      •  Hell, I've always been obsessed with sex. (5+ / 0-)

        Pansexuality is part of being bipolar-I.  But that just seems like dumb juvenile sexuality from somebody who just never really got past that kind of 14 year old curiosity.  Perhaps that's why his comic books sold so well.  It would be interesting to know the demographics of his biggest fans.

        Now, here's a famous cartoon image I dredged up for you.  It's Enchilada de Amore by 60s underground cartoonist Robert Williams.  It's on canvas at a local museum here.

        It's not just funny and crass.  It shows more maturity in its crass lewdness, the point being that here's a glamorized image of sex at its cheapest and tawdriest and best.  I love the cigarette and the beer bottle.

        •  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Bambi Meets Godzilla (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dumbo, kurt, wonderful world, Black Max

          Fantastic short.

          I haven't much looked at comics since I used to collect some of the underground ones in college. But I agree, Williams and some of the other underground artists were doing much more interesting art than some of the Top Two house hacks.

          BTW, my current favorite comic strip -- for the artwork -- is Rose is Rose. Love when she changes from Mommy into a take-no-prisoners biker chick. I also love some of the perspective changes: very much comic-book influenced, yet nobody else is doing it in the strips.

          Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

          by Youffraita on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:42:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I had to look that one up. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Youffraita, Ellid, wonderful world

            Here's a site with some Rose as Motorcycle Vicki strips.  I like.

            http://www.nightswimming.com/...

            •  Thought you might. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dumbo, wonderful world

              On the whole, the strip is rather sweet: little boy (but he has a "dreamship" meaning some space adventures with him as astronaut when he's asleep) and Rose and hubby having a great relationship:

              and then there's this side of her that is total biker chick.

              And it doesn't matter whether the strip is being sweet or biker-tough: those perspective changes can appear anywhere.

              As I said, I think it's the best-drawn comic strip in the papers today, and has been since it was syndicated.

              Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

              by Youffraita on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 11:50:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's definitely one of the better ones out there (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dumbo, wonderful world

                OTOH, the old story strips like Apt 3-G and Gil Thorpe are a hot mess:  terrible art,  pointless stories, bland backgrounds.  Why anyone cares, or why they're still being drawn, is a mystery.

                Then again, at least The Heart of Juliet Jones got axed years ago.  I never, ever understood why that survived the 40's.

          •  I like Rose is Rose, too (6+ / 0-)

            And I am in mourning for Dykes to Watch Out For, which is one of the funniest story strips I've ever seen.  You could see Bechdel evolving and improving as an artist over the years, and it was glorious.

            One of my favorite panels showed a costume party, where two characters have come as "the women our parents wanted us to be" (a Jehovah's Witness and an observant Muslim, respectively) while two men dance with each other.  I nearly fell on the floor when I realized that Carlos was dressed as Larry Craig, complete with bathroom stall, and his boyfriend Daniel was Albus Dumbledore....

        •  and the spicy pepper by her knees (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dumbo, wonderful world

          Da-yum, I wish they had something like that showing a hot guy draped over a burrito.....

    •  Sent to Top Comments (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo, NYFM, wonderful world, shari, xaxnar

      Great one, Dumbo!

      Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

      by Youffraita on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:35:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We're creatures of synecdoche (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shari, Dumbo, wonderful world

      Men really, really can't help it. It's part of male sexuality, I think, to be "parts" oriented. I remember 1970's feminists being disgusted with men wanting to make everything mechanical and just parts! Well, that's unfair, because that's not at all what the male sexual impulse is about, but it's what the male arousal may be.

      After those evil years of testosterone intoxication, we can become Petrarch and fall in love with Laura's bonnet, or, as I did one semester, the back of the neck of the woman who sat in front of me. At that point, we're at least self-aware enough to know either that we're Petrarch and have no intention of bothering her or that we're not, and the neck is integrated into the person who is enchanting.

      Everyone's innocent of some crime.

      by The Geogre on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:44:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No argument there... (5+ / 0-)

        But given that over 40% of the comic-buying/reading audience is female, and that that proportion has only been going up in recent years, it might be time to consider the ladies once in a while.

        •  Absolutely! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ellid, wonderful world, Dumbo

          Of course, I'm not a barometer or thermometer. ("Help, I'm a cop! Help, I'm a cop!") I'm one of those stodgiest of stodges who won't even admit the "graphic novel." That isn't because I'm protecting the novel from getting her petticoats stained with comic books, but I just. . . .

