sticks out of the comics industry like a thumb that's been trapped
in a door and then slammed shut repeatedly over a period of
weeks while alcohol is dripped on it.
Emerging initially with an Art Adams-y art style on Hawk And Dove, his run
on New Mutants was a debut that would affect the look of comics
for decades to come. That run saw Marvel relaunch the book
as X-Force, and let him be the central creative force. Leaving
Marvel to form Image Comics, he created more books in the
same style, bringing on artists who did passable imitations
of his style, but never quite captured his unique look. He
kicked off the concept of being a comics superstar, which
juxtaposed symmetrically with his sudden fall and resignation/expulsion
from Image, the company he'd created.
Amidst failed movie deals, projects that have never come off, and declining
sales, Rob Liefeld's appearance on a mainstream property such
as Wolverine was guaranteed to lift it by tens if not hundreds
of thousands of sales.
Some people love him. A lot hate him. And now he,s got a brand new Youngblood
with which to entertain us.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Rob Liefeld. The bete noir of comics.
RICHARD: To what extent do you see your career in comics, so far as having affected the current comic book industry and marketplace? What is your legacy?
ROB: Honestly Rich, I have no idea at all. To some I'm the devil, to others I'm someone they remember fondly. Depends on the person and the time of year.
RICHARD: Okay then, what about Image? It made your fortune... and then lost it again.
ROB: I know that the creation of Image Comics had an enormous impact on shaping the industry as it is today, both positively and negatively. For the better, we proved that we could break the hold of the big two and created a better free agent marketplace for everyone in the business. Page rates and salaries got better as a result of what we did. Freelancers really benefited from the risk we took. As for creatively, nothing from that period, from anyone at any company, really resonates for me. We had plenty of fun along the way and proved that independent companies can dominate the marketplace with the right product.
For the worse, we got too rich too quick and when that stopped the production of our books, it had a negative impact on everyone. But it's absurd to think that late books from any or all the companies resulted in the slump that hit in the mid-'90s. Technology, in both movies and most importantly, games, rose up to make comics less appealing. Games got the cool factor that comics longed for and there was and has been no looking back. Comic stores have been replaced by Game stores, stocked to the brim with the latest vid games for 3 or for consoles. Image, Valiant, Marvel and DC are nowhere near responsible for the seismic shift to games. Nor could we prevent it, much less compete with it.
Publishing has been slumping for everyone, again, due to technology. We're in the middle of a period where we'll either adapt and learn to translate our craft better for new technology or we'll fade away.
RICHARD: And your legacy?
ROB: It's way to early to be talking about that
at this stage in my life.