Thursday, May 26, 2005

Rob Liefeld

Rob Liefeld Said Something I Feel I Must Respond To

In his journal, Rob Liefeld claims:

"Panoramic, cinematic, double page spreads depicting breakneck action was popularized and immortalized by the founders of Image Comics. Lee, Liefeld, McFarlane, Larsen, Silvestri and Valentino delivered widescreen comics back when the comic populace referred to them simply as Image comics. We produced the best fight comix in the world."

I don't think this is entirely correct, Rob. Before I go on, let me just say that unlike some of my contemporaries, I'm a fan of your work, specially on your New Mutants/X-Force days. I respect you and the other Image founders for the accomplishments of Image in the industry and for doing comics in ways that hardly anyone thought of doing before. But I believe your knownledge of comics history may not be too accurate.

If there's anyone who popularized widescreen comics in American comics, it's Jack Kirby, man. I mean, you know that Rob. You know it, specially since you claim to be his fan. I'm glad you did acknowledge Jack Kirby for doing it before you, but I'm puzzled as to why you contradict yourself by saying Image popularized and immortalized it when it was in fact Jack Kirby who did.

Jack Kirby did it in comics after comics for many years, Joe Kubert did it, and Alex Niño did it, who created *not* a two-page spread, *not* a four page spread, but a colossal FOURTEEN-PAGE spread on the pages of 1994 in 1981. Ronin by Frank Miller tried to match it a few years later, and admittedly, Jim Lee did something similar on an early issue of Wildcats, but Alex's 14 pages has yet to be surpassed.

A few issues later, Alex Niño outdid himself by creating a gigantic panel when the 14 pages of his story was put together. It's been rarely attempted since, once I believe by Mark Wheatley, and most recently by Alan Moore and JH Williams on Promethea.

Going further back in other countries (for America is *NOT* the entire world, Rob), Alex Niño, Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala and many other Philippine artists produced 2-page spread after 2-page spread from the early 60's to the early 70's most notable of which was Alcala's VOLTAR which came out in Alcala Fight Komiks, one of the best and biggest fight comics ever published.

Please note that I'm not saying it's *the* best. Just *one* of the best.

Because you know, when one claims to be *the* best in the entire world without knowing fully just what goes on beyond the country you're in, it comes off as a bit arrogant and insulting to us artists who occupy "the rest of the world."

I hope I'm not misunderstood and I'm made to look like I'm putting Rob and Image Comics down. Far from it! They created a lot (and still create a lot) of great comics, and I'm a huge fan still of many of their creators, but to me it's just not right to claim credit for something that they did not do. It's not only *not right*, but an untenable injustice and disrespect to the artists whose credit is being taken away from them.

I'm by no means claiming that Alex Niño or Alfredo Alcala are the ones who made and popularized widescreen comics before Rob or even Jack. I'm open to the idea that others may have and I'm curious what they are and who are the writers and artists responsible.