Rob Liefeld Creations
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  • January21st

    There is a nice article covering Glory, Prophet and all things Extreme that went up on SLATE.COM this morning. It is however very abbreviated when considering the length and depth of our interview. I have not submitted to phone interviews for the last decade because I find that much gets lost in the translation. I only participate in interviews where I have a transcript. With that in mind, I have printed the entire, un-edited Q &A below. I loved the blunt back and forth of our interview, hope you enjoy it as much as I did participating in it.
    ROB LIEFELD Q&A
    SLATE: A lot of comics sites have covered the Extreme relaunch, so I don’t want to ask too many things you’ve answered already. Still, going back to the 1990s, where did Glory, Prophet, and Bloodstrike come from?

    ROB: Very nice to talk to you David! For the best frame of reference, it’s important to remember that I was coming off an incredible burst of creativity that had proven mutually beneficial and ridiculously successful for Marvel and myself. I had done right by Marvel and they had certainly done right by me. X-Force #1 had sold 5 million copies, it remains the 2nd best selling comic book of all time. X-Force was a book populated by characters that were only 16 months old, fresh from my notepad and sketchbook. My book didn’t have Wolverine or Spider-Man, as a matter of fact, it had no household names. Cable, Deadpool, Domino, Shatterstar, Stryfe, these were a product of my brand of character design and creation. I wanted to take that creative burst and run with it, expand it at Image.

    Bloodstrike, Supreme, Youngblood, Glory and Prophet were the pillars of my new universe. Bloodstrike was the natural evolution of an X-Force styled, government-commando-strike-force except they were undead, Extreme zombies. Prophet was my mash up of all things Kirby, Rip Van Winkle meets OMAC, Captain America and Silver Star. Glory was my mash-up of greek mythology meets aliens. All these books were an attempt to build on the foundation I’d laid at Marvel. I had complete creative authority and was excited to build my own mythology. I was fortunate to build on what I started at Marvel and each of these books picked up where I left off, each launched at a million sales. I mention sales because it represents the connection I had with retailers and fans, they were squarely in my corner. Marvel and DC books weren’t selling those numbers, they didn’t have that connection. So when you ask where did they come from, I was running with a style and brand of storytelling that had proved very successful for me.

    SLATE: What was your original vision for these books? You seemed to populate a universe of characters very, very quickly, at the same time that you were putting together deal for a Youngblood series.

    ROB: Again, I was just excited to build my own universe, carry out my vision for my own line of comics. Following Youngblood’s successful launch, Marvel and DC had both announced they were going to do major new events built around “Blood” storylines and characters. Bloodlines was DC’s summer event, and New Blood was Marvel’s summer initiative, I was square in their sights and I felt like I better build my line fast otherwise they’d beat me to the punch. It was flattering as well as a huge motivation to get my line up and running. I had notebooks of characters and concepts, it was all from an organic place, every artist waits for their “moment” where they can do exactly what I did, I ran with it.

    At the time, how much did you outsource the characters’ backstories and “bibles” to other creators? You’ve compared the new books (“Prophet,” specifically) to character-revamping runs like Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing.” But how closely did you control the characters in those original stories?

    Forgive me, I really feel like an old timer recounting all of this stuff, I controlled all of those books at the outset, I wrote most if not all the original arcs and stories in the first few years. Prophet was 100% my storyline, ditto Bloodstrike, Supreme. That’s reflected in the books themselves. The foundation was all part of my original vision, I took pride in ownership. There wasn’t a whole lot of options either, if it had to get done, I had to roll up my sleeves and get it done. I was providing layouts to the younger artists, inking over their work, giving color notes. But its exactly what I had hoped for.

    SLATE: You told CBR that Alan Moore’s offer on Supreme was “the definition of a no-brainer.” What did you like about his stories that might have been missing from your books?

