D for Defense #31

(Previously on DfD…)

31.jpg
(by J Calduch)

The uselessness of the people from Progressive Boink reaches the point where they mock a drawing that it isn’t even kept any longer in their server, in it’s place we can only see a little black square, which would explain our troubles finding someone to defend it. Without wanting to create a precendent it’s going to be me, the one signing who is also going to do the Defense this week. No problem, it’s a great service, even a pleasure, to defend these images. I kept a copy of the image from when they published their text circa 2007, un a folder, well preserved, just in case that one day… And that day just arrived. 4th of March, I can feel thousands of expectant surfers at the other side of the screen. Here we go!

Let’s see, in the image ROB! is introducing a new character that will gain in importance during his period at X-Force, although when Liefeld left the book the following artists didn’t know how to handle him correctly and he fell into oblivion. G. W. Bridge, a powerfull name for a S.H.I.E.L.D executive. It’s the first time we see him so the artist is going to show us the basics of the character so that in just a look of this image we can know all his key aspects.

A uniform. We see technology, we see armament, we see belts, the essence of what the counter espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D was during the 90s. And the one wearing this cool outfit is precisely G.W. Bridge. A great character. Really great. We can see how great he is comparing him to the character at his side, with the ship in the background  and especially with those little men burning the associate’s leg. A real gigant. At the very least as his namesake George Washington bridge.

The bonfire is clearly an unsolved reference to the movie "The Wicker Man", the 1973 version which latter (in 2006) would be remaked by the comicbook fanatic Nicholas Cage. We don’t have to spell out that the result was an AWESOME! remake, as it happens with everything that is remotely related with ROB! even if it is this obliquely manner. We can’t even rule out that this image was a reference (using tachyons) to the remake. Nothing is imposible for HIM!.

 

peliculas.7371.IMAGEN1.jpg

This sensation gets confirmed when you realize that by assuming that the associate is really a "straw man" like the one in the movie, you can then coherently explain the lumpy texture of his uniform (like he recently arrived from one of those japanese parties). The "straw man" expresion has probably an important meaning in the espionage jargon but Nicieza didn’t want to delve any further in these suggestive aspects. It probably happened as with many others that only managed to see there a cast character whose only use was to reply to Bridge. The potential was there, you just needed to see it and use it.

But let’s get back to the defense, we were still arguing that G.W. Bridge is a great character, huge. In fact, he is so huge that his image has several sets of vanishing lines. As we focus on them, we can see they make atention of the viewer converge in a single point of Bridge’s internal horizon as he is SO huge he has his own vanishing point. That point is in his… Well, let’s asume you can also see it.

The Family Jewels. The Master of Ceremonies. The General with two Colonels. G.W.Bridge is great, strong, a soldier. And especially he has B*LLS. One look at the image and you involuntary focus there, wonders of perspective. He is a character with B*LLS. A big boss from S.H.I.E.L.D. with a cool 90s uniform and b*lls. G.W. Bridge has b*lls, and we know it from his very first appearance, an impresive demonstration of character that shows Liefeld’s skill to convey feelings through dinamic statism, a technique that makes even the most paused scenes trasmit testosterone and manhood. In just a single word: b*lls. What a difference with the static dinamism from other modern "artists" whose action scenes just make you yawn.

Now I would like you to imagine any other awesome character, but that it wasn’t created by ROB!, and track down his very first appearance, this way you will see better the merit of this presentation that we have just been studying.  Whomever said that comparisons are hatefull is the one who doesn’t end up well when they are made. [Yo suprimiria esta frase]

Leaving aside all these facts and entering the domains of especulation I have my own theory about G.W. Bridge. The character, created in 1991, has gray hair like Bill Clinton, president of the United States from 1993 until 2001. Not only that but he is called G.W. as G.W. Bush who followed him in the presidency from 2001 until 2008. They were succeeded by Barack Obama who is african-american, like G.W. Bridge! Could it be posible that through this character, named as the first president of the United States, ROB! was predicting the next presidents of his country? We will end up knowing as the future becomes the present. So when the next person who sits on the presidential seat has a goatie or wears his trousers up his belly remember that HE! already told us. And believe a little more.

(Be here next week for this:

30.jpg
)

D for Defense #32

(Previously on DfD…)

(by Dan J. "Herbie")

After our fair defense of ROB! from the repeated attacks of Progressive Boink we find ourselves again in front of a new example. These "people" (we can’t find any other noun to define them) accuse master ROB! of filling his master pieces with Character’s faces that are full of lines. Yes. Characters with a first capital letter, it’s their right as ROB!’s creations. Continuing with the criticism, it jokes that these lines make any Character older, and in over beloved Shaft it would make him around 900 years old. Heretics! Don’t they know that the glorious ROB!’s will handles, twist and improves the continuum of space and time?

