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  1. #16
    I love the 80s! spoon_jenkins's Avatar
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    It depends. Some of the artists declined in esteem as people took greater notice of their flaws (e.g., disproportionate anatomy in Liefeld's art). Some of it is changing artistic tastes. Some of it is personal taste (sometimes people use the word "hack" to mean "artist whose work I don't like"). Some of is blaming them for the speculation bubble, whether that's fair or not.

    I think a lot of it is frustration with repeated publishing delays. And I think a lot of it was a feeling that the stories suffered when some of the artists took over writing duties (either on their Marvel books or when they started at Image).

    Personally, I think there are plenty of artists whose work actually gets weaker over time. So some of the artists may have been better earlier in their careers.

    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.
    Actually, it's a valid criticism if it doesn't get "strawman-ized". Those writers weren't there in the beginning. Between the publication delays and the sub-par early writing, I lost interest. I had stopped reading WildC.A.T.s and Spawn before any of those writers showed up, so they are not early Image writers to me. And, at least at first, some of those writers only did one or two issues. A little bit of writing from those folks doesn't negate a "not much good writing" argument.

    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.
    Not always true. There was a drawn-out legal fight between McFarlane and Gaiman over ownership of characters, whether certain characters were derivative or original, etc.
    "I don't care if they have definite connections to the boy scouts. They have Weapon X - I want him back. We spent a lot of money and resources developing and training him - not to mention your group as well - I won't see it thrown away."
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    Unfortunately, Wolverine escaped to the U.S. with the X-Men. Soon after this stunning debacle, Trudeau's Liberal Party would go down to defeat in the May 1979 election.

  2. #17
    Senior Member LEADER DESSLOK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    It's not bad because I don't like it. It's bad because it's objectively bad.
    Those don't sound like objective comments. They are ENTIRELY subjective. People like what they like for whatever reason. I remember when I was in school and used to say how much I wasn't impressed with the Sistine Ceiling artwork. I'll admit that it was before the cleaning and I have warmed up to it with the "new" brilliant colors;however, my general opinion remains the same--each individual section is great but as a whole, it's a confused jumble of images. El Greco has done much better arranged compositions and so has Tinteretto. In other words, they knew what "mistakes" to avoid. The point of this comparison? It doesn't mean that the work is "objectively bad" or that other artists noted design "problems" with the work, it's just that I personally don't care for it. I do think Michelangelo's drawings and sculptures are some of the best the world has seen but his paintings just don't grab me--especially in comparison with the aforementioned artists to whom I would add Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera and Sequieros!

    Is Liefeld "objectively bad"? I don't think so. I can name SEVERAL who were worse back then...and NOW! Is Liefeld worse than... ah, why start an argument?
    FAV Comics: Lil' ABNER, DICK TRACY, BATMAN, UNCLE SCROOGE, KAMUI, TOMB OF DRACULA, THE MIGHTY THOR by LEE\KIRBY, WONDER WOMAN by PEREZ\KAREN BERGER, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1-206 and EC COMICS!

  3. #18
    Idaho Spuds Slam_Bradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEADER DESSLOK View Post
    Those don't sound like objective comments. They are ENTIRELY subjective. People like what they like for whatever reason. I remember when I was in school and used to say how much I wasn't impressed with the Sistine Ceiling artwork. I'll admit that it was before the cleaning and I have warmed up to it with the "new" brilliant colors;however, my general opinion remains the same--each individual section is great but as a whole, it's a confused jumble of images. El Greco has done much better arranged compositions and so has Tinteretto. In other words, they knew what "mistakes" to avoid. The point of this comparison? It doesn't mean that the work is "objectively bad" or that other artists noted design "problems" with the work, it's just that I personally don't care for it. I do think Michelangelo's drawings and sculptures are some of the best the world has seen but his paintings just don't grab me--especially in comparison with the aforementioned artists to whom I would add Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera and Sequieros!

    Is Liefeld "objectively bad"? I don't think so. I can name SEVERAL who were worse back then...and NOW! Is Liefeld worse than... ah, why start an argument?
    I'm not going to get in to the art is subjective/objective argument. Either you get it or you don't. I'll simply say that i'm smart enough to recognize that just because I like it, doesn't make it good. I like a lot of crappy art, particularly writing. But recognize it's objectively bad.