    ROB:  Well after forty-some odd issues and one shots and mini-series, any and every book can use a jolt of fresh energy and ideas. Alan walked in and did this alternative Superman take which paid respect to what had come before while taking the book in a completely new direction. His concept of “The Supremacy” where old continuity went to rest after it had outlived its usefulness was nothing less than absolute genius. It floored everybody and became the foundation of ideas that Alan would run with for the next decade. His ABC line at Wildstorm was a continuation of what he started on Supreme. I pride myself in knowing when to get out of the way when standing in the presence of greatness.


    SLATE: I’ve read a few interviews that get at this, but how exactly did you and Eric start talking to the new creators about taking over Glory, Prophet, and Bloodstrike?

    ROB: The entire process of selecting the books and picking the line ups took about a year. Eric and I talked over which books would be in the Extreme line up, and then we went about exploring creative line ups. Early on we talked with Erik Larsen about Prophet using a “Kamandi” style influence. And by Kamandi style I mean a “Rip Van Winkle in the far flung future” direction. Erik was this close to actually producing his Prophet and then late in the process he approached me with a Supreme outline and it was clear that Supreme was closer to what he wanted to produce. So we had our idea of Prophet in the far future concept but needed a new creative guide. Again, there was no existing material, just a premise. Eric Stephenson approached Brandon at Emerald City that year and he wanted to feel it out. Eric called me, ran teh idea of Brandon by me and I went all in. I had copies of King City and I was excited to see what Brandon would produce. No one, least of all me, wanted a Liefeld imitation, we wanted a fresh vision, as I said, we had agreed on the far flung future aspect which opened up all sorts of new possibilities. It always had a tether to the original Prophet in that the Rip Van Winkle, stranger in a strange land aspect of Prophet that was always part of the book was maintained but expressed with a fresh new vision.

    Once Brandon brought Simon on board, I flipped out, I could not believe our good fortune. They sent me the early pages and I flipped, the vision was so realized and so concise, I was floored and eager for much more. You can choose a team and believe in a team, but until that first issue comes together, you are just hoping, there’s no guarantee. These guys had no established run together, it wasn’t a follow up to a successful body of work, we took a chance. When I read the first issue in the fall of 2011, I knew that Prophet would turn everyone on their ear. It was brilliant, it was that genius level of work that Alan Moore was able to create and sustain. I didn’t approve Brandon in order for him to tell “MYstories, I expected him to tell his stories and he has and he and his team have created a classic, timeless body of work. I cannot wait for the hardcover collection. it will be evergreen.

    For Joe Keatinge its an entirely different story. I knew Joe, I knew Joe wanted to pursue a career in comics and Eric said that Joe had some Glory concepts, I was eager to hear them. The rough outline was phenomenal, as exciting as what Brandon had to offer with Prophet, less a complete reboot, more like a dramatic face lift. I was sitting in my hotel room in New Orleans in January 2011, I was there for a convention and I had returned from dinner and watching Saturday Night Live when I receved Eric’s email with Ross Campbell’s work, submitted as part of a package for Glory. He was concerned at my reaction because Ross‘ work was so visceral and less traditionally glamorous for a book with a female lead. Funny enough I had just showed Eric my artist for Avenglyne, a talented fellow named Owen Genei and he shared stylistic similarities with Ross, which convinced Eric I would go for Ross on Glory. He was right, I thought Ross was a breath of fresh air. Here’s the deal on both these creative teams, I could have given them the thumbs down and we’d be experiencing very different comic books than what we have now. I am the yay and the nay on these books. If I don’t like it, it doesn’t fly, period. However, you cannot find a single instance where I have opposed anything on either book. Ditto Supreme and Bloodtsrike. I believe that when you hire a piece of talent, writer or artist, you allow them to see that vision through. That’s what I experienced on New Mutants, a book which was failing and opened the door for me to craft my own mythology. None of my characters on New Mutants and later X-Force were a result of, ” Hey give us this type of so and so…” I was able to run and CREATE! I wrote up pages and drew them featuring a new character named Deadpool, they saw what I had done after I turned it in, there was no conference asking for a masked mercenary. Those conditions are a distant memory at corporate comics nowadays. That’s what you’re seeing on these books, I can see the creators growing wings and flying, both books have become more interesting as a result of a lack of interference, as they wrote and they drew and they realized…”This Liefeld guy is letting us fly”. There are no corporate partners on these books, they are comic book characters in search of interesting stories. I LOVE these books, all of the creative teams did their” thing on these books. I’m equally excited for a massive hard cover of GLORY, its a sci-fi, fantasy masterpiece with no equal. Joe and Ross have executed a gorgeous vision, without any interference whatsoever. I’m proud to have been the general manager or the producer on these projects. Again, let creative people, especially, young, hungry, horny creative people, let them create!

