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Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

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Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Old 06-27-23, 07:05 PM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Speaking seriously, tons of worse artists operating in comics over the years. Liefeld is probably in the bottom 20%, however.
Old 06-28-23, 08:19 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

The art that I'm seeing in comics the past 5 years or so is horrendous. Rob's art is dynamic and demands attention. It's not detailed and the details there are aren't usually accurate but if he were doing regular art today I'd at least flip through his books.
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Old 06-28-23, 09:14 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Originally Posted by Timber
The art that I'm seeing in comics the past 5 years or so is horrendous. Rob's art is dynamic and demands attention. It's not detailed and the details there are aren't usually accurate but if he were doing regular art today I'd at least flip through his books.
Yeah, the filler stuff these days in DC and Marvel often feature barely serviceable art. Especially when they go outside the house style.
Old 06-28-23, 10:28 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Rob was good when he had a good inker like McFarlane and someone was editing him. The moment that stopped, it's when things went to shit. You can see on Liefeld's Hawk and Dove and New Mutant's run that he was a very exciting artist and that the characters looked different and dynamic. Once he started calling the shots and being a one man show, his art deteriorated. Compare him to Jim Lee who was an amazing inker in Scott Williams and you can see why the art of Lee is appreciated while Liefeld is mocked.

A big comic book collector named Aaron Meyers said something recently that struck a cord with me. It's clear that Rob knows his shit. He's one of the biggest names in comic book history, but instead of taking Stan Lee's baton of being a hype man for the industry, Rob is only a hype man for himself. Meyers said that Rob could easily be the industry's biggest ambassador if he wanted. Rob has the passion, love and charisma to be a carnival barker. Instead, he has taken the route of being an asshole know it all, loudly shouting his opinions and shitting on everyone that disagrees with him. Several years back, Rob had a stupid fallout with Archie while doing the Shield revival book. In the process, he decided to shit on Francesco Francavilla's cover art for the book for no reason whatsoever. One rule in the industry is that if you work in it, you may dislike someone else's art or writing, but you don't say it publicly out of respect for your fellow peers. Rob took that professional courtesy and completely shit on it.
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Old 06-28-23, 06:41 PM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

I'm sure I've expressed this before in this thread, but I think early Image (1992ish) was Rob's peak as an artist. By '94 things were starting to change for the worse, imo, and by Heroes Reborn things had gone completely off the rails. What I've seen of his more recent work is not good. I think it looks way worse than what he was putting out 30-35 years ago.
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Old 06-28-23, 07:31 PM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Originally Posted by The Spectre
Rob was good when he had a good inker like McFarlane and someone was editing him. The moment that stopped, it's when things went to shit. You can see on Liefeld's Hawk and Dove and New Mutant's run that he was a very exciting artist and that the characters looked different and dynamic. Once he started calling the shots and being a one man show, his art deteriorated. Compare him to Jim Lee who was an amazing inker in Scott Williams and you can see why the art of Lee is appreciated while Liefeld is mocked.
Agreed on all of this.

People tend to forget this, but he really did provide The New Mutants with a much-needed kick in the ass. Until he came on, that was a completely pointless book that he provided a new aesthetic and new direction to. It's easy to see who he became a star with that.

But his art deteriorated the more he leveraged his stardom, and lost oversight. Whereas Jim Lee was able to refine his art and become better and better. I remember that characters with open mouths looked weird in some of earlier work that he was able to eliminate by the time he was on X-Men. But while Lee was doing that, Liefeld became a parody of himself and amplified all of his worst traits.

I would almost compare Liefeld to Miller, who, over the years went from this:




To this:




Old 06-28-23, 10:59 PM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Holy shit, that Wolverine cover is atrocious. Even when FM did Sin City in that brush and ink style, it looked great. He hasn't given a crap in years, though.


As far as Liefeld goes, he's always been a shitty artist. His sense of proportion, hands, feet, etc. I will not give him the benefit of the doubt.
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Old 06-29-23, 05:35 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

I wonder how much of Rob's art on New Mutants and X-Force was touched up by the art department.

I remember reading that John Romita redrew Odin's face on the cover of New Mutants #85...



And some of the art in X-Force looked like it was drawn by Marat Mychaels, who was Liefeld's assistant at the time, because the characters would have uneven eyes, and that was something that was showing up in the later Image books Mychaels drew. He started getting art credits alongside Liefeld on later issues of X-Force, but I don't think he was credited on his first few.

