Along with this news, he caused a big fire storm of controversy upon his exit, with twitter battles with the likes of Marvel Comics editor Tom Brevoort and DC Comics Batman Writer Scott Snyder, and most recently DC Comics artist Gene Ha. Liefeld may be the most polarizing creator in comic books history. But when exactly did that happen? Does he deserve the nuclear heat he has on himself?
As mentioned in other blogs I’ve written, I missed most of the late 80’s stuff and some of the 1990, 1991 stuff because I hadn’t grown into the more “adult” comics yet, so I really discovered Liefeld with Youngblood #1. But then again, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Let’s start from the beginning.
After graduating high school, Rob Liefeld took life drawing lessons in a junior college and sent his portfolio works to independent studios in fear of being rejected by the big two, Marvel and DC. Later on a friend told him about a comic book convention in San Francisco and the pair decided to go there and stay in a relative’s home to be able to attend this convention.
At this convention he showed around a ten page sequential sample with original characters because he felt too intimidated to draw actual established characters, in fear that it would pale in comparison to the current works of artists at the time. He approached then DC editor Dick Giordano with his samples and was instructed to send in more samples of his work. Then his friend insisted on him to present his sample at the Marvel booth. At his friend’s insistence he went over and former editor Mark Gruenwald, who offered on the spot a back up story in the Avengers of Black Panther. Liefeld was only nineteen years old, he was on his way.
I remember a time when most everybody I knew tried to emulate his style. And to this day he still has followers and has re-launched most of his Extreme titles to some success. Or is it perhaps what some say, he’s good at coming up with concepts but is better off letting other talents take care of his creations?
I honestly have never considered myself a Liefeld “hater” nor am I a huge fan of his work. I think his work is ok, I liked his earlier work better from what I’ve seen in trades and back issues. Throughout the comic book history, many artists have, talent wise, about the same strengths and weaknesses that Liefeld has, yet they are held in high regard. Is it because of all the controversy and bad decisions that Liefeld has made that precedes his talents? Is it because back then even as far as the 80s, there wasn’t such a public forum like Twitter and Facebook around? In all honesty, Rob Liefeld intrigues me for that fact. It’s undeniable the passion he has for the industry. I even still have an issue of Wizard Magazine where he gave a tour of Extreme Studios in the 90s. But is his temper and personality his own worst enemy? Had he not gone so public in his fights with his peers, would he be viewed differently today? At one point he was one of the most revolutionary artists of his time.
Will he ever work at the big two ever again after his recent blowups on Twitter? Who knows, maybe down the line. From accounts from different people, he does seem like a real good, positive person in real life, and many say that’s why he does get many chances still within the industry. I don’t know what exactly the future holds for Rob Liefeld, nor what his legacy will be in the comic book industry, but one thing is for sure. Love him or hate him, we all sure like talking about him, don't we? Leave your thoughts on Rob Liefeld as you wish and as always you are always welcomed to be for or against my personal thoughts and present an open debate. Until next time, thank you for reading and stay safe!
-Alvaro “Lance Danger” Cortes Ortiz Jr