          Another subject for another day when I want to get seriously flamed, I suppose.

          Everyone's innocent of some crime.

          by The Geogre on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 10:07:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's another thing they DON'T EVER LEARN (5+ / 0-)

            They're absolutely fixated - at least the Big Two are, and DC is the worse at this time - on grabbing and holding the post-pubertal action-flick crowd (which by definition is mostly young males from about 18 to about 35). ANYTHING outside that demographic is is OFF-LIMITS.

            Hell, DC just completely destroyed and remade its own universe to appeal more directly and explicitly to that crowd, to the disgust and outrage of fans who had liked the idea that there were superheroes who didn't debut five years ago, who had had time to develop families and friendships and little communities.

            All of that is G-O-N-E.

            No married couples. NONE.
            No stable relationships. NONE.
            T&A in everyone's face.
            Gratuitous and ludicrous gibs everywhere.
            Things Blowing Up Real Good everywhere.

            Even the JSA is G-O-N-E, replaced with In Name Only "young, new, hip" imitations who are the newest, not the oldest, super-team in the DC multiverse (this is a grossly gratuitous insult to the group that started the whole idea of super-teams in the first place!).

            I didn't leave comic books, they left me.

            If it's
            Not your body,
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            And it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:42:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fortunately Marvel hasn't done that (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, Ahianne, RiveroftheWest

              They have more gay characters, they have more women (including two all-female teams), and it sure looks like they're finally dumping the Ultimates line (which is selling pretty badly) and incorporating the one appealing character, Miles Morales (Spider-Man), into the main continuity.  And the Marvel movies to date have been joyfully, unabashedly comic book films, not Serious Gritty Meditations on how sucky it is to fight crime dressed like a bat; Man of Steel was beautifully to look at and had some fine actors, but there wasn't a single moment where ANYONE looked like they were having fun, plus the last half hour was pure violence porn that left Metropolis looking like a hydrogen bomb had gone off.

              DC.  They ain't doing it right.  And it's a damned shame considering their heritage.

              •  Ah, well, movies are another matter (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Ahianne, RiveroftheWest

                Yes, the Marvel movies are comic book movies, and I use that concept as a case study of genre formation and how we develop genre without ever stating the rules. However, the "Batman" trilogy of Nolan and Nolan does have a thematic integrity that makes it a fairly serious thing. It isn't a meditation on how rotten it is to fight crime, but rather an argument about Nietzsche and Who Decides? In that regard, it evokes the "Watchman" questions, but it's much more elaborately dedicated to the single question (without history, without politics, without culture -- academically).

                I have a ton of criticisms of those films. It's the same criticism I had of Full Metal Jacket: there are subjects that cannot be considered academically without the gore and mess of society. In other words, politics imbue these discussions, and taking politics out is irresponsible.

                Everyone's innocent of some crime.

                by The Geogre on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 04:13:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Indeed (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  The Geogre, RiveroftheWest

                  Did you see Man of Steel?  Because I had a lot of problems with the underlying political/theological assumptions the filmmakers made and wondered what you thought.

                  •  Alas, no (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    RiveroftheWest

                    I figured it came with "Geogre Trigger Warning" right on it. :-) Aside from that, what it offered -- aestheticism by the acre -- is something I can only enjoy if there is meditation with it. This is one reason why my film friends and I split over Melancholia and Tree of Life. The latter had the themes. . . but. . . gosh. . . that was a lot of non-verbal communication for this man of words.

                    (Yeah, Bergman is my perfect balance. Yeah, I go to movies alone.)

                    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

                    by The Geogre on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 05:52:08 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  you've explained a few things to me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo, wonderful world

      in third grade, my daughter received a drawing from a classmate, i think he had a horrible crush on her, and it was a drawing of a fantastical creature, he put tons of work into this drawing. you can tell it was hours and hours of work because the drawing, done in pencil, covered the entire page. and in the middle of the forehead of this creature, there was a huge ginormous horn that spouted from it, dwarfing everything else. what a statement from a third grader.

    •  There's a sequel called "Bambi's Revenge" (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, Dumbo, Matt Z, RiveroftheWest

      The art is absolutely ATROCIOUS, but the idea was sort of clever.

