This feature was originally published on November 14th, 2007. Holy Lord, Rob Liefeld is bad at drawing. I mean, holy shit ... I'll stop. Just read this. It's awesome. Also, you can find the sequel, 40 MORE of the worst Rob Liefeld drawings, right HERE. - Ed.
This is Rob Liefeld. If that doesn't tell you everything you need to know about Rob Liefeld ... well, I'm sorry for this in advance.
Comic books exploded when I was about ten years old. They'd always been popular and we'd always collected and enjoyed them, but a surge of popularity brought out collectors and special editions and all the shit we've learned to deal with from breakfast cereals and television punditry. Kids were replaced by old men with backing boards, and eventually the kids and the old men became one, and 9 out of 10 kids you met collected comics for the money they'd never see and gave you the most turd-burgling stink-eye if you took the literally, figuratively, and creatively worthless SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE out of its polybag. It was a grand and miserable time for all involved, and as a result now Spider-Man wears flying armor and the good writers we lost, guys like Alan Moore, are busy writing graphic novels about how Snow White loves fucking the Seven Dwarves in a metaphorical Future Paris or whatever.
You don't need to know about this. Comics were once for kids and now they're for the adults who loved them as kids but suddenly became adults with no upward motivation. Talented people did and still work on comics and as immature and goofy as any hobby can be, they should be respected and admired for their work. We don't hate comics. I'm a little more bitter about the loss of innocence than Bill, but we both don't appreciate Garth Ennis having Superman demand blowjobs in a comic and expecting people to call him a genius.
People do. People suck.
And then, there's Rob Liefeld. You know how people draw comics? Rob doesn't do that. He had his own Levi's commercial directed by Spike Lee in the 90s. He had best-selling comic books. He was a revolutionary and helped co-found Image Comics when all the hot artists ditched their classic gigs (like Spider-Man, the X-Men, and, uh, Guardians of the Galaxy) for creator-owned projects. But he doesn't "draw" comics. Oh God, no.
Just... ugh, just let me show you.
* * *
Scientific Podcast Goes Boink, Episode 168
* * *
The most important thing you need to know before reading about all the terrible things Rob Liefeld has drawn is that he has never seen or talked to a woman in his life and has no idea what they look like or how their bodies operate. If you asked Rob Liefeld to draw a diagram of the uterus he'd put on a pair of gauntlets and punch the shit out of your chalkboard. This is how the man operates, and though I know it sounds like a lot, you have to believe me. I don't want you looking at the stuff he's drawing and think he's a conscious adult male with a creative job who can and has influenced the minds of young artists. The man is a pair of blue jeans with a face. He has on a backwards cap, and when he turns it around, it's still backwards.
Okay. The #40 spot is a catch-all for "any time Rob Liefeld has ever drawn a woman." We get more specific from here, but if we didn't lump these together the entire list would be broken spines and colossal hooters.
I geniunely feel these are mistakes.
This is what a woman looks like to Rob Liefeld. I can't even kid about this. It's fucking ridiculous. Fucking ricockulous. She's wearing a string of pouches where her stomach should but could not possibly be and both her thighs and forearms are larger than her abdomen. She has a big ole ass and torpedo tits, and I geniuenly think that when Rob finished drawing her he sat back, frowned, looked over at his friend, and said "yikes, sorry, guy."
And then he started drawing teenagers for DC Comics.
No kidding. What we're exploring isn't an artist we don't like. We argue about that. Bill will like one guy and I'll like another, but generally we don't wish ill on the guys nor do we hope for their gainful unemployment. We're exploring something so abstruse and offensive that our Mortal Kombat-ridden childhood comes back to uppercut off our level heads three times and rip out our spine. In that sentence, "spine" is meant to represent "holy shit what is wrong with fucking Rob Liefeld."
This is a good introduction to how Rob Liefeld, and indeed just about any comics artist in the early nineties, approached their medium: Make it as "dynamic" and "gritty" as possible. In this case, "dynamic" involves a whole shitload of lines on the face, some foreboding shadows obscuring the general middle-of-the-face area, and a background that I guess implies he is sitting in front of an enormous Bengal tiger. Also of note: the fingers of Stryfe’s left hand here all taper down in size from index to pinkie, you know, as fingers do. There is also some crazy shit going on behind that binder in the general gauntlet/forearm area. When I attempt to draw, I often fuck up a line and am like, "Oh shit, that’s not how those parts of the body connect," and then I draw like two or three lines to try to cover it up but it just looks shitty. I can excuse it because 1. I am usually just drawing in ballpoint on my binder or something and 2. I am not a professional artist. Rob Liefeld, by contrast, draws a gauntlet going into the forearm all fucked-up in pencil. At that point, he then goes PFFFFT FUCK IT and then inks over it and sends it to the colorist. Then he GETS PAID FOR DOING THAT.
You know what Rob Liefeld hates drawing? Feet. On this cover for X-Force #3, Rob is depicting a battle taking place between the titular team and internet darling The Juggernaut (who among us walks, apparently). They all appear to be battling atop some sort of boulder, which serves the purpose of covering up the feet of Juggernaut, Warpath, and Cable.
"Oh shit, gotta get Domino on there too, can’t have an X-Force cover without tits. Shit, the "ground" I drew didn’t reach over to where I’m putting her. Oh, fuck it, she’ll be crouching. You can crouch in the air, right?"
