At the dawn of 1992, comic books were booming. Tim Burton's Batman had kicked off a new wave of big-budget film adaptations. Superhero products could be found in nearly every aisle of every department store and supermarket. New comic shops were springing up in shopping centers and malls, publishers were seeing their highest sales figures in years, and new companies were making names for themselves as serious players. And Marvel Comics was the unquestioned big fish in the pool, with their stock booming in the six short months since they'd gone public, and an unparalleled creative stable.
But big changes were afoot. In December of 1991, Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and Jim Lee, Marvel's three biggest artists, informed publisher Terry Stewart that the company's policies toward talent were unfair, that creators were not being appropriately rewarded for their work, and that they were leaving, effective immediately. In the month thereafter, they joined forces with a few more like-minded artists from Marvel's top-selling titles, worked out a deal with small publisher Malibu Comics for production and distribution, and decided on the title for their new company --- recycling a name that Liefeld had originally intended for an aborted self-publishing venture. On February 1st, 1992, a press release was sent out announcing the formation of Image Comics.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our years on the Internet, it’s that there’s no aspect of comics that can’t be broken down and quantified in a single definitive list, preferably in amounts of five or ten. And since there’s no more definitive authority than ComicsAlliance, we’re taking it upon ourselves to compile Top Five lists of everything you could ever want to know about comics.
Nobody’s perfect, and just because the House of Ideas has been responsible for some of the greatest spectacles in comic history doesn’t mean they haven’t had their fair share of awful moments as well. This week, we point our all seeing eye of judgment at five of the worst offenders.
Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist. Today, we're looking at X-Force, Marvel's paramilitary mutant team, specifically the original version by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza.
This week, Boom Studios --- which, in the interest of full disclosure, is a company I've done some writing for --- announced that they'd acquired the rights to Power Rangers with plans to launch a new series sometime this year. It's pretty exciting news, but at the same time, the news about a bunch of teenagers with (shockingly positive) attitudes coming to comics always gets me a little bit down, because it reminds me of one of the biggest missed opportunities in the history of the franchise.
See, this isn't the first time that the Power Rangers have made an attempt at conquering the world of superhero comics, and there was a time when they only made it through one issue with a story that was more notable for the books that it advertised and never came out than what happens in the issue itself. The year was 1996, the comic was Power Rangers Zeo, and the man who had the license... was Rob Liefeld.
You may have missed it, but last week Frank Cho posted an image he'd drawn on a sketch cover of Spider-Gwen in a pose reminiscent of the Milo Manara Spider-Woman cover that drew a lot of negative attention. Many people were grossed out by Cho's drawing, including Spider-Gwen artist Robbi Rodriguez, while others jumped to Cho's defense, like J. Scott Campbell and Rob Liefeld. What began as not that big of a deal turned into the latest hot mess to preoccupy the industry, so let's talk about outrage and complacency in comics.
For the past few weeks, the jolly elves here at ComicsAlliance have been offering up rundowns of our favorite holiday comics, starting with DC and then moving on to Marvel! But with 70 years' worth of holiday specials floating around out there, they can't all be great...
The older I get, the more genuine, un-ironic admiration I have for Rob Liefeld, but I've never been able to find a good resource for news and updates about the Rob. Today, though, that has changed, and now my phone -- and maybe even my life -- have finally found a purpose, because the Rob has launched an official app, containing information about his history in comics, his upcoming appearances, and more.
There's even an "Ask Rob" section that allows fans to pose questions directly to the man himself, which means we can finally find out if he still has those button-fly jeans.
With the possible exception of those Sailor Moon toys that I dropped two hundred bucks on, Transforrmers vs. G.I. Joe #1 was the most exciting purchase I made last weekend at San Diego's Comic-Con International. It was pretty much guaranteed to be that way, too -- the #0 issue that came out on Free Comic Book Day and set up the ongoing story that Tom Scioli and John Barber would be telling was easily one of my favorite comics of the year so far. It was bright and engaging and weird, in exactly the way that a comic based on taking two toy properties and smashing them together to make one big story should be.
As far as weirdness goes, though, this first issue outstrips it by a long shot, and it does it by taking the high concept that I think we all expected from another Transformers vs. G.I. Joe story and turning it upside down, launching it into an entirely new echelon of strangeness. And it is great.
If you've ever wanted to see the entirety of culture in the early 1990s captured in 35 seconds, then you could do a lot worse than to watch the famous Levi's Button Fly Jeans commercial starring Rob Liefeld, directed by Spike Lee. It's a testament to the overwhelming popularity of comics in general and Liefeld in particular during that era, but more than that, it's a snapshot of the time in pop culture.
Now, cartoonist Ed Piskor has recreated it in the form of a comic strip, depicting Rob Liefeld in the style of Rob Liefeld, and it is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.
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