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Waiting For Tommy XXII
Interview with Rob Liefeld
RICHARD: Okay, well, so you don't blame lateness for the boom and bust, I think some retailers with columns of Deathmate may disagree, but what about other factors? Do you feel at all responsible for the boom and bust, and the resultant dramatic fall in sales?

ROB: No, everything fell in sales. We're living in a depressed comic reality. But certainly I am responsible for shipping either late products or no products and losing money for retailers and faith with fans. But I'm not accountable for say, the fact that other companies books ship late. Whether Image contributed to the early '90s boom or not is really not for me to say. Some say yes, others, no, but regardless we'll always be strongly associated with the boom and bust. Image Comics created mass hysteria and that resonates strongly with many people from that time. I have interns at studios telling me how they waited in lines for our books and they associate that with good times. We made so many mistakes though and that is also harbored by many fans. But as for the bust, I refer to my previous answer.

RICHARD: Alright, let's look at the work. Your critics, myself among them, find little artistic endeavour in your writing. While I have a fondness for some of your artwork, I find myself agreeing that much of your work has lacked form, function and storytelling ability. To what do you ascribe your success in the field, which seems to take so much time out to criticize you?

ROB: My success came largely as a result from the radical departure, both conceptually and artistically, from what had come before. It's pointed out in Scott Mcloud's Understanding Comics that the style I developed, and Todd developed, and others copied to a large extent, was a much more hostile approach to the page than was currently available.

Comics were very static and rigid and then we rebelled on the page using jagged lines and broken panels and two and three page splashes in ridiculous excess, and we connected with the youthful audience who responded to our rage and energy. We were literally, the "Grunge music" of comics. Instead of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, there was Spawn, Wildcats and Youngblood.

As for stories that I've penned, Rich, I'll be the first to tell you that they are pure pop and fun. Cable/Stryfe/New Mutants/X-Force was a great romp, with great twists and turns along the way. It was pure super soap opera with well-timed cliff-hangers. Simple and entertaining. The time will come to tell something more personal, compelling, but not just yet. There are some scathing themes in Bloodsport, but that's Millar's gig.

RICHARD: We'll get onto Bloodsport in a minute, I'm sure, but how about those pesky critics? If it's all such fun and games, why can't they, and many other readers these days, see it?

ROB: The critics are welcome to their opinions. I'm not sure that in most cases I would disagree with some of the harsher critiques, but again I have not aspired to have created brilliant work up to this point

RICHARD: Okay, when Alan Moore addressed your universe of characters in Judgment Day, they were revealed to be the wish-fulfillment fantasies and ravings of an obsessed adolescent, given too much power. What do you think he was trying to say?

ROB: That I'm a former power mad crazy adolescent and that if given absolute power would destroy the Universe as we know it. I try to have fun with my work, if it's not your cup o' tea then keep moving.

RICHARD: But is that the only reason they keep moving? Rob, since you left Image, hell, for a while before, your output has been sporadic at best and you've gained a reputation for not delivering what you've promised. Series remain unpublished, or cut down before completion. Lateness, even on your latest project -- Youngblood: Bloodsport -- has been the norm. How can reader and retailers trust you again to deliver on your word? Why should they pick up this first issue when your recent history at least indicates that they might never get the finished story?

ROB: This is a great and valid point. I can't think of anything I could say that could convince anyone that the product will arrive on time. I just need to produce the work, and I intend to do just that. Hopefully the fans will enjoy the results.

Continued here...

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