  4. #19
    Senior Member LEADER DESSLOK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    I'm not going to get in to the art is subjective/objective argument. Either you get it or you don't. I'll simply say that i'm smart enough to recognize that just because I like it, doesn't make it good. I like a lot of crappy art, particularly writing. But recognize it's objectively bad.
    Charles Winchester couldn't have put it better. I guess...
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  5. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoopsguru View Post
    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?
    you've obviously never seen this website: http://www.progressiveboink.com/2012...efeld-drawings

  6. #21
    Senior Member LEADER DESSLOK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randumbz View Post
    you've obviously never seen this website: http://www.progressiveboink.com/2012...efeld-drawings
    How could they have forgotten that "Pidgeon Chested" Captain America drawing? Ah well. I have never said Rob never did a bad drawing, I just admitted I actually like his style because it's very exciting and fun. But he has made a lot of progress since those days. And again, a LOT of his "clones" were consistently worse!

    But let's not mislead readers and infer that ALL the Image artists were Liefeld imitators. Some could draw well but were mediocre storytellers or writers but even so, Marvel and to a lesser extent, DC also had problems with storytelling, drawing and\or writing.

    When all is said and done, Image had a few great artists (like all publishers have) but I think this is a case where professional jealousy over the excitement and money these (then-) young "turks" gained, which has infected the fandom to the point where a lot of us are regurgitating the same comments veteran creators made back then.

    "I studied for years to learn how to draw and now look at how popular that Liefeld guy is yadda-yadda-yadda..."

    What do I say to that? If they were so great why didn't they put a similar type of excitement in their own work but just draw it better?

    Gene Colan didn't sit around and grump about Kirby's popularity--he just incorporated some of that Kirby excitement in his own work but in a different manner.

    That's how it's done. Don't imitate--INNOVATE!
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  7. #22
    Senior Member Shawn Hopkins's Avatar
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    For me it's mainly an aesthetic thing with the art. For some reason I like art that's, not necessarily less complex, but that has a clarity to it that makes it very clear what's going on. A lot of early Image art seemed to do its best to fill the image with as many distracting and unnecessary lines as possible, it causes a messy effect that turns me off. The worst for me is Lee, because his figures are also stiff and his scenes are cold and lack emotion. McFarlane I can actually tolerate a little more because his stuff is grotesque caricature and that frees me from the preconception that it's supposed to represent something that resembles a person.

    And a lot of the stories were too simple even by superhero comic standards. I've got one issue of, I think it was Bloodstrike, where the plot is a guy breaks into a high tech mansion and fights robots. No subplots, no character development, no complications or drama. Just an excuse to draw scenes of a guy shooting robots.

  8. #23
    world of yesterday benday-dot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slam_Bradley View Post
    I'm not going to get in to the art is subjective/objective argument. Either you get it or you don't. I'll simply say that i'm smart enough to recognize that just because I like it, doesn't make it good. I like a lot of crappy art, particularly writing. But recognize it's objectively bad.
    Yeah. There are definitely intellectual as well as aesthetic considerations we bring to bear in our critical perceptions of art. But sometimes the considerations which matter most are the visceral and emotional elements. They can be just as integral to serious judgement as any supposedly objective framework.

    So-called "mistakes" only play a part, and by no means an essential one, in our evaluations. Desslok, in giving his reasons for preferring El Greco to Michelangelo, does not thankfully make the fatal calculation that Michelangelo was an objectively bad artist. Giotto's more expressive perspectives were not those of the more polished later Renaissance masters; Kirby's fingers were square and his faces blocky, Robbin's figures were rubbery... none of these stylistic differences (which some will incorrectly term errors) denote good or bad art. Indeed, they are all aspects which lead me to favour their authors over their perhaps more "normalizing" rivals.

    I dislike the dominate Image school not because Leifeld or to a lesser extent Lee seem to lack an apprehension of anatomy. If they wanted to. no doubt they could draw "normal" figures. But such was not the style of the time. As I said that is not an inherently bad thing. But there is such a thing, a very crucial thing, as taste, sentiment and true creative art itself. The Image style was of an excessiveness and grotesqueness that to many critical eyes, mine included, exceeded good taste, keen judgement, and ultimately, on a visceral level, emerges as ugly art in the most non-ironic sense.