    Plus, I love the approach on all these Extreme books otherwise they wouldn’t make it to the printer.


    SLATE: What had you seen from them, how much of a pitch did you need?

    You’re probably aware of all the internet snark about your older stuff. (The internet is an unforgiving place.)

    ROB: Let’s address this real quick. I want to be very clear that the internet snark has zero affect on me. You should not be affected by it. The reason is that I was there 20 years ago, I’m out there on the convention circuit, I experience the real and tangible enthusiasm for me and my work. You can’t re-write the history books, you can‘t eliminate the impact of my work and my characters. The renewed internet detractors are by and large kids who did not experience New Mutants, X-Force, Youngblood or prophet when it sold half a million copies a month. They saw a website making fun of me and joined in and have no where to go because than they fill up my feeds with ” How do you get work” revealing their ignorance. It‘s entertaining as all hell but it is of no concern to me and shoudn’t affect you an inform your view on my history. Rob Liefeld is to today as Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan are to my kids. They experience it second hand if at all.

    SLATE: Do you think Joe and Brandon and Tim are finding something in these characters/themes that the critics missed years ago?

    ROB: I believe that they are writing entertainment that is as good if not better than what came before. With Glory, that series original run was very scattershot and for a lack of better term, it was un-inspired. I approved those stories the same as I approved these, these are so much better I can’t even begin to express it.Joe and Ross have created the definitive vision of Glory for me, I like their interpretation the very best. They tapped into a narrative that no one else has tapped into. The ideas and the visuals are outstanding. Glory will still exist after their run ends, and because Glory is contemporary, it will be reflected whenever she appears again. With Prophet, its a different animal because it takes place in the far, far flung future, it is a universe unto itself. There are stories that I did with Stephen Platt and Dan Panosian and later Chuck Dixon which are considered cannon and this run in no way eliminates that. If anything Brandon has been very respectful and honored that cannon while completely creating a new mythology. There was nothing to “miss years ago” as you propose, the books and characters were tremendously popular and beloved, a product of their times, reflective of that era. What these books have done is take them in bold and exciting new directions for a new generation. I was told by fans that preferred the older versions that they would abandon these versions and I’m remarkably fine with that, we can’t be beholden to the past.  Gotta keep moving forward, evolving.

    SLATE: Are they improving on it?

    ROB: I believe so, on both counts, on both books. They look and feel more modern than books I‘m seeing from other publishers. I grew up as an 11 year old that loved and adored the original Battlestar Galactica, I consumed BSG. I found myself equally consumed with Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica which ran on SyFy. It was very different, sexually charged, overtly political, religious, which were themes in the 70′s version but no where near in the fore in the way they were in the Ron Moore SyFy version. These books have improved on their 90′s counterparts in ways I could not have imagined.

    SLATE: I’m interested in how you’d put it, because the original “Swamp Thing” books were fun, with great villains, but Alan Moore’s books took all of that and made it rich and horrifying. Does the old stuff benefit when readers pick up the new, very different takes?

    ROB: The Prophet and Glory of the 90′s were reflective of the super hero, sci-fi and fantasy components of that era. These are more adult versions, less concerned with the conventions of these times and more experimental. These are not trying to conform in any way, they are taking existing concepts and just as Alan did with Swamp Thing, they are making them more R rated, much more hard core. I can’t tell you how much I love these books and hope to God more folks seek them out because if they aren‘t experiencing these stories, they are missing out on brilliant stories and art.

    cheers
    DW(SLATE)