      Bambi under Godzilla foot.
      Bambi foot scratches in dirt, comes up with stick of dynamite.
      Dynamite blows Godzilla's foot off.
      Godzilla hopping around the screen howling.
      Bambi is about to get up and take off, when -
      Down comes Godzilla's OTHER foot.
      Bambi hoof seen tapping with annoyance.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:02:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Synchronisity (6+ / 0-)

    It so happens that Rob Liefeld has a connection with the diary I wound up writing tonight about the new version of the DC Comics character Lobo

    The character has been given a sleek new look as part of the company's "New 52" reboot.  Except that the old version of Lobo has already appeared in the "New 52".  In, it so happens, a Rob Liefeld comic called STORMWATCH.

    DC is explaining the discrepency by saying that the Lobo who appeared in the Rob Liefeld book is an imposter, whom the "real" Lobo intends to kill.

    Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

    by quarkstomper on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 08:49:52 PM PDT

    •  BWAHJAAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! (6+ / 0-)

      LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

      DIES DED

    •  THAT'S LOBO????? (6+ / 0-)

      Good God.  That's -

      AAAIEEEEEEE

    •  Continuity is why the Reboot strategy arose (6+ / 0-)

      Eventually, there are so many inconsistencies, contradictions, and things that make no sense, that long running comics have to be rebooted, restart from 'the origin' or whatever. That, or evolve and age the characters - and if you have a 'franchise' based on some character, you'd much rather slap a fresh coat of paint on the money machine and keep cranking the handle.

      Heck I can remember when Nick Fury was still a sergeant fighting Nazis in World War Two - and white to boot.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:05:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nick Fury 101 (6+ / 0-)

        There are currently three Nick Furies currently running around in Marvel comics.  Two are in one continuity, the so-called 616 universe (the main line, which is basically our universe only with superheroes), while the third is the Ultimates/1610 universe (the one with supposedly grittier, darker stories where Mr. Fantastic is a homicidal maniac, Captain America is a neocon and a world class jerk, and Spider-Man died and was replaced by a Hispanic teenager who is the ONLY thing worth preserving in the whole mess...which is likely going to be eaten by Galactus in a few months, THANK GOD).  

        Anyway, here they are:

        Nick Fury, Sr. (616) - this is the Nick Fury you remember, the NCO who headed the Howling Commandos, occasionally worked with Captain America and Bucky, and later became an agent of SHIELD.  He took an experimental drug called the Infinity Formula and is still healthy and youthful even though he's probably a century old.

        Nick Fury, Jr. (616) - this is Nick's son by an old girlfriend, who happened to be African-American.  He was a Ranger in Afghanistan, where he met Agent Phil Coulson (yes, from the movies - he became so popular that Marvel wrote him into their comics) and eventually joined SHIELD.

        Nick Fury (1610) - this is Nick Fury is also African-American, and bears an astonishing resemblance to Samuel L. Jackson.  This began as a joke by the artists when the Ultimates line started up ten years ago and turned serious when someone told Samuel L. Jackson.  Far from being upset, Jackson was amused, and said they had his permission to make Nick Fury as much like him as they wanted, on one condition:  if they ever made a movie, he wanted to play Nick Fury....

        I think you know the rest.

  •  I first read about Liefeld... (4+ / 0-)

    ...in Fandom Wank on JournalFen, the same place where the fanfiction origins of both Fifty Shades of Grey and The Mortal Instruments were originally discussed.  I can't recall if you've ever written about the authors of those series.

    "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

    by Neon Vincent on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:19:53 PM PDT

  •  Satan's Six (3+ / 0-)

    I have a lot of comics stowed up in the attic and buried with bad artwork, but one series in particular deserves mention.

    In the 1990s, Topps, the trading card company, tried to develop a line of comic books based on ideas and characters created by Jack Kirby.  One of these was titled SATAN'S SIX, and it was about a group of lovable losers recruuited by Hell to create chaos and destruction on Earth, but who were so incompetent that they wound up doing Good instead.

    Unlike the other comics in the Topps line, where Kirby provided the concept and maybe some character designs but no artwork, SATAN'S SIX was based off an eight-page "pilot" story Jack penciled.  For the first issue, Topps hired writer Tony Isabella to expand Jack's eight pages into a full-length comic and newcomer John Cleary to draw the new pages.

    Tony did a good job of inserting material between Jack's pages and making the narrative all flow together.  Unfortunately, Cleary was a Todd McFarland wannabe whose style was so UN-like Kirby's that reading the first issue was enough to give your eyeballs whiplash.  

