Tag Archives: rob liefeld

See Ya, True Believers!

16 Sep

Alright, let’s wrap this sucker up before I get torn away again.

Thanks to everyone’s enthusiastic support for the blog the past year. I developed the concept for this blog in April of 2010, after having half-finished my first comic book-related blog project, The Amazing Spider-Ads (about funny comic book ads), and being inspired by sites like The 40 Worst Rob Liefeld Drawings and Not Blog X, pointing a critical eye at the excesses of the 90’s mutant craze, but also with a self-deprecating eye as fans who liked this as youth.

At one point I wanted to do a one-a-day crappy Rob Liefeld post, but the concept had kinda been done, I wasn’t as encyclopedic with my Liefeld knowledge, and honestly I dunno if I could’ve put up with months of poring over crappy drawings. I wanted to do something I was closer to, something that I loved enough that I could feel perfectly secure tearing it apart. X-Cards was it.

Just two weeks before this site debuted in January, a bit of kismet gave me a personal boost. The launch of Spawn #200 set up an Image Comics reunion at Los Angeles’ Golden Apple Comics, with Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, and JIM LEE doing a signing (Stan Lee was apparently there in a private even earlier in the day). I had never met any of these guys before, having only ever attended two conventions before in my life, and somewhere in my childhood bedroom was a 5-page handwritten letter to Todd McFarlane that was far too gushing (I am not yet accomplished enough where uncovering it wouldn’t look totally pathetic).

I’m royally disappointed that I didn’t actually have any X-Cards at the time for Lee to sign; in full disclosure I never owned more than a handful of these cards, and I don’t know if I have them stored anywhere. They were rare and prohibitively expensive to a kid from the Philippines, both in the Philippines and as a recent US immigrant. Instead I had Lee sign one of several copies of the deluxe X-Men #1 I had found in a dollar bin in a Goodwill store. The first picture is myself and Lee, the second are of Liefeld, Lee, and McFarlane. 12-year-old-me would’ve had a heart attack.

I told him briefly about my blog project, and he seemed amused. He told me a bit about the process of drawing the cards. He said he drew them all in random order, more about whom he felt drawing at any given time. He also said that the first batches he drew only took something like half an hour but as fatigue and creative frustration crept in the cards started taking up to two hours each. He also said the original drawings were about the size of large postcards, about four times the size of the final products.

I wish I’d asked for a general idea which cards were done first, which ones he liked the best. I certainly have my theories. His A-List characters, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Professor X, Psylocke were tight, detailed renderings, whereas the more obscure characters, especially from Excalibur, like  Gatecrasher, were haphazard messes.

I continue to be fascinated by this era in comics, though I know a lot of this is a nostalgia bias. It’s just a part of comic history that both seemed inevitable and well-documented, but also frustrating in understanding how that perfect storm of egos and attitudes came together. It certainly changed the industry in ways still strongly felt today, for better or worse.

I actually haven’t spent too much time with present comics; I’m still fascinated with immersing myself in comic history, seeing what came before to understand how things came to be. There’s certainly so much of it there! But we’re at the end of this particular project; maybe I should see what’s out there now!

97,98,99 – DANGER ROOM: Cyclops, Cable, Colossus

29 Aug

Subject: Cyclops

I’d kind of noticed it before but never really thought about it too much, but man what is with Lee and drawing Cyclops (and other similar characters) with such a huge crotch? I understand it’s kind of a foreshortening that makes the character look taller, but when the focal point is a huge yellow Speedo, it’s just a little too damn distracting.

 

Subject: Cable

Where Lee drew Cyclops with a huge groin, Cable suffers (chronically) from gigantic thighs. Liefeld did it, and unfortunately Lee does it in this instance, though a little more subdued. It’s a kind of messiness that was nicely absent from his individual card, which was tightly rendered and posed. And since when does Cable have a spiked gauntlet? Who is he, Spawn?

 

Subject: Colossus

And to round out the panorama, we get Colossus. Lee is always pretty good when it comes to Peter, and it’s not like this pose is bad, but it’s a little muddled and honestly he looks no bigger than any of the other characters, when clearly he should be the largest out there (especially Wolverine). The posing in his side-b portrait is a more stock Colossus pose, the stoic face with the outstretched hand reaching out, giving Lee opportunity to show off the contours of Colossus’ muscles. In hindsight, he looks more like a creepy stalker (or Frankenstein) reaching out to his victim.

81 – SUNSPOT

1 Aug

Subject: Sunspot
Real Name: Roberto DaCosta
Height: 5′ Weight: 130 lbs.
First Appearance: New Mutants Graphic Novel, 1982

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 2/7
  • Mental Powers: 1/7
  • Strength: 5/7
  • Fighting Ability: 4/7
  • Intelligence: 3/7

Wow, 5 feet tall and 130 pounds? That’s borderline littleperson, and in the world of comics, it’s virtually unheard of for an otherwise normal superhero to be shorter than 5’8″ (notable exception is our favorite 5-foot-3 razorblade bowling ball). Even Marvel’s resident scrawny nerd Peter Parker is a full 10 inches taller and 30+ pounds more massive.

Since The New Mutants were just slightly before my time, I didn’t really know much about Sunspot’s history with the other members of X-Force. In fact, my earliest vivid memory of Sunspot was in X-Force #15, when he was rescued by X-Force along with other former New Mutant Rictor (who does not get his own card, apparently).

I still never figured out why Liefeld couldn’t find room for Sunspot in X-Force, same with Rictor and Wolfsbane, whom, I’d mentioned before, was replaced with Feral, who was basically the same character. It seems as though Sunspot’s strongman role was replaced by Warpath, who certainly looked the part much more. I guess Liefeld just couldn’t process a 5-foot-3 Brazilian kid being the team’s heavy.

Of course Liefeld couldn’t help but disgrace him before his dismissal by donning him in one of the lamest costumes in X-Men history, with a bright red shirt with matching Zorro eyemask. Seriously, didn’t the Ninja Turtles bury that wardrobe element as a serious piece of fighting costume forever? You’ve got a guy with one of the more visually unique looks out there (being jet-black and radiating… black power), he really doesn’t even need a costume.

I almost forgot to review the Power Ratings, it had been so long since we’d done them. Roberto’s fares pretty well, with a powerful 5/7 rating for Strength, and even respectable Fighting Ability and Intelligence ratings, neither of which sound out of the ordinary, but I certainly can’t remember specific instances that would support or contradict such a claim.