ROB! is beyond the past, further than the future and who knows where in the present. His work is equally appreciated and admired throughout the eons. The lines that we mentioned before are variation from different pictorical times that are still yet to come and that HE is their Prophet.

Also, these thugs from Progressive Boink dare to doubt the illumination in the image. How can’t they see they are before a master piece? The illumination comes from the Sun, from a lamp or a passing car… But furthermore, it comes from ROB!’s eyes when he looks at the paper, illuminating Shaft’s hair and giving it a life of it’s own that would be impossible to do for any other artist.


(Be here next week for this:

31.jpg

)

D for Defense #34

(Previously on DfD…)

As an strict investigator of art movements thoughout history, Mr. Liefeld translates his genious in these two pannels. Not only is it a homage but a composite outline in deconstruction and reconstruction of Modernism and erotic narrative of final 19th and beginings of 20th Century. All that without leaving the usual pop art schemas usual in superheroe comic books.

Modernist guidelines are present and deconstructed. From the presentation frame (an awesome stablishing shot where the mountain crowns the bath tub, the interior / exterior shown as an integrated whole) to the scrollwork also very present in modernism (see the affiches in Mucha and Casas, for example), that brilliantly take here the form of a ethereal smoke, vaporous, like an ambiguous gauze that conforms a sensual ambient.

Also, the zenith drawing of the bath tub not only meets the objective of framing the pannel into a narrative time but it also becomes compositive part, integrating itself in this great pannel. The wood
surrounds the environment, giving it an organic plasticity while it also pays homage to the images we talked about before.

The main characters in the image operate in a misleading sexual manner, with a sensual view halfway between art and the erotic narative that the author has researched in the making of this pannel. The woman seems to rush into the experience, opening her thighs, while the man receives her with his erect knee in a clear sexual metaphor. What in other scope may be a simple image where two characters relax in a tub, in Liefeld’s hands becomes an erotic game, ambigous, with
several layers of meaning.

Mr Liefled plays with the approach, with the deliverate deceit, with the subtle metaphor that manifests his genious.

Progressive Boink’s critism has no substance or fundament. It’s based in personal opinion, pointing the deformity of the characters without going deeper into the authors proposal. I would assume that the same critics in front of a Greco painting would comment: "Oh, those characters are stretched".

 

 

(Be here next week for this:

33.jpg

)

D for Defense #35

(Previously on DfD…)

 

The prolific imagination of Rob Liefeld when creating new characters is only comparable to those of great creators like Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko. This is how he was capable of renewing the New Mutants villain rooster with an incredible ease, creating out of nothing a large series of very charismatic villains, so dificult to handle that later authors didn’t have any other option than relegating them to limbo when they saw themselves incapable of reaching Liefeld’s freshness in
development of new and attractive characters.

One of them was Forearm, an original villain also in the little game with his name, as his mutation consists in having four arms.

The boys at Progressive Boink say that Forearm has no depth or interest, but everyone knows that an artist is greater by what he shows between the lines than by what he tells directly. We know that a person with four arms is a freak, a deformed, imagine how harsh his childhood must have been, let’s not even consider his adolescence. This kind of marginalization can only lead to joining a mutant terrorist group. Forearm is just a victim of his circunstances, but Liefeld doesn’t explain in detail something that he knows should be clear for his watchfull followers when he can better serve us by focusing on the action.

Also in Progressive Boink they insist in looking for a logic in Forearm’s anatomy. As if people with for superior limbs were common in medicine or biology books. Liefeld represents the deformity in all
it’s rawness, transmitting the horror of living trapped in that body so far away from usual beauty cannons. Luckily nowadays Marvel writers have felt pity for Forearm and he has lost his mutation after M Day, giving him the oportunity of living a normal life at last.

(Be here next week for this:.

34.jpg

)

D for Defense #36

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.

Let’s start by saying that ROB! is, among other things, a Cool Hunter and a trend creator. His risky and innovative designs may scare those that prefer the old spandex look but ROB! has always been unique and managed to give his clothes a unique personal brand.
 

ROB! in this design conveys that this character is in fashion as he has carefully combines both colours and complements:

On one hand his red blazer (tipical of the time) combines with his gloves and, probably, with his boots. On the other hand, the marks on the jacket in a metalic grey tone is the same as the collar, arms and belt pocket in his leg.