    (The link I posted above does not show any of the Cleary artwork, as it comes from a Kirby tribute site; which is just as well, because the Cleary pages were truly painful).

    Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

    by quarkstomper on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 09:40:04 PM PDT

  •  There's Blogs Devoted To This Guy's Suckage (3+ / 0-)

    Yes, his problems with feet are legendary

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:31:06 PM PDT

  •  Also "Swiping" From Google Images (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Youffraita, wonderful world, xaxnar

    When a nice drawing of crying frightened little girl pops up, a google search for images of "frightened little girl" is likely to turn up a National Geographic photo that the drawing was traced from.

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:35:41 PM PDT

  •  What, you don't like trapezoid-mouths? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonderful world, Ahianne, llywrch, JesseCW

    The two things that always hit me, personally, about Liefeld's art: everybody, EVERYBODY, has trapezoidal mouths, wider at the bottom than the top; and codpieces surrounded by a billion wrinkles. I think he learned to draw crotches from looking at those photos of Dubya from the "Mission Accomplished" photo-op.

  •  The TV Tropes page on Rob Liefeld: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonderful world, Dr Colossus, Matt Z

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by lotlizard on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 08:04:30 AM PDT

  •  Okay, Kill Me (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, wonderful world, niemann, Matt Z

    Even as a kid my "love affair" with comics lasted one summer.  At 10, I realized the illustrations were dull, boring, and unimaginative compared to the Arthur Rackham illustrations in my antiquarian copy of Mother Goose nursery rhymes.  When I checked in on the super-hero stuff a few years later, I thought the drawings were downright ugly, crude, and stock.

    I was a bred-to-the-bone illustrator snob.  Still am.

    Of course I became one at a tender and impressionable age thanks to the likes of John R. Neill, Beatrix Potter, and the aforementioned Rackham who contributed to my joy of reading my room full of kiddie lit.

    How could I help be otherwise?

    I had the misfortune to be born the daughter of one of America's best illustrator's artist model.  Yep.  My mom posed for Henry Raleigh in the years before his death.

    To pile on the influences that forever spoiled me for comic book drawing, my aunt (a "B" actress who can be seen today in several Three Stooges features) was, also later in his life, the model-lover of Ted Withers, the famous California pin-up and fine artist.  Withers survived my aunt.  In fact, he was the one who notified my family of her death.

    Both Raleigh's and Wither's etchings, water colors, and oils hang on my walls today.  Whenever I want to see a picture story, I don't need to pick up a bad comic.  I just look at my walls.

    Thanks Ellid for intervening and reminding me that childhood immunization has spared me once again from illustrators so bad they're just awful.

    Yeah, I know.  I was born lucky.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:56:16 AM PDT

  •  I don't know why (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonderful world, RunawayRose

    ..you posted all those dire warnings about your perfectly innocuous diary, Ellid. Nothing to harm anyone there.

    The images you linked to, on the other hand.....

    Oh, my God. My holy howling God. I think you've killed me. At least caused brain damage. My God, has this dude ever actually seen a human body?

    Cogito, ergo Democrata.

    by Ahianne on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:57:38 AM PDT

  •  Liefeld is an example of "shit floats" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wonderful world, Black Max, JesseCW

    how inexplicably untalented individuals get plum jobs in the creative field.  Like Michael Bay and J.J. Abrams.

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 10:41:34 AM PDT

    •  "I'm not a hack; I'm accessible!" (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wonderful world, llywrch, JesseCW, Ahianne

      There's always the argument that it's safer to create for the people who don't know anything about the franchise, the medium, art and literature in general, and thus have no basis to judge it ... and don't really care, they just want to be entertained.  At the same time, the hardcore fans are allegedly so knowledgeable and have such high standards that they're going to be impossible to please anyway.  Supposedly this is the reason George Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney: he gave up ... convinced that whatever he did, the fans would refuse to take it on its own merits, never mind enjoy it.

      IMO you can get away with some crazy stuff if it's clear that you yourself don't take it seriously, and are doing it simply to be enjoyed.  I've never been a comic book fan, but I found out about Rob Liefield from TVtropes through the blogs mocking him, and I got a kick out of them.  In retrospect, Jhonen Vasquez (Invader Zim, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac) did a short comic about Liefield-type heroes running into "realistic" supervillains and getting their asses kicked because their bodies don't work!

