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  1. #1
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    Default "Image" Artist Era

    I was huge into comics during the McFarlane/Liefeld and company were all working on their respective Marvel comics (Spiderman, XMen, XForce, New Mutants etc etc). I for one enjoyed the over exaggerated muscles, guns and boobs.

    I got out of collecting comics for about a decade (though kept popping in and out of the stores to see what was going on)

    Recently got back into collecting about 6 months ago and to get to my point........why all the hate on these guys and their work? I look at some of the art these days, especially on the books I read (ASM, XForce, W and XMen, Batman) and other than the occasional Ramos work and Greg's work on Batman, I just don't see the same quality of work

    What am I missing?

  2. #2

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    Well, there are two reasons. One is simply that tastes change. Just as the McFarlane/Image style was seen as a breath of fresh air at the time, it was eventually replaced by a new breath of fresh air once that style got overdone (which, for what it's worth, was manga-influenced art in the late 90's, which has since again been replaced by a newer style of storytelling).

    The other reason for a lot of the hate, though, is what the Image founders symbolize to a lot of us, which is the speculation era. Gimmick covers, people buying 500 copies of each new #1, companies chasing easy money at the expense of quality comics. And that declinae of quality, when Marvel decided to chuck their established writers in favor of placating their wunderkind hot artists, giving us stuff like McFarlane writing Spider-man and Lee writing X-Men while the good writers that established those series were kicked to the curb. For many of us, myself included, the Image founders are representative of one of the worst times in comics, when Marvel went bankrupt both creatively and literally and sales crashed across the industry in a way that comics have never recovered from. And probably will never recover from.

    That's what I think of when I see McFarlane or Lee or Liefeld art. Bad juju.
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  3. #3
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    I never saw the appeal of any of that stuff - or the little of it I noticed on the stands at the time, at least. And I think it's unfortunate that aspects of that Imagey style have remained in vogue right up to the present day in superhero comics - look at people like Jim Lee, for example. That style of artwork all by itself can keep me from reading a book.

  4. #4
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Harris View Post
    That's what I think of when I see McFarlane or Lee or Liefeld art. Bad juju.
    Whereas I was in the middle of a 25-year hiatus from comics, so I don't see those guys through that prism. Like berk, I just see really, really unappetizing &/or screamingly incompetent (in Liefeld's case) art.
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
    Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.

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  5. #5
    Dorkosaurus Wrecks GavinR's Avatar
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    And lots lots and lots of shipping delays which is what happens when you put artists in charge of a company. Nothing ever comes out on time.

  6. #6
    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    Tastes change, but also, a disturbing number of people were and still are offended that they bailed on Marvel and DC and did their own thing and succeeded at it. It's the sam reason for the hating on Alan Moore when he says he has no interest in writing for DC ever again.

    For all the talk about how it was art-first and no writers, Alan Moore, Chris Claremont, Warren Ellis, and Neil Gaiman all wrote for early Image. And they got paid better, by many accounts, than they did for their DC and Marvel work, and owned things they made up for those stories.

    Were things often late? Yeah. Were they often superior to Teen Tony Iron Man issues or Chuck Dixon pulling all the satire out of Punisher 2099 even though those books hit their deadlines? Hell yes. ZOMG, the deadlines will be missed! My life now sucks because twenty years ago Cyberforce was two months late, and I'm sure Marc Silvestri's suffering for it.

    Was there crap at early Image? Sure. There's crap everywhere. But, Image put out some quality comics then and they do now. Haters gonna hate.

  7. #7
    Senior Member dr chimp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T Hedge Coke View Post
    For all the talk about how it was art-first and no writers, Alan Moore, Chris Claremont, Warren Ellis, and Neil Gaiman all wrote for early Image. And they got paid better, by many accounts, than they did for their DC and Marvel work, and owned things they made up for those stories.
    Think McFarlane paid Alan Moore 5 times as much for an issue of spawn than a DC issue.

    The art was butal but young kids seemed to love it and it took big balls for them to walk away from all of that and set up their own thing.

    The mannerist period of comic book art with Leifeld as Parmigianino
    Last edited by dr chimp; 11-11-2012 at 06:23 AM.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member LEADER DESSLOK's Avatar
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    Actually, like all "eras" there was the "Real Deal" and then there were the numerous "clones" and "wannabes". Some were just as good or better than the originals (such as the work of Jae Lee or Travis Charest) while the fakers sank to the bottom but their taint lingered on.

    Today, I still love McFarlane, Lee and the occasional Liefeld--who has improved (as an artist--not as a co-plotter so much) since the 90s. My opinion of comic book art is the same as with "Fine" art. If you like someone's work, don't be ashamed of it--support it. Fads come and go all the time. But the best art still survives.
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  9. #9
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    I never liked any of them at the time and never read any of the books they were working on. Admittedly, I'm much less an art guy than a story guy, but neither art nor story on those books interested me.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MDG's Avatar
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    I think that there were a couple of things that turned me off of the "Image" style, especially coming out of the 80s, when it looked, for a while, like comics had a chance of becoming a little more mainstream and building an audience again. One was that it was a style that was really only suitable for superhero stories and maybe some types of dark horror. I realize that superheroes were what they did and the majority of the market, but a result was that within these books, sometimes the artists didn't seem to have any idea of how to handle a non-battle scene.