    Some ugly art serves a meaningful purpose. Hell, a lot of brilliant cartooning thrives on ugly or hyper exaggerated characterizations. But in the case of the Image art it just comes across as unremittingly ugly.

    It was empty. And basically shite for that. Not very intellectual of me, but sometimes good judgement relies on other faculties to come to their proper conclusions.

  9. #24
    Hardcover addict dupont2005's Avatar
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    I like the kind of books that literary types would say aren't good. I'm not a literary type. If the book isn't good by literary standards it doesn't make me like it less. I like the kind of crime thriller found in airport gift shops. I don't much like Charles Dickens. I'll accept that Dickens is universally accepted as a better writer than James Patterson though. I guess my point is there's nothing wrong with liking Liefeld even if it isn't good.
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  10. #25
    Welcome to Bleeker Street MRP's Avatar
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    What I found laughable during the period was that some well established artists were either editorially mandated to or chose to ape the Image style in other books. Specifically Herb Trimpe doing Fantastic Four Unlimited comes to mind.

    As to writers like Gaiman, Moore, and others writing for Image (specifically Spawn at first), my recollection from reading articles in Comics Buyers Guide and such was that the Image founders approached such writers to do issues for them specifically in response to criticisms about how bad the writing was in the earliest Image efforts, and that many of these writers commented they agreed to do so to support the cause of creator rights and creative freedom which they felt the move to form their own company by the founders represented. That and the Image founders offered boatloads of money to do those issues, mostly it seems as an attempt to legitimatize their efforts in the eyes of some.

    Longer runs by Moore, Ellis, etc. didn't occur until later, after the second wave of talent went to Image to do their own stuff (Mike Grell's Shaman's Tears, Jerry Ordway & Al Gordon's Wildstar, Moore's 1963 pastiches etc.).

    I have mixed feelings on this era. I had little interest in the early books whatsoever (not buying an Image book until Moore's first 1963 issue) and didn't like what I saw when I flipped through them in the shops, I didn't like the effect they had on other artists aping their style in books by other publishers, and didn't like the role they played in fueling the speculator craze of the era, but I do respect the move towards creative freedom, carving a place for creator owned-work in the mainstream of comics rather than the fringes, and for opening up the field to more legitimate players in the American market beyond Marvel and DC. Some of that however, is overshadowed by the backpedaling on creator-rights and legal shenanigans McFarlane later engaged in regarding the Angela, Tony Twiss, and Al Simmons cases.

    But just because I respect what they accomplished in the industry doesn't mean I liked their output for Image at its launch or thought it was quality. It has its fans, but popularity is not a measure of quality either. When I look at things like panel to panel storytelling, overall page layout, flow of the eye from page to page and panel to panel, depth of character development, verisimilitude of dialogue, story structure of plotting, etc. the things I look to as benchmarks of quality comic storytelling and art regardless of stylistic choices, I find these early Image comics don't measure up for me. Of course neither do a lot of mainstream Marvel and DC books from the era, and preceding and proceeding periods as well.

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    Last edited by MRP; 11-11-2012 at 10:35 PM.
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  11. #26
    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoon_jenkins View Post
    Those writers weren't there in the beginning. Between the publication delays and the sub-par early writing, I lost interest. I had stopped reading WildC.A.T.s and Spawn before any of those writers showed up, so they are not early Image writers to me.
    Moore wrote Spawn #8. That's pretty early on a series that's had over a hundred issues now.

    Gaiman wrote #9 (which he now owns, due to McFarlane not following through on his contract initially).

    Of course, I think Brandon Choi's a good writer, so my tastes are suspect here, but still, Moore, Gaiman, and Claremont wrote for Image within the first two years of the company.

  12. #27
    Senior Member Dizzy D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T Hedge Coke View Post
    Moore wrote Spawn #8. That's pretty early on a series that's had over a hundred issues now.

    Gaiman wrote #9 (which he now owns, due to McFarlane not following through on his contract initially).

    Of course, I think Brandon Choi's a good writer, so my tastes are suspect here, but still, Moore, Gaiman, and Claremont wrote for Image within the first two years of the company.
    Yep, I think a lot of people in this thread have the timeline wrong.

    Moore's run on Wildcats was early 20s.

    Spawn: Dave Sim en Frank Miller were also within the first year. Grant Morrison's arc on Spawn was 16-18.