(I remember seeing some recent art from Mychaels a while back, and he's gotten pretty good and moved beyond a Liefeld clone.)



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Old 06-29-23, 09:10 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Originally Posted by Why So Blu?
Holy shit, that Wolverine cover is atrocious. Even when FM did Sin City in that brush and ink style, it looked great. He hasn't given a crap in years, though.

It literally looks like a 9-year-old drew it. Fucking awful.
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Old 06-29-23, 02:02 PM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Originally Posted by Timber
Rob's art is dynamic and demands attention.
So is a car crash, but I still hate rubberneckers.
Old 06-29-23, 02:05 PM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
Agreed on all of this.

People tend to forget this, but he really did provide The New Mutants with a much-needed kick in the ass. Until he came on, that was a completely pointless book that he provided a new aesthetic and new direction to. It's easy to see who he became a star with that.

But his art deteriorated the more he leveraged his stardom, and lost oversight. Whereas Jim Lee was able to refine his art and become better and better. I remember that characters with open mouths looked weird in some of earlier work that he was able to eliminate by the time he was on X-Men. But while Lee was doing that, Liefeld became a parody of himself and amplified all of his worst traits.

I would almost compare Liefeld to Miller, who, over the years went from this:




To this:


This reminds me of those analyses where they show a person's self portrait before and during progression into dementia.
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Old 06-30-23, 07:24 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Originally Posted by The Spectre
Rob was good when he had a good inker like McFarlane and someone was editing him. The moment that stopped, it's when things went to shit. You can see on Liefeld's Hawk and Dove and New Mutant's run that he was a very exciting artist and that the characters looked different and dynamic. Once he started calling the shots and being a one man show, his art deteriorated. Compare him to Jim Lee who was an amazing inker in Scott Williams and you can see why the art of Lee is appreciated while Liefeld is mocked.

A big comic book collector named Aaron Meyers said something recently that struck a cord with me. It's clear that Rob knows his shit. He's one of the biggest names in comic book history, but instead of taking Stan Lee's baton of being a hype man for the industry, Rob is only a hype man for himself. Meyers said that Rob could easily be the industry's biggest ambassador if he wanted. Rob has the passion, love and charisma to be a carnival barker. Instead, he has taken the route of being an asshole know it all, loudly shouting his opinions and shitting on everyone that disagrees with him. Several years back, Rob had a stupid fallout with Archie while doing the Shield revival book. In the process, he decided to shit on Francesco Francavilla's cover art for the book for no reason whatsoever. One rule in the industry is that if you work in it, you may dislike someone else's art or writing, but you don't say it publicly out of respect for your fellow peers. Rob took that professional courtesy and completely shit on it.
Regarding Hawk & Dove, there's info out there from Karl Kesel and Mike Carlin about how Liefeld's art had to be fixed. Including Kesel having to draw in lots of hands and feet that Liefeld just left out. This was very early work from a young penciler so that's to be expected and I doubt either would hold it against him. Under normal circumstances. The straw that broke the camel's back was when Liefeld took it upon himself to draw most of the issue sideways. In order to fix the art to be read vertically, like a normal comic, Carlin had to chop up copies of the pages, reorganize the art in the "normal" format, and Kesel had redraw, expand, fix, or completely draw whole panels himself. Here are some examples of Liefeld's sideways pencil pages and the equivalent printed comic: https://bleedingcool.com/comics/rob-...ove-from-1988/

This quote from Kesel (which relays a quote from Carlin) touches on your comments above:
Mike Carlin once said of Rob: ďHe has it. He just doesnít have it yet.Ē And I couldnít agree more. Rob is one of the most energetic and charming people Iíve ever metĖ you canít help but like himĖ and at the time of H&D his work showed great potential. But success came far too quickly and easily to him, and he never felt the need to develop that potential. Which is really too bad, because if he did Iím certain he would have left a very different mark on the industry. Not that things worked out that badly for him.

I agree with the above and am willing to extend the conclusion from "He just doesn't have it yet." to "He never found it." He had a lot of potential but peaked around his X-Force days and never did anything to move forward. In my personal opinion, his subsequent art frequently regressed as compared to his X-Force days.
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Old 06-30-23, 07:34 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
Agreed on all of this.

People tend to forget this, but he really did provide The New Mutants with a much-needed kick in the ass. Until he came on, that was a completely pointless book that he provided a new aesthetic and new direction to. It's easy to see who he became a star with that.