  • January18th

    The Godyssey is one of the many projects I’ve been working on the past few months. It was announced as a film in development with Uber-producer Todd Garner and his Broken Road productions with Sean Robins and my manager Brooklyn Weaver joining as producers. But I’m getting ahead of myself, first some background…

    Earlier this year while I was directing the creative fortunes of four DC titles, I had pitched an Expendables style project that would re-unite older DC action heroes on a mission that would find them cleaning up a specific mess from their past. The characters, Deathstroke and some others, revealed that in the past, they had been hired by a shady benefactor to obtain the mythical  hammer of Thor. their adventures revealed the truth about Paradise Island and the location of a second island, more secretive than the Paradise Island on record. The second, even more secretive, island could only be seen by the gods and deep below the island, the legendary God of Thunder was imprisoned. The end result would have loosed Thor on the DC universe and returned DC’s Hercules Unchained to new prominence. I spent the better part of the summer convincing the editorial brain trust that this would work for them. It all came to a head at Comic-con, over lunch when two members of the DC executive branch looked at the head honcho and said, “This would sell! This would work!” But the head honcho nodded his head no and expressed his misgivings. It wasn’t worth any more effort than I had given it, so I abandoned it altogether.

    Needless to say, I had “God’s on the brain” syndrome. Cut to a few weeks later and a meeting I was having with Brooklyn Weaver, his Energy Entertainment has represented me for the past decade. I shared with him a modern day battle of the Gods and he told me to send him a write up. A few days later I sent him my treatment of a ” Grand Pantheon” and the back story of how these Gods came together and were subsequently torn apart. He flipped and took to twitter mentioning it, catching the eye of producer Todd Garner who told him to send it his way. Todd and Sean Robins from Broken Road set up a meeting and we hatched out the framework for a feature film of ” The Goddyssey”

    I’ve done dozens of sketches and illustrations for the Grand Pantheon, crazy armor and weapons befitting the legendary Gods of the Universe. Ra, Horus, Zeus, Odin, Aphrodite, Khepri, Rama, re-united in a contemporary setting, fighting for the future of mankind. I can’t show much but I can sneak a few images. Look for more Goddysey pics in this space soon.

  • January18th

    One of my favorite books that I have ever had the good fortune of publishing is the current GLORY run by Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell. The stories are imaginative, twisted and the stakes are high, the art is eye-poppingly gorgeous. Here is a sneak peek at issue #33 as the Glory saga reaches its penultimate chapter. Ross went all sorts of detail crazy on these pages as witnessed by this impressive two page spread. Can you name all the Extreme characters?

  • January17th

    The past few years, every single statue manufacturer from Bowen to Sideshow and Kotobuyika have bid on the rights to produce high end collectible DEADPOOL statues. The result has been a virtual treasure trove of dynamic new Deadpool sculptures. From busts to articulated, full figure statues, Deadpool sculpts now appear with great regularity. The craft and sculpting detail in these statues is nothing short of phenomenal. For those of you who are not able to obtain these amazing sculptures, I’ve loaded the most recent statues for your perusal.

    This statue from Bowen is the latest to hit the market. This looks the most Liefeld-esque of the bunch, the leaning, lifted leg, the long extended leg and the short torso, as well as the head and face proportions resemble my work more than any of the previous statues. I love the pose and the detail as well as the curved mount that he is positioned on.

    Another angle, detail on the latest Deadpool statue. Again, love the more serious, action pose and mood.

    This Deadpool statue from years back, 2006 I believe,  is based on one of my covers from Cable/Deadpool. I’ve never confirmed it but you can decide for yourself as I present my cover below. Again, very Liefeld proportions, long legs, thick thighs, short torso.

    You decide? Sure looks the same to me.

    This statue is a particular favorite of mine and looks like Ed McGuiness drew it. Ed started his career on Deadpool and has remained a fan-favorite on the character for the past twenty years. The figure is thicker, chunkier, beefier than most Deadpool portrayals, reflecting the stout dimensions of Ed’s work.

    Here is a group shot of recent figures and statues. This does not include a few new statues that I have yet to obtain. As soon as i get them I’ll share them here.