    1963 was released in 1993, a year after Image started. Same for Shaman's Tears.

  13. #28
    what happens next? tolworthy's Avatar
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    Objectively?

    We can measure and compare artforms objectively if we define parameters clearly enough. E.g. objectively, Image was revolutionary, and objectively it was popular. And objectively, some art has bad anatomy. So did Michelangelo's David.

    I hate the era because it destroyed the biggest story in the history of the world: one hundred thousand pages of Marvel continuity ended. Image was not to blame, but they were the symbol of the era. They may have been great comics, but they symbolized disregard for continuity.

    This is not subjective: it can be catalogued objectively. From the late 1980s, and reaching e peak in 1992, the past was systematically retconned so that we had a completely different set of characters, with a different history, different motivations, etc., etc. Here is one small example of an objectively measurable change:


    (A catalog of changes to the Fantastic Four.)

    (An overview of how and when the Original Marvel Universe died.)

    Others claim that this obsession with continuity is what killed Marvel's mojo. But I argue that this view is not objective.

    Also, objectively, comics were priced out of the mainstream market in that period. Decompresion and price rises meant comics could no longer compete with other entertainment on dollars per hour.

    Taking the long view, the early 1990s killed Marvel and killed the industry. Anybody who stands up and praises that era, even when praise is justified, will get a lot of flack.
    Last edited by tolworthy; 11-12-2012 at 03:12 AM.

  14. #29
    Senior Member dr chimp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tolworthy View Post
    Objectively?

    We can measure and compare artforms objectively if we define parameters clearly enough. E.g. objectively, Image was revolutionary, and objectively it was popular. And objectively, some art has bad anatomy.
    If it's a deliberate distortion of anatomy though it's not "bad" anatomy. Mannerists, cubists, futurists all could draw an utterly realistic person, they just didnt want to. Same with 90s Marvel comics - a lot of those artists (with possible exception of liefeld) can draw a very realistic figure - but times were about things being larger than life, exaggeration.

    Price of Big 2 comic in early 90s was still very cheap too - 60-70p for a standard issue or at least half the price of other publishers stuff.

    DC produced some of their finest ever comics in early 90s too. Shade, Doom Patrol, Sandman, etc etc
    Last edited by dr chimp; 11-12-2012 at 05:31 AM.
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  15. #30
    Modus omnibus in rebus Roquefort Raider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T Hedge Coke View Post
    Moore wrote Spawn #8. That's pretty early on a series that's had over a hundred issues now.

    Gaiman wrote #9 (which he now owns, due to McFarlane not following through on his contract initially).
    As MRP pointed out, the quartet of Spawn issues written by people who could actually write (Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Dave Sim and Frank Miller) were in part a response to the criticism regarding the awful writing that permeated the very early Image books. One shouldn't be too surprised, however: Image was founded by artists, and it's not everyone who can write a good comic-book. Some manage to fake it for a few issues, but unless they learn quickly, they're much better off associating with people who have already honed their skills. Valentino (with A touch of silver) and Erik Larsen (with Savage Dragon) showed they were ready for the writer/artist way; Rob Liefeld eventually recruited Alan Moore for his Supreme book (and props to him for being modest enough to realize he needed a writer, and for having the chutzpah to go for the best); Jim Lee associated with his friend Brandon Choi, who...

    Of course, I think Brandon Choi's a good writer, (...)
    Er... perhaps I should refrain from expounding on what I thought of Choi's writing, and limit myself to saying that although I was a big Jim Lee fan at the time, I stopped reading W.i.l.d.Cats after one issue. ("Die, human scum"??? Really???)

    I think berk summed up what I thought of the early days of Image quite nicely: they were empty. Flashy pictures with a bare excuse for a story, and even those flashy pictures were often derivative and unoriginal. It was a great idea for these guys to start their own company and keep control over their creation, and over the years Image blossomed into a great publisher of interesting material; but in the beginning, it was mostly about "hot" artists drawing buxom babes and buffed cyborgs... No soul, no originality, all form and no substance.

    It's unfortunate that instead of letting the straw fire burn itself out, the big two decided that they had to imitate that approach; because let's face it... if a Jim Lee, with all his skills, is incapable of making me excited over a story, what chances have a bunch of Jim Lee-wannabes with one tenth of his talent?
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