But his art deteriorated the more he leveraged his stardom, and lost oversight. Whereas Jim Lee was able to refine his art and become better and better. I remember that characters with open mouths looked weird in some of earlier work that he was able to eliminate by the time he was on X-Men. But while Lee was doing that, Liefeld became a parody of himself and amplified all of his worst traits.

I would almost compare Liefeld to Miller, who, over the years went from this:




To this:


Much of the original cover is Rubinstein and it makes me wonder how detailed Miller's pencils were. For the interiors as well. You see a lot of Rubinstein on those pages. Miller's biggest strength has always been his storytelling/layouts which are great throughout Wolverine, Daredevil, etc.

The recent Wolverine above is nothing like his old art but there's something visceral about it that hearkens back to his Sin City days, through the lens of the older, maybe more frail (or less well? I don't know Miller's health situation but he hasn't looked great for a while), artist he is today. I won't go out of my way to buy it but won't trash it either. I will say that I don't think it works as a cover and reeks of Marvel looking to make a quick buck off of Miller's name/history.
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Old 06-30-23, 10:59 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Originally Posted by ytrez
Regarding Hawk & Dove, there's info out there from Karl Kesel and Mike Carlin about how Liefeld's art had to be fixed. Including Kesel having to draw in lots of hands and feet that Liefeld just left out. This was very early work from a young penciler so that's to be expected and I doubt either would hold it against him. Under normal circumstances. The straw that broke the camel's back was when Liefeld took it upon himself to draw most of the issue sideways. In order to fix the art to be read vertically, like a normal comic, Carlin had to chop up copies of the pages, reorganize the art in the "normal" format, and Kesel had redraw, expand, fix, or completely draw whole panels himself. Here are some examples of Liefeld's sideways pencil pages and the equivalent printed comic: https://bleedingcool.com/comics/rob-...ove-from-1988/

This quote from Kesel (which relays a quote from Carlin) touches on your comments above:
Mike Carlin once said of Rob: “He has it. He just doesn’t have it yet.” And I couldn’t agree more. Rob is one of the most energetic and charming people I’ve ever met– you can’t help but like him– and at the time of H&D his work showed great potential. But success came far too quickly and easily to him, and he never felt the need to develop that potential. Which is really too bad, because if he did I’m certain he would have left a very different mark on the industry. Not that things worked out that badly for him.

I agree with the above and am willing to extend the conclusion from "He just doesn't have it yet." to "He never found it." He had a lot of potential but peaked around his X-Force days and never did anything to move forward. In my personal opinion, his subsequent art frequently regressed as compared to his X-Force days.

Oof, looks like Kesel had re-do more than just the panels - he re-did most of the proportions of the figures. JFC, that's some heavy lifting to try and still make it look like Liefeld, even though the original Liefeld panels looked even worse.
Old 06-30-23, 11:23 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Many of the top stylized artists of the past 40 years have learned to adapt and share responsibilities with inkers to make their work better. All except 3. Liefeld, Frank Miller and John Romita JR. The 3 of them have gotten to a position of power that they refuse to take criticism or ask for help to do things. Thatís why the works of these trio has gone completely downhill over the past 40 years. I know age can be a factor but itís widely known that these 3 refuse to listen to critics and in response they double down on their weaknesses as power play moves.

Itís unfortunate because the 3 of them were actually good at their job but this thing about not listening to editors is completely bullshit
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Old 07-02-23, 01:10 PM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

I've never liked Liefeld's art. So, to me, he's never been good.

Romita Jr, though - I love his art. I haven't seen anything that I don't like. Granted, I haven't seen much from the last few years, but I did get some Spider-Man trades from last year that I skimmed through and the art looks good.
Old 07-03-23, 01:03 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Originally Posted by B5Erik
I've never liked Liefeld's art. So, to me, he's never been good.

Romita Jr, though - I love his art. I haven't seen anything that I don't like. Granted, I haven't seen much from the last few years, but I did get some Spider-Man trades from last year that I skimmed through and the art looks good.
His style has actually devolved over the years. I was never a fan even in his younger days but JRJR's art has taken a bad turn away from any recognizable house style Marvel or DC use. I used to respect his artwork but today it looks...odd.
Old 07-03-23, 09:04 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

I will give artists like Miller and JRJR this, while I might not like their current styles, you can see how they have adapted their styles to something that is uniquely their own, at least, and you could say that it's a difference in style. I don't think you can say that Liefeld's art has evolved in the same way. And I agree that Marat Mychaels shadow pencilled some of those X-force issues (at the very least certain pages/panels).