Okay so counting Cannonball, that’s five character’s feet taken care of. That other Juggernaut foot he can get away with, because perspective! Kinda. Ah, shit, gotta put Shatterstar on the cover! Nothing sells comic books in 1991 like a dude in a billowy silk shirt and some swords! Well he’s kind of, I dunno, either jumping in for some kinda Jody Fleisch seated dropkick or getting punched by Juggernaut. Check out his cape just coming straight out of the back of his head. Liefeld picks that fucked-up pose and everything seems to be going well (as far as Liefeld goes), then he gets to the feet and sort of panics. "GAH I’ll just draw an elongated Pac-Man and a kidney bean."
Check out Spider-Man swinging in on a jungle vine. Jesus Christ Liefeld drew a dog’s hindquarters on him. Just straight-up a dog’s ass and legs.
THIS BLOOD'S FOR YOU
Shit, who needs to explain why they're jumping together in front of a yellow wall with a spotlight on them, it's DEATH BLOOD MATE SHOT RARRRRHHH
Quick question: Why does Rob Liefeld think guns have two spots at the end of the barrel for bullets to come out?
Boy can old Rob design a costume! Let’s see, half-jacket, turtleneck, matching dance troupe gloves and oh yes GIGANTIC AREA. Apparently the background artist for this panel was Harold, who was kind enough to lend his magic crayon to the scene. Hey, no feet in this one! Score! Oops, still managed to fuck up Deadpool’s hand pretty bad, though. Oh well, I’m sure too many people will be unable to tear their eyes from that bulging gray package to give a shit.
I would be remiss if I did not mention one of Liefeld’s more brilliant creations, Forearm! His power is that he has FOUR ARMS. do you realize the subtle pun that forearm
Seriously, that’s the dude’s entire shtick. He’s a strong guy who has four arms. No backstory, nothing remotely interesting about him. He would just show up and grin cockily and bearhug someone, and then Colossus or Warpath or someone would cold-cock him and whoop, there goes Forearm. Liefeld pretty much specialized in creating characters that no one could give half a fuck about, and then took that to new levels when he helped start Image, which was like an entire company dedicated to that principle.
Keep in mind that dude created a guy with four arms and, as evidenced in this panel, has no god damn clue how to draw a guy with four arms. "What do you mean where is that arm coming from? Lay off me asshole I have to draw like TWENTY PAGES this month."
In this comic, X-Force leader Cable (worse than the previous leader, Network) and Domino (with the proportional strength and speed of Petey from Our Gang) enjoy a steam bath. As we know from LIVING ON THE PLANET EARTH, water is varying shades of green, opaque, and gives off swirling plumes of smoke when heated. But some of those smoke plumes are coming from off screen, so maybe there are a bunch of humongous bathtubs in the room or maybe someone is throwing decorative curtains.
I've seen my share of X-Force covers. Domino is supposed to be about 1/8th the size of Cable. Maybe the top part of the bathtub is closer to us than the bottom, and we're looking at it from some weird 6/4ths upside down birds eye view. Domino is right, though, she's getting too old for these kinds of workouts. It's making her thighs look like fucked up loaves of bread and stretchmarks you could use to measure the height of your children. I think Rob started drawing the panel, realized he sucked at drawing water, but needed to keep drawing lines SOMEWHERE so the people around him would think he was working hard on that water.
lol but check out that sexy dialogue
That gun is totally bending in the middle, right? It’s not just me?
What are those sticks that are coming out of Cable and Deadpool’s rucksacks? Swords? Knives? Novelty cigars? Why does Cable have HAL 9000 on his back? Why is Cable six times bigger than Deadpool? Jesus Christ look how big his left arm must be.
A fun Liefeld drinking game: take a shot for every pouch he draws on a character. Oh great, now you have alcohol poisoning.
In "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way," "Drawing Comics in the Style of Detective Comics Comics," "Aping Shit the Valiant Way," and every other drawing tutorial I've been a part of, it clearly says that every line you draw on a person's face adds to their age. When you're drawing children or sexy young women you give them clean surfaces to suggest youth and a tightness of veins, and when you draw Clint Eastwood in an eyepatch hanging out with Gen 13 you draw all over his face to let people know he's old. Depending on who you talk to, every line can equal a year added onto the life of your character.
Shaft, the young leader of rogue operative team "Youngblood," is 900 years old. And he's looking through really fine blinds. Also, his head is on fire. Image Comics is about living for the moment and taking it to the extreme, they didn't have time to learn that when you stick your head in a shadow it blocks the light on both your face AND your hair. Doing research for the Lion King? Let Disney Comics go to fucking Africa and look at how lions work, draw the lion from a point of view no man can see, and when the ink is still wet, run a comb over it.
Isn't it funny that when asked to create a universe of characters for his own comic book line Rob Liefeld draws a guy who looks exactly like Rob Liefeld and names him "Shaft?"
You know what? Even if this dude weren’t Quadzilla there’s no way he’d be able to put his legs together with all those pouches and garters and whateverthefucks. Jesus, look how high up that one band around his leg is. What purpose could that possibly serve? His pants are so uncomfortably tight that his groin is puckering into some sort of overachieving asterisk. His belt is juuuuuuuust under his nipples. The real capper, though, is the kneepads. What the fuck must go through Liefeld’s head when he’s drawing a character? "Yep, crew cut, I’ll put Boba Fett’s rocket on his back. Hmm, oh, GOTTA go with the metal shoulderpads and enormous Run-DMC gold rope chain. Okay, belt…uh…pouchespouchespouchespouchespouchespouches leg things, oh, KNEEEEEEPADSSSSSS yessss." In conclusion, I hate Rob Liefeld and he should be thrown in a well.