“Kids Like Chains” And More Wisdom From Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld and Stan Lee circa 1991
The year is 1991. George HW Bush is the President of the United States. Oil fields are burning in Kuwait. Terminator 2 is breaking box office records. C+C Music Factory, Color Me Badd and that terrible Bryan Adams song from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves are all over the airwaves. Oh, and comic books are selling like hotcakes. This is the year that Jim Lee and Chris Claremont's X-Men #1, Rob Liefeld (whose Twitter feed has been sparking a lot of controversy lately) and Fabian Nicieza's X-Force #1 and Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man #1 will each sell millions by the year's end, boosted by creators who understood what the comics-buying public was into, as well a rabid speculator's market and variant covers.
In this climate of comics fever, Smilin' Stan Lee -– never one to let a cultural wave go un-surfed –- records a series of interviews for Starbur Home Video called The Comic Book Greats. The series features Lee interviewing artists like Will Eisner, Sergio Aragones, Harvey Kurtzman, and Jack Davis, among many others. In one infamous installment of the show, Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld create a character together and it is, no joke, one HyperColor t-shirt away from being the greatest '90s Comics Artifact you will ever see.Not only do you get the fun of watching Stan Lee make jokes about claiming others' work as his own (icky!), but you also get the wonder of watching him try and understand why these young guys, with their maximalist design aesthetic and post-Watchmen/action movie-inspired grittiness, are so popular with "The Kids."
Something this beautiful deserves to be documented, so check out the best moments of The Comic Book Greats: Overkill With Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld below, screen-capped and captioned for your viewing pleasure.
We kick it off with Stan Lee possibly trolling Todd McFarlane:
Again, not sure if trolling or...
And with that, we move into the aesthetics of early '90s comics:
The early '90s/Image Comics business plan:
And here's Stan Lee joking about taking credit for something he just managed, which would be cute and self-deprecating if, well, you know...
Todd, I don't think that word means what you think it means:
I'm not sure if McFarlane's joking here or if he really doesn't know what passé means. I mean, I figure it's the former, but after that gauntlet bit:
The Kids Love Sweat:
You made it weird, Stan:
FUN DRINKING GAME: Take a drink every time Rob Liefeld says "Oh heck yeah!" in this video. WARNING: You will probably die if you play this game.
MUST. RESIST. FEET. JOKE:
So am I Rob; so am I:
McFarlane's command of irony is on display here, as a slightly-reworked version of this "lame" character will end up appearing in Spawn as Overtkill. (the "T" makes it different!) Comics everybody!
Okay, okay; here's your feet joke:
And we'll conclude with Stan totally being Stan:
And that's a wrap, True Believers. For the full experience, you can watch all three parts of this video here, as well as the other ones in the series from that same uploader.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go drink a case of Crystal Pepsi and listen to some En Vogue.