      War Nerd: changed the way I think. Free stuff here & here

      by Visceral on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 11:58:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now *that* would have been funny (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        llywrch, JesseCW, Ahianne

        And very, very accurate.

        snickers

      •  I think you just describe the decision to cast (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, wonderful world

        Ryan Reynolds as GL and Ben Affleck as Batman.

        There's always the argument that it's safer to create for the people who don't know anything about the franchise, the medium, art and literature in general, and thus have no basis to judge it ... and don't really care, they just want to be entertained.  At the same time, the hardcore fans are allegedly so knowledgeable and have such high standards that they're going to be impossible to please anyway.
        It's true and false.  The best overall reaction possible from hardcore fans is "Qualified Approval".  They will all nit-pick.  They're the teacher who gives out one A per quarter.

        But they do give B's.  It's not even that hard to get one.  Just make an honest effort and show basic competence and be engaged in the material.

        Turn in a D paper, and they'll read it in class just to belittle it point by point.

        The F work gets laughed at with friends over a glass of wine.

        Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

        by JesseCW on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 12:31:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Affleck is a good actor (4+ / 0-)

          And several people have pointed out that if Affleck should be excluded from being a superhero because he played Daredevil ten years ago, then we should retroactively axe Chris Evans from playing Captain America because he was the Human Torch in two movies.  

          I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt - but I'm really not sure about this one.  Even worse, Zack Snyder is in charge of this, so it's going to be hyper violent.  I saw Man of Steel and was pretty disturbed by parts of it, and this promises to be just as bad (if not worse).

          We'll see, I guess....

          •  Chris Evans did a good job as the Human (4+ / 0-)

            Torch.  The flaws in those movies, and they were legion, weren't in his acting.

            It's not just Daredevil.  It's Sum of All Fears too.

            Ben Affleck can't act hard.  When he does, he looks like he's going to cry.  I've seen him try to do it too many times to extend a benefit of the doubt any farther.

            I say this as someone who just doesn't hate him.  There are at least a dozen light-hearted  smart-assed superheroes (and half a dozen villains) I'd love to see him play.

            I'd have settled for a brunette Angel or Human Torch if Affleck got to play them 15 years ago when he was the right age.  I think he could have pulled it off.  He's a bit tall, but who cares, he would have made an awesome Iceman back around 1995.

            I'd like to see him direct a Spider Man movie.  I really think he could nail it.  

            Affleck is a really good actor - within his range.  But he suffers from Kevin Costner disease.  He really really really wants to be a bad ass action star....and he just doesn't have it.

            Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

            by JesseCW on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 04:33:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You definitely have a point (3+ / 0-)

              Having dark hair isn't really a handicap - Chris Evans isn't really blond but he's played two blond supers in a row and nailed it both times - but I agree that Affleck would be better off playing a less brooding character than Batman.  Johnny Storm, Hawkeye, even the Beast would be better IMHO.  

              My concern is more that Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder are going to be attempting to adapt a Frank Miller property, and are going to end up with a dark, gritty, grim, intense, ultra-serious, joyless mess.   Worse, if it bombs or gets nuked by Avengers 2 (which will almost certainly happen even if it's the Citizen Kane of superhero movies, which it won't if Zach Snyder is within 100 miles of the shoot), there goes any hope of a Wonder Woman or Justice League movie for a generation.

              •  Affleck could do HawkGuy (3+ / 0-)

                but we won't get that, because the current movie "serious" incarnation of Hawkeye will be around for a while.

                The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

                by raboof on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 08:00:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I thought of him for that too last night. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RiveroftheWest

                  I've been re-reading Vol 1 West Coast Avengers - Hawkeye asking Mockingbird if she loved him for his "Boyish charm and manly good looks, or his manly good looks and boyish charm".

                  I could see Affleck delivering that line.

                  Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

                  by JesseCW on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 10:08:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Evidently movie!Hawkeye is going to loosen up (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  raboof, RiveroftheWest

                  in Avengers 2 - I mean, he was mind controlled for most of the first film, and fighting for the rest.  He supposedly has a bigger role in #2, and I hope he manages to crack a few jokes (and maybe run into someone who says "Bro!").

    •  Or the scriptwriters of the Fantastic Four movies (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gemina13, Black Max, JesseCW, Matt Z

      Those films were so bad that they a) pretty much killed Jessica Alba and Ioan Gruffydd's film careers, b) drove Michael Chiklis back to television, pretty much permanently, and c) were so bad that a couple of years later Chris Evans (the only one of the main cast who still can get a job in Hollywood) couldn't remember the name of the villain in the second movie.