We must admit that the character’s crotch is notably highlighted. But seeing Deadpool’s pose and seeing that he has a "light hand" (pun intended) we prefer to assume it’s just the heat of the moment and not an error of our defended.

 

(additional defense by Myca Vykos)

We all know that ROB! rules. That he is a fucking genious of the drawing pen is public domain. But what most of the populace may not know is that ROB! is one of the greatest fighters for freedom of speech and censorship in comic books.

ROB!’s ideas have always been clear. You can’t limit art. And the rigid Marvel was not the best place to express freely, that’s the main reason he funded Image (not like that greedy TODD!, we all know he did it exclusively for the dough). In Marvel ROB! wanted to make more adult stories but Bob Harras wouldn’t go with it. Time always puts everyone on it’s place and Bob ended up in Wildstorm, under JIM! Lee’s orders.

But during his ternure in Marvel ROB!, as any other GENIOUS, would still camouflage his art to draw whatever he wanted. And if he felt like drawing bizare sex, he would have it, independent of what his bosses wanted.

36.jpg

A superficial view of the image makes you think that Garrison Kane is a cyborg that has launched his left hand towards Deadpool’s neck. But that is not the case. If there’s something that ROB! masters it’s kinetic lines. Let’s clean the image and see where the hand comes and where is it heading.

 

Limpieza.JPG
There it is. The hand comes from the center top and goes to the center bottom. Think of where this hand has left and where it’s heading. How can a fist come from "there"? Of course. Haven’t you seen Kane’s scrotch? Why should there be any limits in cyborgs design? 

Yes, gentlemen. The dialogs may say whatever they want but this pannel shows clearly what the sexual practices between members of the Weapon-X Project are. Cyberfisting, gentlemen. Top this if you can.

(And for those wondering where Kane’s right hand is there is an easy answer: it’s taking a beer with his right foot)

 

(Be here next week for this:
35.jpg
)

D for Defense #37

(by Uriondo)
 

The image that we are sharing tonight is, like any other from this author, a composition prodigy that not always is valued like such by certain bigoted critics. "Why does Rob Liefeld think that guns should have two holes?" argue opponents of Rob!’s work. It’s very simple, smartass. Because it makes MORE sense!

I still remember, years ago, when it was mandatory the use of one rearview mirror in cars. The other one was optional. "Why the hell would anyone want a second one?" was the thought shared by all of us not touched by innovation.

Otto Octavius thought that two arms were not enought, and no one discussed Stan Lee’s mastery over anatomy. Of course he knew that normal people only have two arms. But extraordinary people have the right of choosing as many arms as they feel like.

In fact, unbelievers can now see how USA’s weapon industry has learnt Rob!’s lessons.

They also complaint against the yellow background and the ilumination. Why are these characters confronting their enemy with a yellow background and an intense zenithal light? And it’s here where we find the allegorical that puts Rob! above the average artists. The yellow colour simbolizes in english fear, while in spanish it’s more common to use it as a symbol of bad luck. The critics having underestimated Rob!’s talent only consider (if so) the first meaning while our artist focuses more on it’s second. Rob! is not afraid of bad luck and reminds us that he was brave enought to create his own company. If we counterpose this yellow background with the clear red present in the

clothes of the characters we find a dynamism very infrequent nowadays. It’s easy to enfatize a bright colour over black and white as  Frank Miller o Spielberg do. But doing it in the 90s? Boy, that wasn’t easy at all.

Last but not least, we must highlight the wordplay made by using our character’s names.

BloodShoot

DeathMate

YoungBlood

Blood4You

It’s here where Rob! shows his love for literacy. Not everyone would know how to make an alliteration like him. It reminds the refreshness of a fresh drink (blobloblo). It’s a young and vibrant sound to win over youth.

And with that I rinse my tears of admiration and say goodbye for today, friends of Rob!’s work.


(Be here next week for this:

)

D for Defense #38

Following the old Marvel tradition, the third comicbook the series that made ROB! the rockstar he is now would include the crossover of the Amazing Spiderman, with who X-Force would confront the terrible Juggernaut, one of the most powerfull mutant foe. How can we represent this menace, the power of a railway engine out of control, in just one image? It is not an easy task and only an artist of Rob Liefeld’s talent could sucessfully accomplish such a feat.