Liefeld is not the worst artist in all of comics by any stretch, but he is probably one of the worst who has reached icon status.

It's funny to me that someone brings up early Image as Liefeld's peak. While I liked his art in Youngblood, he put out issues so sporadically that who knows how long he had to draw them. And then you have Heroes Reborn.

I think I said this before, but of all the early Image founder clones, I think Travis Charest is the most astonishing, to the point that when he took over WildCATs for a bit I preferred his work over Jim Lee.
Old 07-03-23, 09:34 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Originally Posted by fujishig
I will give artists like Miller and JRJR this, while I might not like their current styles, you can see how they have adapted their styles to something that is uniquely their own, at least, and you could say that it's a difference in style. I don't think you can say that Liefeld's art has evolved in the same way. And I agree that Marat Mychaels shadow pencilled some of those X-force issues (at the very least certain pages/panels).

Liefeld is not the worst artist in all of comics by any stretch, but he is probably one of the worst who has reached icon status.

It's funny to me that someone brings up early Image as Liefeld's peak. While I liked his art in Youngblood, he put out issues so sporadically that who knows how long he had to draw them. And then you have Heroes Reborn.

I think I said this before, but of all the early Image founder clones, I think Travis Charest is the most astonishing, to the point that when he took over WildCATs for a bit I preferred his work over Jim Lee.

I think Travis Charest's artwork was great, but it took him a while, because when he first started drawing WildCATS he would give the men effeminate qualities, especially in the way he used to draw men's mouths. They had some of the fullest lips I had ever seen on dudes in comics. And he was handpicked by Lee to draw WildCATS, while Lee went on a sabbatical!
Old 07-03-23, 09:35 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

As far as JRJR's artwork goes, I stopped paying attention to his work after Punisher War Zone.
Old 07-03-23, 10:58 AM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

'80s and '90s JR Jr was great, but he's definitely devolved.

Look at this ugly shit...




Old 07-03-23, 12:49 PM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

I never liked JRJR. I don't mind his early stuff on Spider-Man and Iron Man, but everything after holds little appeal. Daredevil was ok, I guess. I hated his X-Men. That's easily my least favorite stretch of Claremont's initial run. The stories are a big part of it, but JRJR was such a comedown after Cockrum/Byrne/Smith.

As for Frank Miller, I despise his modern stuff, but he only does covers at this point, doesn't he? What was his last interior run, Dark Knight Strikes Again? That was over 20 years ago. In other words, who cares if his art is terrible now.

Originally Posted by fujishig
It's funny to me that someone brings up early Image as Liefeld's peak. While I liked his art in Youngblood, he put out issues so sporadically that who knows how long he had to draw them. And then you have Heroes Reborn.
That was me. I'm talking his first year at Image, which included (and this is kind of off the top of my head) Youngblood #0-4, Darker Image #1, Youngblood Strikefile #1-3. Plus he was "writing" and doing covers for some of the related books like Brigade. That's not a prodigious output (especially considering a lot of those weren't full issues) and it wouldn't have cut the mustard at Marvel, but it's not the catastrophe it would become in year 2. And I think it all holds up favorably in comparison to his X-Force stuff, which went off the rails pretty quickly with fill-ins and ghost pencils after about issue #4.
Old 07-03-23, 01:14 PM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

Dear lord. Mary Jane's face was actually published that way?

I never liked JRJ and always wonder if people just liked him because of his name. He always seemed to be only as good as his inker...or how much his inker wanted to work.

I grew up on Byrne and Perez and countless others whose pencils were so tight that their shit was always good no matter who the inker was.

Old 07-03-23, 01:39 PM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

I disagree with Byrne. I'm not sure if his drawing style changed but a lot of his later work like Wonder Woman just looked off to me, and I kind of relate that to not having Austin ink him. Not that it was terrible, mind you.
Old 07-03-23, 02:01 PM
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Re: Rob Liefeld - Worst comic book artist ever?

^Who was the inker? That could have been it more than anything.

I remember reading his WW stuff and wasn't thrown off by the art looking terribly different. I was more annoyed by the story.

Is the true tell when an artist inks themselves? I always found that Austin or Kesel inking Byrne looked great because it really looked like Byrne's art when he is doing it all.


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