      That's really an accomplishment, when one of your leads has so effectively blocked the film from his memory....

      •  They weren't bad so much as they were dull (4+ / 0-)

        for me, the cardinal sin of comic-derived movies. Chris Evans did a great job livening up things with his snarky, gone-Hollywood take on Johnny Storm. Chiklis did not translate well onto the big screen, Gruffydd was, by turns, too earnest and too stone-faced, and Jessica Alba was horribly miscast. Add to that a cookie-cutter script and direction that made X-Men 3 look like a Truffaut movie and you've got a dull first movie and a truly flat sequel.

        And who the hell was the villain of the second movie? The Surfer? Yes, er, no ... Doom? Yes, uh, no, I mean of course ... The Army guy? Well, not really ... Galactus? You mean the big misty thing that showed up for five seconds and confused the hell out of everyone who didn't grow up knowing more about the Galactus saga than they did about the multiplication table?

  •  Ugh. Liefeld. (6+ / 0-)

    We have nothing of his in the house.  If we found anything, we'd have a bonfire and burn it, then purify the house with sage.

    We're big fans of the sites Escher Girls and Boobs Don't Work That Way.  The whole household will spend hours giggling and pointing out particular trainwrecky illustrations.  Funny how Liefeld gets featured quite often.

    As for good graphic artists, I see you've got Wendy Pini (who's fantastic), but didn't see Colleen Doran, whose amazing A Distant Soil series is back in production and looks gorgeous - not to mention she can actually draw people:  A Distant Soil (directed to a neutral page so any fans won't come across a spoiler).

    Hope is a good thing--maybe the best of things--and no good thing ever dies.

    by Gemina13 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 03:31:20 PM PDT

  •  Linkara has had it in for R** L****** for ages (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max, RiveroftheWest

    Every so often he posts another rant in Atop The Fourth Wall.

    His takedowns - of L------ and anyone/anything else he doesn't like - are usually both hilarious and devastating.

    If it's
    Not your body,
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    And it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:52:54 PM PDT

  •  Rob Liefeld chased me away from collecting (3+ / 0-)

    comics for nearly 20 years, and I had been collecting since I learned to read.  

    I am not kidding.

    I loved comics.  They were part of learning to deal with dyslexia.  When I struggled with a sentence, and had trouble making the words make sense, I could just enjoy the art and let my mind wander until I was relaxed and the muddled image cleared.  Once I started over without being stressed, I could easily read whatever I'd been having a hard time with.

    He turned every character he touched into some bizarre steroidal freak I couldn't stand to look at, and somehow drove all of Marvel (never had much use for DC outside of 'Bat Books') in the same direction.

    He drew no backgrounds.  There was never anything interesting happening behind the hulking bad-ass or blow-up doll sextoy in the foreground.  There was absolutely no sense of fun, or real dramatic tension, or of a "world" around the characters he was distorting.

    Around 92-93, I just realized that it was stupid to keep blowing money on books I didn't even want to look at just so I could see how the story was going.  I didn't have money to blow on (increasingly pricey) stuff I didn't even like.

    It took other people gifting me a few great graphic novels like the first Walking Dead omnibus and the Dark Tower adaptations to get me interested again, and then a gift sub to Marvel Unlimited to get me into some stuff like the 1602 stories....and I'm just finally starting to ease back into mainstream comics again.

    The near-collapse of the industry in the mid-late 90's was largely blamed on the multiple cover/forced multi-title "event"/collector bubble pop...and a lot of other factors.

    I don't think Rob Liefeld gets the blame he deserves.  He turned every character he touched into something that no human being could identify with.

    I think he's at least cause four or five on the list.

    Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

    by JesseCW on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 11:34:07 PM PDT

    •  I look at his work and shake my head (3+ / 0-)

      And wonder just what people were thinking.  shudder

      As for me - I stopped buying comics around the same time because my then-husband was out of work and we didn't have the money.  I started reading again recently and only buy a couple of books every month, but I've been catching up with the digests of my favorites.  There's some great stuff out there.

      •  As a "Mostly Marvel" reader who (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, wonderful world

        dabbled in the really popular side of Indie comics (not Indier-Than-Thou, heh) I've really found the Marvel Unlimited Subscription to be a pretty great deal.

