Thursday, December 18, 2008

WTF Moment From the Vault - Liefeld

Okay, first, a note about my day. I've used this particular mechanical pencil (the actual name for it is a leadholder, I found out) for over 20 years, and it requires a special type of sharpener, called a lead pointer. And I lost mine a while back, so for the last few years, I've been using my pocket knife to sharpen the lead, which you might imagine isn't optimal. So I finally decided to bite the bullet and headed down to Hobby Lobby, braved the Christmas crowds and bought a new pointer for close to ten bucks.

Then when I got back, I became curious for some reason and looked up my leadholder (that sounds dirty, for some reason) on-line, and guess what I found out? It actually has a lead pointer built in. Huh. I've had this thing for over two decades and never knew that. Anyway, on to the subject of today's post...

As I was browsing the contents of the Vault (I need a way to shrink that phrase down, don't I--why don't I just say Vaulting?), I ran across a book I didn't know I had and don't believe I bought.

Why don't I believe I bought it?

Because a) it was an early Image book and I really didn't buy any early Image books, other than a couple copies of Spawn and 2) it was by Rob Liefeld and I don't think I ever purposely bought a Rob Liefeld book since the Hawk and Dove miniseries, and iii) it was still in its sealed polybag with collectors card inside, and if I buy something, I open it and read it. Always. As I've occasionally said, I'm not so much a comics collector as a comics accumulator.

But anyway, reading comics blogs had led me to this site which purports to list the 40 worst Rob Liefeld drawings of all time. And looking through that list, you see a lot of bloopers, but you know, every artist has his quirks and shortcuts and bad days. Even the greats like Kubert put together a bad panel or two.

So I decided to open the polybag and flip through the comic (Extreme Destroyer #1, January 1996, in case you're curious) just to see how bad it could be. And yeah, it was pretty bad. A plot centering around a Galactus rip-off come to Earth with his Firelord/Silver Surfer rip-off to "harvest" a crop of Earth's super-beings and yada-yada-yada, Kid Supreme takes two punches and runs away like a girl. Thirty-eight pages long, with fully thirty-five pages devoted almost exclusively to talking and posing, and that only because one of the two punches Kid Supreme takes is a double-page splash panel. And no, I didn't actually sit down and read all 38 pages; I'm not that much of a masochist (although I was enough of one to count all 38 pages).

But though there were some weak panels here and there, there was nothing outstandingly horrible about the art.

Until I got to the last page. And there, in an ad for a convention called the New York Comicbook Spectacular, was this illustration of Captain America.


Looks like Cap's had some work done by a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. I mean, look at those 45DD pecs. He could lay his People magazine flat on those to read while he runs on the treadmill in Avengers Mansion. Not to mention that I have no idea how his arm is supposed to be fitting under that shield.

I mean, I guess I could find a dozen more things to nit-pick about the drawing, but it mainly comes down to two things. Number one, this isn't some random minor panel he drew when he was having a bad day. This is an illustration chosen specifically to promote Liefeld's work to his audience.

And number two, let me just say again, look at that freakin' shelf in front of Cap's neck!


marc carlson said...

Sandpaper. It makes a great (cheap) pointer.

Bat-Cheva said...

That picture is just so wrong. *shudders*

Anonymous said...


You've really never seen this on the net before?:

TheyStoleFrazier'sBrain said...

No, I hadn't, and I wish that were still the case.