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Friday, March 04, 2011 

Francis Manapul loved the art of awful Rob Liefeld

This USA Today article certainly makes it sound that way:
The true love for drawing really didn't take hold until he had moved to Toronto and was about 15, when he was turned on to the artists in the newly formed Image Comics stable in the 1990s — guys like Marc Silvestri, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Rob Liefeld and Jim Lee.
While I do think Lee's artwork is good, and McFarlane's beginning work in the early 80s was okay before it went downhill several years after, mixing Rob Liefeld into this whole discussion is misleading everyone. This was the so-called artist who ruined the New Mutants in its final year, later turned Captain America into a swelling balloon and is inconsistent in the size and width of his characters, and who tragically still gets jobs today, and the MSM never seems to mention any of that. Even Image's own wretched storytelling history is swept under the rug, and that too goes unmentioned by the press.

And I'm really not happy that Manapul is citing Image as his leading inspiration for drawing. At the very least, Liefeld should've been left out because his "artwork" could scare away anyone with common sense. Thus, Manapul hasn't done them a favor at all.

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I did up some great examples of Liefeld's lameness on my old comics blog.

Liefeld's early stuff was... interesting. Not great, but I thought at the time that it had potential. I got the feeling that as he became more polished, he'd be someone to watch. I recall one issue of X-Factor he did that struck me as something unlike all the other Marvel/DC artists I'd ever seen. (And in a good way.)

Unfortunately, he went in the opposite direction; instead of fixing his flaws and playing to his strengths, he played up his flaws and minimized his strengths. And then someone convinced him that he could write. *shudder*

I'm with Drizzt, in that I'm more concerned with his writing than his art. I do understand the issue, but he always was a low priority for me.

Could be worse, as the article could have promoted Erik Larsen. God, his art is just as horrible.

I remember the work of artist Bart Sears, who began his career in the late 80s. His beginning work was fine and competent, but by the end of the century, he started deteriorating into a style where he drew figures looking so puffed up, they were going to burst (the recent volume of Capt. America and the Falcon from 2005 was a notable example). He was certainly another artist who really lost ground as time went by.

There were lots of those guys, Avi. They all wound up reading their own press, their art started to look like garbage and/or they stopped making deadlines, and they vanished into oblivion.

IIRC Sears put out a barely-publicized Blade miniseries around the time of the first movie that was so unreadable that Joey Q declared the very concept of Blade (vampire-fighting action hero) just could not work in a comic book because of it.

Indeed. Where is J. Scott Campbell, when you need him? Heh. By the way, what has he done, recently? After the various covers for Marvel in the 2000's, kinda dropped off the grid, didn't he?


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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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