        It's clunky, doesn't quite work right on my tablet, but it's something like 13,000 comics.  Pretty cool for getting caught up, and most major titles drop onto it six months behind.

        The new Thor: God of Thunder arc has been awesome.  I powered through all the various Runaways series.  Turns out, Guardians of the Galaxy wasn't bad either (concept sounded dumb to me, but it's well executed).

        Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

        by JesseCW on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 04:24:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I actually decended from a robin like person. (3+ / 0-)

    My great-great-great grandfather was the Macedonian version of Robin Hood. His name was Stoichoff Petroff or Petroff Stoichev.

    Back in the 1880's he lead a group of Brigands who used to jump  and waylay the local Ottoman Turk tax collectors.

    The only differnce between Petroff and Robin Hood is that Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Petroff stole from the rich but kept it.

  •  Dan Perkins aka Tom Tomorrow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, wonderful world

    Although he is a comic strip guy as opposed to graphic novelist.

    His art work is well drawn and he is a magificent journalist. His strips have the punch of George Foreman in his prime and the bite of a pit bull.

    My favorite refrain of his is "How sad is it that you had to learn this from a comic strip."

    Excellent artist with great relevent subject matter done on a weekly basis, not to shabby if you ask me.

  •  I had no idea that comic book readers were... (3+ / 0-)

    such art aficionados. My eyes have been opened, and I have a new found respect.

    R___ L____ is simply dreadful. He's the Damon Lindelof of comics in that there is no evidence whatsoever of a logical thought process behind anything that he creates. You wonder whether its just laziness or outright contempt for any reader with a brain.

    •  Art In the Comics (4+ / 0-)

      Not only are some comic book readers art aficinados, some comic book artists are as well.

      Back in the day when I used to buy a half-dozen comics a week, I always got a happy surprise when an artist would sneak in a reference to a famous piece of art

      I first picked up the comic book GREEN LANTERN CORPS thanks to this cover, drawn in the style of a 1930s Soviet propaganda poster.  In the comic, several alien Green Lanterns had come to Earth, One of them, Kilowog, was having trouble adjusting to American culture, because he was more used to the collectivist society on his homeworld.  So he decides to defect to the Soviet Union and winds up helping them with their own Super-Soldier program.  Keep in mind, this comic came out pre-Glasnost, during the Reagan Era.

      In this cover to CAPTAIN ATOM #8, artist Pat Broderick drew a reference to Michaelangeo's Pieta.  I didn't particularly like the character Plastique, a Canadian separatist terrorist whom the writers wanted to make a romatic foil for the title character, but was amused by the art reference.

      But perhaps my favorite art shout-out was the M.C. Escher tribute from  SECRET ORIGINS #10.  The issue spotlighted The Phantom Stranger, a mystic character with a mysterious background and no known name.  In keeping with the character's mystery, the issue featured four different origin stories written by four different writers.  The cover, based on an Escher print, captured the theme beatuifully.

      Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

      by quarkstomper on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 04:00:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And then there was the artist for Asterix (4+ / 0-)

        Who deliberately posed a group of shipwrecked characters to look like The Raft of the Medusa, complete with someone staring directly at the viewer and saying, Je sui Medusee.  I just about fell down laughing in Million Year Picnic when I saw that.

      •  The Pieta reference cover is an OLD schtick (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, quarkstomper

        It's been used all the way back to the Golden Age. Usually, though, the supporting figure is standing - Broderick was the first one (that I know of) to do a completely explicit reference with a supporting figure who is sitting.

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 07:47:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Kara's Dead!!! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dancing Frog, RiveroftheWest

          Like probably other members of my generation, I tend to identify the "Standing Pieta" poses with the Death of Supergirl in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.  The George Perez cover showing an anguished Superman bearing Supergirl's lifeless body was a striking image at the time and has been frequently imitated and parodied.  But you are correct, it has been done before.  There was a pretty well-known Silver Age "Death of Robin" story, back when having Robin die was something rare.

          Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

          by quarkstomper on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 01:46:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  There are some very, very good artists in comics (3+ / 0-)

      Some of the ones I've seen mentioned in this thread are Wendy Pini, Colleen Doran, Alex Ross, and David Aja.  I'm also fond of Phil Noto, Chris Pacheco, and John Byrne, and I've seen some good stuff from Steve Epting and Chris Samnee.   And of course there's Frank Miller, who really changed the whole industry with The Dark Knight back in the 1980s.

