Yes, I said "Knyfestryke."

§ February 16th, 2009 § Filed under youngbloodgate Comments Off on Yes, I said "Knyfestryke."

Whittling away at the Youngblood comments some more…again, not responding to every comment, so if I don’t respond to yours, I promise it’s nothing personal:

  • Logan says

    “I love his art, I think it’s dynamic, and has often reminded me of some of the manga I’ve read (albeit, more ‘American’ looking than actual manga, but still). I’ll never understand how manga gets away with unrealistic depictions and Rob gets bashed over the head for his.”

    I think the issue is that manga artists by and large do know their anatomy and how and what to exaggerate to achieve the effects they desire, whereas the depictions evident in Youngblood seemed to be all exaggeration with no foundation in basic anatomy. It’s the idea of knowing the rules before you break them. For example, Jack Kirby knew his anatomy. And Sergio Aragones does as well. And they’re best known for cartoony and exaggerated styles…yet you can still tell in their artwork that there’s an underlying understanding of how the body is put together and how it operates.

    “And I agree with Nimbus, wasn’t the idea for the team being famous a pretty original concept for the time. I mean, the only other celeb superteam I can think of at the time was the FF.”

    A couple of folks brought this up to me, and Logan was the first. Yeah, that was definitely part of the whole FF concept eventually, the idea of Reed and Sue as a celebrity couple. I don’t know that it was part of the initial concept…FF being more an outgrowth of Atlas’ monster and sci-fi books than a full-on superhero book, the idea of celebrity would naturally take a back seat to weird adventures and bizarre monsters. But it is definitely part and parcel of the series now, so good catch, Logan.

  • Roger greened

    “In fact, I was working at Midnight Comics in Albany when the Liefield comics started coming out. They were good for the bottom line, short term, but I HATED them.”

    That is the part of funnybook selling that makes you grit your teeth (ironically enough) is selling lots of something you know is terrible, but you need to do so just so you can keep your doors open and put food on your table. But (and I’m not telling Roger anything he doesn’t already know here, but need to say so before I step on any True Fan’s toes again) that “terrible” is in the eye of the beholder. As I always say, every comic is someone’s favorite, and if they’re coming in and demanding it, hey, I’m happy to sell it to you. The trick here is making sure that folks coming in for a comic that you think will burn brightly and vanish quickly, or the novelty value of which will fade away, are regularly exposed to quality material in your shop as options. Not everyone will bite…a lot of comics that bring in huge numbers of customers, at least initially, will have a customer base that wants only that comic and nothing else (as we’ve seen with the Stephen King and Anita Blake series). But a few will try new things…using one book as an opportunity to sell customers others is just one of those things I have to do as a comics salesman.

    Well, that and babysitting, but let’s not get into that right now.

  • P-TOR logics

    “Feet tend to be stinky.

    Liefeld never allows feet into his drawings.

    Thus, his work is not stinky.

    Ergo, it must be good.

    Post Hoc Ergo Procter Hoc.”

    Including that mostly because it made me laugh.

  • Pal Dan notes

    “When I read the previews, I thought it was a good concept — and if it had turned out to be a comic about a bunch of celebrity superheroes fighting super-crime in between spa treatments and guest shots on Leno, it probably would’ve been a great comic. Ironically, Peter Milligan and Mike Allred did exactly that with X-Force, years later.”

    That run on X-Force gets mentioned once or twice in response to the celebrity thing, too. I wonder if the celebrity thing was emphasized more in Youngblood, how it would have done. Would the people attracted to the book as it actually was put up with more celebrity-based subplots breaking up the action? Well, unless the subplots were treated like the rest of the book: “On the Tonight Show, it’s Shaft from Youngblo…oh my God, look out! It’s Knyfestryke!” (ten pages of fight ensue). I mean, that’s sort of how it was in the first issue, anyway.

    And that reminds me for no good reason…Wonder Man was/is a Hollywood movie star, right? There’s another celebrity superhero right there.

  • Philip says

    “I do love the ‘1st exciting issue’ burst on the cover. It implies that there were other, earlier issues that were not exciting.”

    That is pretty funny. I’m picturing previous non-exciting issues with, like, Badrock sitting on the couch and flipping through channels on the TV, or Shaft signing a bunch of autograph trading cards for Rittenhouse Archives at the kitchen table or something.

  • Snapper calls a kettle black by saying

    “Wait, was his name actually Shaft? Ah-haha, I never even realised.”

    I believe much hay has been made of “Rob Liefeld’s 7-inch Shaft” action figure…including by me. Hey, who doesn’t love a good penis joke?

  • Jack reminds us

    “…There was a certain amount of near-hysteria in the comics stores back then. At least around here, everyone got caught up in the comics boom, and it just seemed to fill the stores, resulting in people buying just about anything. It was an odd time.”

    As someone working the counter through that time, I can say that Jack ain’t wrong. There was a lot of money to be made in comics, in making them and selling them, and there was a certain measure of excitement and anticipation for anything new. There was indeed a lot of buying of things simply because it was new or exciting or simply because everyone else wanted it, too.

    There are days when I miss that. Sure, it wasn’t good for the industry in the long run, as it’s far easier for disillusion to set in regarding the piles of junk comics you’ve accumulated and not enjoyed. But man, there seriously was a lot of money going around in this hobby.

  • Eric L wonders

    “I wonder how different things would have been if Liefeld had hired a writer to write Youngblood using his high concept.”

    That’s hard to say…I think Liefeld working from someone else’s plot may possibly have minimized the crazy action and oft-noted “energy” of those initial issues of Youngblood. Maybe it would have made for a better book in the long run, but would it have attracted the fans it did? Would it have attracted different fans? Would it have made no difference? I really don’t know. Interesting to think about, though.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the other contemporaneous Youngblood titles, with far less Liefeld involvement, sold far less and are by and large forgotten. When you think of Youngblood, by God you think of Liefeld’s initial series. Whether this provides a clue as to the result of this hypothetical situation, I leave up to the dear reader.

  • Alan says, among other things

    “I tried his Hawk and Dove.”

    That Hawk and Dove series had very little of the exaggerated energetic style Liefeld would demonstrate in Youngblood and others…to the point where those critical of his later work would look at that series and say “Geez, what happened to the guy? This wasn’t so bad.” Of course, he was drawing in the more staid and traditional style, or may have just been heavily inked…I really don’t know. And I do have somewhere a copy of a Malibu Comics house ad for a pre-Image Youngblood, with Liefeld drawing in that more traditional superhero style.

    If it had come out like that, I doubt I’d be spending this much time still talking about it.

  • That unstoppable comics blogger Johnny Bacardi had this to say:

    “Liefeld’s stuff was stocky and grotesque, where McFarlane’s was lithe and grotesque; everybody bulked-up, grimacing and straining, except the women, who were constantly posing. I thought it was way too overheated and ugly, so I was never interested in buying more.”

    “Overheated and ugly” is a good way to describe what happened to superhero books in the ’90s. A lot of art in books from the boom-and-crash period attempted to emulate what appeared to be the new trend in comics illustration and…well, quite frankly, whatever you think of Liefeld’s art, there really only is one Liefeld, and woe betide you if you think you’re going to duplicate that ineffable Liefeldness.

And that’s enough for today, as next on the agenda is getting into the comments from the pro-Liefeld faction that descended upon my site all at once. Even some of the more irritated and angered respondents have some points that deserve addressing, and I’m looking forward to doing so.

Hopefully you’re not all burned out on Youngblood-talk yet. I’ll be done soon, I promise!

In other news:

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