A Liefeld Defense

Last week my friends and I were talking about late 90’s sensation Rob Liefeld.  I said that they were like Limp Bizkit: everyone loved them for about 15 minutes in 1999 until we all realized how they were fooling us.  I wanted to take that analogy further and say if they applied themselves, we would all love them again.

Limp Bizkit – famous for rhyming “nookie” with “cookie” and inspiring both Weird Al’s “Angry White Boy Polka” and Ben Folds’ “Rockin the Suburbs” – actually had quite a bit of talent.  Their singer could sing (at least by rock standards), they had an eye for talent (they brought us the mega-downer Staind), and both their lead guitarist and drummer were pretty damn capable.  But, like Rob Liefeld, they hit stardom too early and never thought to get any better.

If you look at his early art as a sign of things to come, you’d think he was a good balance of Jim Lee and Todd McFarlane; you’d think he was the next Art Adams.  We all thought that.  We all thought, “This could be something great.”  But then he got famous and stopped getting better.  He never had to.


The crux of the conversation revolved around this famous drawing of Captain America:


They say this is simply an awful picture.  I say this is proof of my thesis that Liefeld never had to get any better; he’s stuck in 1992.  One of the first things you learn when you draw is that although each section of art might look good, the overall piece might look bad.  If that happens, you have to figure out a way to fix it.  Even if you spent the last six hours perfecting a sexy pouty face, if the face is looking in a direction that isn’t possible given the rest of the picture, that face must be fixed.

Here’s what I mean: each individual part of this drawing is fine:

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But when you step back from it, it just doesn’t work.  Honestly, the only thing that’s wrong with this is the size and location of the head.  I fixed it:


Is fixing-up bad drawings from famous comic book artists a job?


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