      And when it comes to graphic novels, there are tons of good artists.  In particular, check out Alison Bechdel.  Her memoir of her father, Fun Home, was a National Book Award finalist a few years ago, and it deserved it.  

  •  How timely. RL featured on BoingBoing today (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, wonderful world

    honi soit qui mal y pense

    by admadm on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 11:09:46 AM PDT

  •  Remiinds Me Of This "Super Stupor" Strip (4+ / 0-)

    On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

    by stevemb on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 11:10:36 AM PDT

  •  You're taling this waaaay to seriously. (0+ / 0-)

    I mean, we're talking about comics here.  Who ever said they had to reflect reality?  We're not talking fine art; this is flights of fancy.  Physique-bending artwork is part and parcel of worlds in which reality itself is bent.  Insisting on accurate anatomical proportions is like insisting that super heroes' powers be based in reality, as well.    Just.  Calm.  Down.  8-)

    (But if you insist on more anatomically correct comic art, I can highly recommend Sara Pichelli, Giuseppi Camuncoli, or Stefano Caselli, all of whom have done Spider-Man work over at Marvel.  Good stuff.)

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 08:44:09 PM PDT

    •  Or even "taking it" way to seriously. -eom- (0+ / 0-)

      The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

      by TheOrchid on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 08:48:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's stylized and then there's AAAIEEEEE (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheOrchid, RiveroftheWest

      Felipe Andrade's run on Captain Marvel was stylized.  John Romita Jr.'s work, which I am seriously unhappy with (especially in Captain America, and oh how glad I am that he's leaving the book after #10), ditto.  Liefeld's is firmly in the AAAIIIEEEEE category.

      (thanks for the recs!  I'll look for them)

      •  oh, and David Marquez, too... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        ...from the same Ultimate Spider-Man series (with Miles Morales).

        I'm with you on JR.Jr - I was never happy with his art, but he was, for years, a go-to guy for Spider-Man, so I got used to it...  :-P

        (And for the record, yes, I agree Liefeld's Captain America, as inked in the diary, was a bit silly, even for stylization...)

        The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

        by TheOrchid on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 08:19:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  OT manga news: attempt to ban "Barefoot Gen" fails (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quarkstomper, RiveroftheWest
    The Matsue education board decided Monday to retract its request to limit student access to the comic book "Hadashi no Gen" ("Barefoot Gen") amid reports that sales of manga are soaring.

    The board in the capital of Shimane Prefecture, had urged municipal elementary and junior high schools to restrict access to the comic book series about the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and require teacher authorization to read it, claiming the manga contained "extreme" scenes and language not suitable for youngsters.

    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/...

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by lotlizard on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 03:55:37 AM PDT

    •  Wait, "Barefoot Gen" is a classic (3+ / 0-)

      And isn't it about forty years old?  What????

      •  Some kind of shifting political winds, I guess. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        Like some people in the U.S. who think kids shouldn't be reading Huckleberry Finn or whatever.

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ☮ ♥ ☺

        by lotlizard on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 04:59:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Hiroshima Scenes Are Pretty Horrific (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        It's a really dark story with some nightmarish imagery; and the characters are drawn in this chipper, cutesy style.  I can see a parent or a teacher being freaked out by it.  I can see a child having nightmares over it.  I would not be averse to my own 9-year-old reading it, but I would want to be there when she did to talk about it with her and discuss any questions or concerns she had.

        Despite the darkness and the horror and the cruelty and the death, Barefoot Gen is at it's core a hopeful, optimistic story about courage and resiliance.  But that hope gleams against an overwhelming background of misery; made all the more stark because the creator was drawing on his own expericences.  He was a child living in Hiroshima the day the Bomb dropped; he survived the blast solely because he happened to be standing next to a wall which shielded him while the man who stopped him to ask for direction burned to death; he saw people with their skin hanging off from their flesh as if their bodies were melting; his mother, eight months pregnant witnessed the rest of her family dying in front of her in a burning building as he struggled vainly to save them; he had to get water for his mother and newborn sister from a river with the bodies of dead children floating in it.

        This is not Pokemon.

        I can understand a teacher worrying about it being too graphic for younger readers.  But at the same time, I think it is an important story.  It deserves to be shared, and discussed.

        Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

        by quarkstomper on Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:03:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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