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WAITING FOR TOMMY: ROB LIEFELD REVISITED
By Richard Johnston

RICHARD: Might that not indicate the fans want a step backwards, and everyone's just now more willing to march in line with that step?

ROB: No, I think it means that the alternatives were just not good enough. Plain and simple as that. Changes were attempted with mixed results at best. People like what they like, there's no harm in giving them steak if they want steak. If they want flan there's flan to be found.

RICHARD: Well since you've got your Nostradamus head on, what else do you see in the undercurrent of comics? What's the future going to hold?

ROB: Better sales at the top, less tolerance at the bottom of the charts. Comic fans have so many more choices nowadays, it's the same as the broadening from network to cable, they won't just support the same old comic if the books aren't up to snuff. The middle ground is vanishing fast. If I can get an exciting SUPERMAN/BATMAN story by A-listers, Jeph Loeb and Mike Turner, why do I buy the others with lesser production values and B-list talent? I don't and neither are others. The downside is that experimentation is left out in the cold, but the indie market will survive and continue to push the envelope. The big companies are getting better financial results putting big commercial packages together, they're appetites are growing as a result. The dilemma that will be faced for them is if there is enough A-list talent to produce the big results that are driving their spreadsheets.

SUPREME: THE RETURN TPB

RICHARD: And how about comics now compared to comics ten years ago. What are the major differences that you see, both in the work and in the industry?

ROB: A better balance of commerce and art.

RICHARD: Is it working through? Aside from the top twenty, sales are slip sliding away right now. The market right seems buoyed by a series of events, specials and stunt casting, rather than a sense of continual, long-term creation. Can this be sustained, or do we expect a new event every six months now?

ROB: I touched on that above. That's the big dilemma. Can they continue to grab big movie talent and put them to work on big titles? Kevin Smith broke the dam wide open, especially with Green Arrow, are there other Whedon's and Singer's. Can Tarantino be turned? Rodriguez? Spielberg? Cameron? I'm certain the results would be spectacular. Is there enough pie to share? We'll certainly see in the months and years ahead.

RICHARD: When last we spoke, while Youngblood Bloodsport was being promoted, I asked you about your reputation for lateness. I asked "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?" You agreed it was a valid point and concluded "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." You've previously said that you weren't satisfied with your work on Bloodsport and went back and redrew it a number of times. Yet further schedules, plans and guarantees were repeatedly made and repeatedly broken. Is this a problem for you? It's one you've recognized, do you think you can kick it once and for all?

ROB: Eventually I can. I'm doing my very best to synergize the X-Force and the Youngblood work at the moment. If all works out both will go global at the same time.

RICHARD: Well, you've spoken about your movie work taking up so much of your time, putting in huge amounts of hours each week. Considering you've been pursuing Hollywood for ten years now, there hasn't been anything to show for it that the punters can see. A lot of promises, a lot of expectation, but nothing on the screen. Does this not frustrate you? Do you still believe something will click there? Or does it not matter if the options keep rolling in?

ROB: The movie stuff does indeed take up a considerable amount of time, especially travel. Someday's it's faster for me to fly to New York than to commute to L.A. back and forth. And it's actually been more like 12 years since I started dealing with Hollywood and trying to get a movie from page to screen. Obviously it can be very frustrating but as long as people continue to meet with me and buy my projects I'll continue to work at it. I have a meeting this morning with a red hot actor and producer about a new project which is why I'm answering this at the crack of dawn so I can get out of here and high tail it up the freeway. I may be as old as Stan Lee was when Spider Man opens but I'm confident it will happen. And before someone says, but Marvel had cartoons and T.V. long before they had movies, I don't pursue T.V. at all as my only dealing with networks were 10 years ago and more frustrating than anything I've ever encountered. My focus is on movies for the near future.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 Continued Here...

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