Previously on Registered Weapon:
By the way, if you’re not following FELIX’s crime journal on Twitter, what are you waiting for? You get regular updates straight from the little guy himself, including investigation notes, thoughts on working with Frank, and alerts as soon new strips hit the site. Do it now!
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In response to Gardner’s love letter to Rob Liefeld.
I remember reading the Byrne/Claremont X-men, Watchmen, Killing Joke, Dark Knight Returns. I was a comic veteran of 7 years by this point. I remember when New Mutants became X-Force and how I was amazed that you could not understand anatomy and still get work in comics. I was 13! Understand that I don’t believe that I’m the greatest artist on the planet or that I’m better than any artist. But after staring at art books of Frank Frazetta and John Byrne for hours on end, and other artists who really understood the craft, it blew me away that this turd was getting paid exorbitant amounts of money to not draw feet on people. You could probably go through all his X-Force, New Mutants and Youngblood and there would probably be about 57 ½ feet that he drew.
Look at this cover! There is not a foot to be had amongst the lot of them. They are standing on a playground ball. There is one ankle on the whole cover.
Now I’m not disputing that the introduction of image wasn’t an important event in comics. The people at Marvel realized that creators were a hot commodity and not just random faces to be put to work in the factory duplicating artwork of other great creators in years gone by. They were going to tell their stories as sloppy and as poorly drawn as they wanted to, but they were doing it on their own terms. And that is something to be admired. But Liefeld’s work was not exciting. It was dumb.
Every character unless “black” or “alien” had the exact same hair. The two black guys on the team had the exact same haircut. All of the characters were rip-offs of existing characters. All names were taken from something that at one point had been cool, but now bastardized by Liefeld’s own feeling of self importance. Bedrock, Die Hard & Shaft for christ’s sake! Die Hard? That’s like that whole “Extreme” fad in the 90’s. Oddly enough I’m not referring to Rob’s crappy comic imprint. How does one Die Hard? I didn’t want this book or these characters to Die Hard, I just wanted them to die.
In closing I would just like to say that I’m sorry Gardner, head master of the I Love Rob Liefeld fan club. Sorry that you couldn’t afford better comics or realize when something was crap as a child.
I bet you ate paste too.
Howdy Registered Weapon fans! Gardner here. If you’d like to see what I do when I’m not co-writing hilarious cop comics, check out the premiere of T.I.’s Road to Redemption tonight at 9 p.m. on MTV. I’m a “story producer” for the show, and I believe my fingerprints are on a few of the scenes in the first episode. Hey, the LA Times likes it!
In response to Mike Sterling’s question: (Warning: incoherent ramblings about 17-year-old comic books, plus goopy adolescent nostalgia)
I liked Youngblood because I was twelve. Actually, I guess I was only 12 for the first two issues, but the point is the same: I liked Youngblood because it felt like it was made for me. I started reading comics because of the Batman movie in 1989, and I stuck with mostly Bat-stuff and, for some reason, Darkhawk, until 1992 when Youngblood came out, and it just hit me exactly where I wanted to be hit. Partly it was hype, sure, which I was pretty susceptible to; partly it was the idea of this brat kid (and his brat kid pals) thumbing his nose at Marvel and making his own comics; but mostly it just seemed so cool. It felt like something completely new, even if, even then, I recognized the characters as thinly veiled Marvel & DC knockoffs (though the full extent of Liefeld’s Fourth World scavenging didn’t sink in until I read the Joe Casey-scripted remastered version this year). I loved that Liefeld and the rest of the Image guys were creating this new universe out of whole cloth; it felt to me like the beginnings of the Marvel universe must have felt for 12-year-olds in 1963. When the Youngblood guys showed up in Savage Dragon or WildC.A.T.s, it was truly epic to me. I obsessively read and reread this Amazing Heroes issue that had a “jam interview” with the Image guys, hoping to glean just one more ounce of insight into their new projects. Their excitement felt genuine, and fueled my own.
But none of the Image guys were more excited than Liefeld, and that excitement came through on the page to 12-year-old me. I know it sounds phony when somebody like Mark Millar talks about how cool Liefeld’s art is (or, god forbid, compares him to Kirby), and I know how much fun it is to make fun of his terrible anatomy and the Levi’s commercial, but jesus, when I was twelve? I spent hours staring at those pages. It felt like Marvel and DC were Kansas, and Youngblood was Technicolor Oz. The qualities that make Liefeld’s art and writing so bad to an adult are exactly what make his stuff manna for a 12-year-old. Youngblood was just pure adolescent id spewed across the pages of a comic book. It took itself ultra-seriously, but it was also gleefully incoherent. It felt like a 12-year-old smashing together everything he loved about Marvel and DC, with no regard for anything beyond his own immediate pleasure. It felt like the comic I would have made if I had the resources Liefeld did; in fact, it was the comic I spent hours trying to recreate, coming up with my own characters that were knockoffs of knockoffs, learning how to hide feet behind strategic rock outcroppings. This was 1992: Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Kathy Ireland and Vendela in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, Batman Returns, losing the region spelling bee, an election I barely understood, spending all my time in the gifted class drawing terrible comics, leaving childhood behind and becoming a teenager. I wore my socks in a really weird way until this dude I thought was my friend made fun of them. Youngblood was loud and garish and ugly and violent and stupid and it wanted you to know that it thought it was the greatest thing ever. Of course I loved it.