    This Deadpool bust was on of the first sculpts of Deadpool to hit the market in the early 2000′s. Its a more cartoonier depiction of Deadpool. Not my favorite but I appreciate it for what it is. it comes with an interchangeable unmasked head.

    I was able to introduce a female Deadpool, Lady Deadpool, as part of the Deadpool Corps. roll out years back. I would love to see more of her in the comics as I believe her potential is limitless. But that’s Marvel’s call, not mine. I love this bust!

    And we close this out with one last shot of the newest and most dynamic statue to date. As I mentioned above, there are a few new statues I have yet to receive but I should be getting them any day now and will post as soon as I get them!

  • January16th

    The anticipation for the Deadpool video game continues to grow and the studio behind the game, High Moon Studios released more screen shots to further fuel the fire! The Deadpool game is the gift that keeps on giving for fans new and old! These new shots show him in action, swordplay, enjoying pizza and posing as only he can! I’m thrilled that more of my creations, Cable and Domino are also featured in this game that is sure to breakout when its released later this year!

  • January15th

    For the past several years I’ve been busy completing a passion project of mine called “CHOSEN”,  a science-fiction interpretation of the Exodus, the story of Moses. The stories of Moses and David are two of my favorite stories of all time.

    Both tales tell the story of men who were in over their heads as they battle against forces far greater than they could possibly imagine. I’ve altered the story of Moses into the story of Kaynan, an adopted son of the Empire who reigns over an enslaved race called the Midian’s. An assasination attempt on his life, reveals to him that he is the true son of Midian slaves. Kayan is the fulfillment of a powerful prophecy, destined to destroy the Empire that has invaded their tribal grounds and continues to oppress his people. I’ve written several scripts for CHOSEN and will be releasing it later this year. Here is a sneak peek featuring the Imperial races as well as Kaynan’s escape into the Rune Sea. Art by Liefeld, Mychaels and Capprotti.

  • January11th

    Not much to say, more un-published art to show. The former Deadpool/X-Force mini-series written by Duane Swierczynski and drawn by myself, alas, what could have been…

  • January8th

    Over the last decade I’ve been very fortunate to watch two of my creations, Cable and Deadpool, explode in popularity, nearly matching the original excitement that surrounded them in their debut in the early 90′s. Very Exciting news leaked today in the form of two advance screen shots of the upcoming Deadpool video game! This first one features Deadpool in action, a hint of much more to come I’m sure. These shots are from Xbox Online Magazine.

    The second and possibly more exciting news was the officail confirmation that Cable is featured in the game. I mean, was there any doubt? No firm release date has been set, as soon as I’m aware, I’ll let you know!

    Another of my creations, Domino, debuted in my first issue of as writer of New Mutants #98. Word is that she’ll be appearing in the Deadpool video game adding even more kick for your buck!

  • January7th

    Here are some additional pages from the aborted Killraven project that Robert Kirkman and I produced for Marvel several years back. For the sake of the calendar it should be noted I produced the art for this series in between Onslaught Reborn and Deadpool Corp.  Figured you’d enjoy another look at this project that featured futuristic versions of Wolverine and the Future Avengers.

  • January4th

    Earlier today shared some penciled pages from an unpublished New Mutants/X-Factor inventory story I had done with Howard Mackie back in 1988-89. Here are some of the inked pages from that issue. Much of the focus was on Warlock, whom I loved and had an absolute blast playing with. I invoked all sorts of influences, some Roger Rabbit gestures on earlier pages and her I applied a Robert Crumb “Keep on truckin” vibe from the famous illustration that was plastered everywhere in my youth.

    I’ve always enjoyed team dynamics which is why I often worked on so many team books. I love drawing many figures, big and small and composing them together. These pages really bring me back to my youth, twenty years old and working my ass off to impress the Marvel Editorial. Great memories.

    This page here really conveys the overwhelming influence that Art Adams had on my entire look and style at that time. Art has influenced four generations of artists with his unique and dynamic style. He remains a huge favorite of mine. Arthur has influenced such notables as Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Erik Larsen, J. Scott Campbell, Joe Mad, and most recently Nick Bradshaw. More pages soon!