Okay, at least I started.

§ February 15th, 2009 § Filed under youngbloodgate Comments Off on Okay, at least I started.

So I’m going to try to reply to some of the comments left on my Youngblood post from the other day. I’m not going to get through them all in one go, and I’m not to respond to all of them, but I told you folks I was going to reply to what you had to say, and by God I’m going to do the kind of half-baked job you’ve come to expect from ProgRuinCo.

So let’s go:

  • Gardner says he loved the Youngblood, and drops in a link to his discussion of the book on his site. Okay, that’s not really a “reply” to his comment as it is just reposting his link, but I’ve got a lot of these to get through. Cut me some slack.
  • Steve said

    “…Wasn’t it unusual in those days for a superteam to be considered famous, like film and music celebrities? That was different, wasn’t it?”

    A few folks brought that up, and yeah, that was sort of a unique twist. The Wild Card novels are the other major superhero franchise that sort of embraced the celebrity-culture thing.

    I mean, superheroes would be famous, sure, but there wasn’t a lot of focus on the pop-culture impact those characters would have had in their fictional universes. I’m trying to remember…since Elongated Man went public with his identity fairly early on, were there stories about, say, newspapers or ladies’ magazines covering the crime-fighting couple of Ralph and Sue? Seems like if there was going to be this sort of thing in, say, a Silver Age comic, it might be with the Elongated Man.

  • phil_from_germany doesn’t really have anything to say about Youngblood, but does say a few things about another title from the same era, Bloodstrike:

    “In issue four, the whole team was just brutally, brutally murdered by Supreme. Then they were brought back as Zombies! That’s where the ‘House’ got their ‘ideas’ from! Bloodstrike was way rad.”

    God bless you, phil_from_germany. I had no idea this happened. And I almost certainly have something to say about Supreme a little later.

    I was trying to think of another comic where several superheroes were killed and then brought back as zombies, but…well, the Comics Code was a bit itchy about zombies, so that probably put the kibosh on that sort of thing.

    Plus, I just like the name “Bloodstrike.” And it had one of my favorite cover gimmicks…the heat sensitive “blood stains” and the cover blurb extolling you to “rub the blood” to make the spots disappear. Oh, comics.

  • Moosenlawyer (which puts a great image in my mind, by the way) had a reaction to Youngblood that seems to be fairly common:

    “His art was different and dynamic. At the time, I thought the art of some established artists was kind of stodgy, while his was full of energy.

    “However, I quickly tired of it.”

    And like I’ve mentioned in a post or three in the last week, and what Steve says earlier in this very comments section, that seems to be one of the factors in Liefeld’s early popularity…that for whatever technical deficiencies his art may have had, the overall effect is one that attracted people. It simply appeared fresh and exciting, but for some regular exposure created a familiarity with his artwork that eventually bred contempt.

  • That Augie cat sez, he sez

    “…Seeing how he saved a lot of those early issues with new scripting is a fascinating lesson in the comics process….”

    That really has me intrigued…seems to me that if you have a problem with Youngblood as a whole, that simply rescripting the original wouldn’t seem like enough to do drastically change the book. But you say it helps…hmm, have to take a look into it. Maybe do a side-by-side comparison of the two.

  • The Chris Sims, Esq. says this embarrassing thing which bears repeating:

    “I will confess that when I was fourteen and Heroes Reborn came out, I was all about some Rob Liefeld/Jeph Loeb Captain America for a few months.”

    And I want to make fun of him for it, but all I can see is “Chris Sims was fourteen when that version of Cap came out” and now I feel old. Darn you and your youth, Christopher “Boom Boom” Sims! Darn you to heck.

  • Christ, I Need A Drink (hey, that’s the name he left) asks:

    “So has anyone maintained a readership of a Rob Liefeld [book] for more than just a few issues?”

    Well, outside of New Mutants, how many books have had Liefeld on art chores for more than, say, a year? (I mean, aside from Onslaught Reborn, which simply took over a year to come out.) His runs, by and large, are just a few issues.

  • Another link from the comments, this time to this review of Youngblood #0 through #4.
  • Ostrakos states

    “I think, though, what I really liked about not just Youngblood, but all those early Image books, was that a bunch of star creators I loved at the time were given the chance to do comics exactly how they wanted and to let the ideas flow. Not all were great, not all were good, and some, in hindsight, were downright awful, but there was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement, and I liked getting caught up in it.”

    There’s certainly something to be said for that, letting creators unleash their unfettered vision upon the world. Say what you will about Youngblood, but you can’t deny what you see on the page was pulled directly out of Liefeld’s brain.

    I remember thinking at the time, however, that with this kind of funnybook artist star power starting a new venture, with all eyes upon them, that it was a shame what they ended up putting out was just more superhero books. What if, say, McFarlane drew a western title? Would you like to see a McFarlane-drawn western title? I’d like to see a McFarlane western. (I mean, for God’s sake, get someone else to script it, sure.) Imagine a million fans of McFarlane on Spider-Man all deciding that they’re going to read a western comic.

    That’s a marketplace I’d have a hard time imagining, nowadays. (Okay, granted, I may have a had a hard time imagining it then, too…no matter how popular McFarlane may have been, would a comic by him in a currently under-utilized, and perhaps little demanded, genre still sell?)

  • Dumma says a few things that probably deserve more thought than I’m about to give, since it’s getting late and I’m pretty wiped out as I write this:

    “I haven’t read any Youngblood but I still have my Spawn issues and frankly, they hold up as well as they ever did, and by that I mean they’re more entretaining and sometimes even insightful(I kid you not) than your average Batman story, and not just at the time either, hell Spawn is better than Nightwing has ever been.”

    This goes back to what was stated in the previous comment…that what we’re getting in these early Image books is, for good or ill, the creator’s more-or-less undiluted vision. It’s a fair bet that a book like that could contain more challenging (in every sense of the word) content than a book that has to run through editors, the lawyers, licensing concerns, etc. Not to say that a corporately-owned book couldn’t manage levels of depth, but the creator-owned book has the advantage of a little more freedom.

    “As for Liefeld art, sure is not great but I sure as hell have seen worse, much much worse; his characters desings may be reviled in the comic community but if ask anyone outside of it what hey think of his characters you’ll get a positive reaction more often than not, hell some of his desing are almost Kirbyesque (just look at Stryfe’s helment.)”

    Personally, my issues with Liefeld have more been on a layout/anatomy basis. The actual character designs seem like a secondary problem, if it is in fact a problem. There’s some…familiarity to a design or two, but it’s not as if Liefeld was the first person to create a superhero that looked like a previous hero.

    “Just ’cause the fandom hates something doesn’t mean that it’s bad or that the public at large thinks it’s bad.”

    That’s something I realize all the time at the shop. The mountains on the internet are molehills with my regular customer base. Reading online, you’d think Final Crisis and “Batman: R.I.P.” were traveling the country, kicking puppies and unscrewing saltshaker tops. But in our store they sold immensely well, and had my customers really and truly excited.

    More to the topic, for all the slagging Liefeld gets, you put him on a Marvel comic, and that comic sells like crazy. Sells on the stand, sells as a back issue. People may say they’re not fans of his, but someone is buying these books.

And that’s it for now. If I don’t get some sleep, the hallucinations will come oh look it’s Bigfoot and he has a Shamrock Shake waiting for me in his UFO.

But before I get that Sasquatch-supplied shake, let me state that I’m very proud to be the the top personal-website referrer to the mighty Neilalien, the Alpha of comics weblogging. Neil’s been doing the comics blog thing for years, and we are all simply following in his footsteps. Keep up the good work, pal…it wouldn’t be the same without you around!

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