Making fun of Rob Liefeld has long been a favorite pastime of comic book fans, possibly as a coping mechanism for the fact that they all purchased and loved his work in the early to mid nineties. However, it would seem to be a little uncouth for a major comic book publisher that willingly paid Liefeld for years to draw their books to jump on that bandwagon, but that's just what Marvel has done in their latest By the Numbers column, looking at 1991's X-Force #1.
Among the statistical facts Marvel used to take shots at their former employee:
- 36 teeth in Wild Side’s mouth
- 7 characters, 1 inexplicable dust cloud, 0 feet
- 2 maybe-thumbs on 1 sliced-off hand
- 1 X-Forcer that can't figure out the appropriate number of sabre tooth accessories to wear
Yikes! It actually makes us feel kind of bad for Liefeld, whose creations, like Deadpool, continue to make Marvel money every month, and who sold more copies of X-Force #1 (based mainly on his name value) than every single Marvel comic to come out in January of this year combined.
Yes, his art embodies all of the stereotypes of the nineties... because he helped create those stereotypes. And you know what else embodied all of the stereotypes of the nineties? Every Marvel comic book published in the nineties.
And with Jim Lee and Bob Harras in power at DC, and a never-ending conveyor belt of relaunches and gimmick variant covers coming out of both Marvel and DC, a lot of the tactics and conventions of the nineties may be more alive and well than either publisher would like to admit.
There's a lesson to be learned here about stones and glass houses, is all I'm saying.
Look, we're not innocent of making fun of Rob Liefeld, and I even like him, but we're a website whose purpose is to make fun of comics. Marvel's job is to sell comics, and they have a responsibility as a company to support their creators, past and present. Is Marvel going to start trashing Claremont next? Kirby? Well, actually, they've done that through their actions for years.
A lot of people will read that article and think, "It's Liefeld. He deserves it." That's a slippery slope. Marvel will undoubtedly hire Liefeld for more work in the future. They always do. Are they damaging their future sales here? Are they damaging their stock with other creators who will feel like Marvel might turn on them and talk shit about some of their most successful work for a few lulz on the internet? It's a bad business move, and I think we'd reset the counter for it if it was DC.
You're not infallible, Marvel, and as thousands of articles on this site have shown, you do plenty of things that can be mocked today, in the 20-teens.
If nothing else, we look forward to the eventual Twitter tirade about the dick sizes of Marvel.com writers in response to the article. I hear Brett White's is particularly small.