Saturday, December 21, 2013

In Defense of Rob Liefeld

The comic that inspired the review that inspired this post
I am a fan of the comic book review series Atop The Fourth Wall. While I think its host (Linkara) is talented, he is not immune to making mistakes or doing the occasional dumb thing. In his review of Youngblood issue 5, he criticizes the comic's creator Rob Liefeld. I though his augments were rubbish. As such, I am here to debunk his augments.
"You can tell me about the runs from Alan Moore or the revived series from 2011 and that's great. ... But... Youngblood is a team that does not deserve all the hard work of creators!... Let Youngblood die!"
So because the original series was bad, no one should every work on it? Alan Moore's first superhero comic, Marvelman, was a sequel to a series that was about a bland superhero series no cared about prior.
"It's just bunch of unmemorable rip-off character growling and grinding teeth and saying really stupid things and squinting and doing over-exaggerated poses and that c***."
While I agree his art is bad, you have to keep his art in context. His art style was the style popular in the '90s (when the comic was made). Like fashions, comic art styles aren't immune to becoming outdated as is the case of Rob's art.
And yes, a lot of his characters are inspired or based on other characters. However, good creators have done this in successful and beloved series. For example, the following creators did so: Alan Moore (whose famous Watchmen characters are based on Charlton Comics’ superhero line), Grant Morrison (who wrote the Flex Mentallo and Zenith comics, which feature tons of homages to other characters) and Bob Kane (who based Batman on the likes of Zorro and the Shadow).
"Rob Liefeld does not deserve the amount of loyalty he has engendered. What's that? 'Rob Liefeld is really enthusiastic about the industry and is really awesome guy if you know him in person and love comics and everything about the medium?' ... I am enthusiastic about the medium and no one says I should be drawing comic books!"
Barring rare exceptions, no one is asked to write or draw comic books. You have to work to get to make comics. Liefeld, unlike Linkara, actually did go through the trials of becoming comic creator. That combined with his enthusiasm for his job is why people like him.
"Rob Liefeld can't write. Rob Liefeld can't draw. Rob Liefeld can't create! Don't go telling me about how he created Deadpool and Cable. 1) He didn't "create' Deadpool. He created some boring-a** mercenary that spoke in yellow-colored speech bubbles. No one would give a d*** about him if not for the work of everyone else, but him. As for Cable, ... you found one, all of one, character that Rob Liefeld created that's actually good except a good creator is capable of creating more than one good character. Liefeld, on the other hand, settles on creating sixty thousand characters and none of them are good."
Paraphrasing from the TvTropes page “Sturgeon's Law”, most of what is produce is complete garbage. So, how can a creator possibly create good characters 100% of the time? Do people call one-hit wonder musicians (Carl Douglas, Bobby Pickett and the band A-ha) lazy? No, because they were able create masterpieces even once.
As for Deadpool, yes, the character did not become popular until it was in other people’s hands. However, the X-Men didn't become popular until Chris Claremont rebooted him. Yet, Linkara said Stan Lee created the X-Men.
"Companies stop giving him work."
So because Linkara doesn't like his work, he should NEVER be allowed to work in comics ever again? Because he created a bunch of terrible characters?  By that logic, all creators should never get work since every creator creates characters someone thinks are bad.
"Liefeld and his ilk ruined entire generation of comic artists."
Then, explain this: "A lot of artist managed to break free of that style when they realized how awful it looked". This quote is from Linkara's review of Newmen issue 1.
While I agree that Rob Liefeld is not that good of a creator, I still think this argument against him was ridiculous. However, I am not saying I don’t value Linkara or his show. I am saying he should have thought his argument out better.   

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