    Another problem was that it seemed based on applying a very slick and superficially appealing inking style to pages/drawings that were poorly designed and composed.
    "It's just lines on paper, folks!"

  11. #11
    Hardcover addict dupont2005's Avatar
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    I liked McFarlane Spiderman, and Larsen Spiderman, and Jim Lee UXM. I loved Sam Keith covers on Marvel Comics Presents. I didn't really like how sexualized all the women became and after a while didn't like how buff Spiderman got. And things like having to turn a comic sideways to read a page I thought was a sign of poor layouts. Never got too into the early Image stuff. Bought the first few issues of Shadowhawk and Wildcats but didn't complete either of those first minis. Bought some Maxx comics and really liked those but again, I think I only got about three issues in. Bought one issue of Spawn and liked it. That was around the time I was getting sick of comics though so my experience with early Image is fairly limited. When I got back into comics I finished the Shadowhawk minis and realized how much they suck. Finished the Maxx series and was pleasantly surprised, I'm now an even bigger Keith fan from it.
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  12. #12
    Soul Gem Resident adam_warlock_2099's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T Hedge Coke View Post
    Tastes change, but also, a disturbing number of people were and still are offended that they bailed on Marvel and DC and did their own thing and succeeded at it. It's the sam reason for the hating on Alan Moore when he says he has no interest in writing for DC ever again.

    For all the talk about how it was art-first and no writers, Alan Moore, Chris Claremont, Warren Ellis, and Neil Gaiman all wrote for early Image. And they got paid better, by many accounts, than they did for their DC and Marvel work, and owned things they made up for those stories.

    Were things often late? Yeah. Were they often superior to Teen Tony Iron Man issues or Chuck Dixon pulling all the satire out of Punisher 2099 even though those books hit their deadlines? Hell yes. ZOMG, the deadlines will be missed! My life now sucks because twenty years ago Cyberforce was two months late, and I'm sure Marc Silvestri's suffering for it.

    Was there crap at early Image? Sure. There's crap everywhere. But, Image put out some quality comics then and they do now. Haters gonna hate.
    Thats why a lot of people continue with dogging these people to this day. Especially Liefield. If you don't like something don't like it, but don't think that means that the work is bad itself because you don't like. I am not really popular for my meh attitude towards Kirby's art. I don't go around saying his art is bad though, I just don't like it myself. But there are elitists in every avenuse of life and for some reason in comics this era, these people and this style gets more crap than an politician with sexual indecretions.

    As far as the material I continue to mantain that Age of Apocalypse is the best X-Men story to date. I got that and Wildcats with Travis Charest and Mark Texeria on Ghost Rider, Union, and to some degree Sabertooth, though it was the art more than the story that I liked.

    Every era or time period that crap in it. I am sure you could manage to pinpoint most people's favorite era with their age group. Even if they have exapanded out to other eras their favorite are no doubt going to be the one that was present when they started collecting. I make no lies that I am baised to AoA, Marvel 2099 or Batman-LOTDK because that's the first thing that I was exposed to. But I read from all generes and eras, but hate on none of them.
    Last edited by adam_warlock_2099; 11-11-2012 at 01:41 PM.
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  13. #13
    I say thee nay! icctrombone's Avatar
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    I missed out on those artists when they were riding high at Marvel. It was exciting when they started Image but the only book that had any substance was Savage Dragon. Wildcats seemed like a continuing story from the X-men and the Liefeld books were unreadable.
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  14. #14
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam_warlock_2099 View Post
    Thats why a lot of people continue with dogging these people to this day. Especially Liefield. If you don't like something don't like it, but don't think that means that the work is bad itself because you don't like.
    Why, you're right! Andrew Dice Clay & Pauly Shore might really be two of the finest comic actors of all time!

    And Stephanie Meyer might really be such a wonderful writer that she deserves to sell probably more books in a given day that H.P. Lovecraft has in a half-century.

    Ditto, in yet another creative field, Britney Spears' sales back during her peak, or those of some flavor-of-the-week American Idol winner, or those of the little shemale Justin Bieber, in a given week as compared to those the Ramones or Joy Division or Wire or the Mekons or the Cramps, ad infinitum, managed in 30+ years. Obviously, the fans of the former were/are possessed of impeccable taste.

    Etc. etc. etc.

    But, y'know, I seriously doubt it, & I'm pretty comfortable in making that judgment. If that makes me a mean ol' elitist, I'm happy with that.

    See also: Liefeld, Rob. Not to mention: Break, give me a.
    Last edited by Dan B. in the Underworld; 11-11-2012 at 04:47 PM.
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
    Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.

    -- Reptisaurus!

  15. #15
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam_warlock_2099 View Post
    Thats why a lot of people continue with dogging these people to this day. Especially Liefield. If you don't like something don't like it, but don't think that means that the work is bad itself because you don't like.
    It's not bad because I don't like it. It's bad because it's objectively bad.

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