To do so he uses a dynamic composition, to make clear that the Juggernaut is unstopable, a force of nature. Most heroes become mere spectators of this show; the only one standing in his way, Shatterstar is passed over, not even giving him a chance to use his lethal swords. Juggernaut crosses through cover with dynamism. His right arm is used to highlight the comicbook’s title and to emphasize the colossus direction, if you follow it you can also see Cannonball, whose tiny size indicates his remoteness, not even him can reach the Juggernaut.

Also, to prevent the viewer to get distracted from what’s really important, Liefeld leaves out any kind of background or scenery, that get’s reduced to a boulder that serves as a pedestral for the terrible villain. But Liefeld does give us a few clues about the localization of the characters: the presence of the most newyorker of heroes and his pose, hanging from a tall building, reveal that the action takes place in New York. In his pedestral, the dust storm indicates that the Juggernaut’s run is size of a cattle stampede. Also, compositionally, it allows the inclusion of texts without hiding any of the characters.

No doubt this would be a sure buy for anyone who saw this atractive cover in his usual comicbook shop.

(Be here next week for this:

37.jpg
)

D for Defense #39

It is said by art scholars that the portrait is probably the most dificult task for an artist. Painting a still life or a landscape is reasonably easy, painting an everyday scene or one composed of several characters is something more dificult, but the portrait is the maximum expression for both the portrayed and the author as it equally reflects a lot from both of them. A lot has been written already and will still be written about this portrait:

 

una.jpg
 

The Gioconda, of Leonardo da Vinci, also know as the Mona Lisa (no doubt this was the typical nickname given during the Renaissance). In this painting everything has been analyzed, from the use of colours til the time of the day it was painted, but most especially there has been a lot of focus in the enigmatic smile. It’s never been completely certaint who was the portrayed (although the most extended thesis is that she would be Lisa Gerardhini) but it has never being important because a complete study of the painting can tell us everything we would want to know about her.

… Wait a minute… This is a comicbook blog, what are we talking about?

A little patience, I’ll get to the point in a minute.

During an artist’s life he can produce thousands of pages, hundreds of thousands of panels and huge ammounts of characters in all posible postures, and while in lots of panels the character may appear in a close shot or multiple splash pages it’s fairly uncommon to find him in a portrait that equals (if not surpasses) the previous example.

Yes, it’s ROB!

Look carefully at the ilustration and don’t get distracted by the inopportune lettering prevents us from comtemplating the image in all it’s glory. Because this isn’t the typical character reveal that the world of comics has gotten us used to. It’s an ilustration that combines the pictorial  and comic book tradition, adapting it to the awesome 90s.

In itself is more of a portrait in the classical term of the word. Liefeld‘s precedents are many other portraits featuring kings, noblemen or even intelectuals that inspire at the same time respect and fear. Focus on the dark face, in how he holds his helmet as if he were a warlord, in his weird pose halfway between upright and relaxed in his throne, well, more like his captain’s chair.

But before we continue let’s put the image in it’s context. We are talking about the closing image of the 100th issue of New Mutants, the comic that evolved through Liefeld’s art. Thanks to Rob the new alumns of Xavier’s School would mature under the leadership of Cable until they even emancipated from the bald guy to start their own X-Force corps. Strife would be one of the vilains to beat during this stage.

The same art schoolars that I mentioned at the begining of this text maybe would not completely understand this image, maybe they would even consider it ordinary or a bad executed portrait. But they don’t know what they are talking about. Liefeld is, over any other thing, a visionary and has updated the art of portraying adapting it to his own style, capturing completely the essence of Strife.

In first place, judging from the use of shadows if the light comes from the left of the character (as we can see from the colour) how do we know his face is darkened? Is it a bad use of lights and shadows? Nothing could be further from the truth. His darkened face reflects Strife’s soul. Liefeld is explaining to us that although he looks the same as Cable, as there are shadows on his face it means he is the bad guy. By the way, notice the detail of the right eye’s shape in the shadow.

In second place we should consider the lines. While some may argue that for a portrait they are not necessary, Liefeld uses them as they are one of his most particular traits. Lines = dynamism, and someone who is dynamic will maintain this characteristic while sitting or running.

In third place I would like to address the point of the open mouth. The brief explaination is that it’s a plot requirement. At that precise instant Strife is talking so it would be entirely justified that he had his mouth open. Nonetheless we all know what perfect teeth mean in ROB!’s methodology only we are not going to talk here about teeth but the mere mouth gesture indicating his authority.

In fourth place let’s focus on the left hand. Look at it it, can you see something weird? Exactly! The index finger is longer than any other one. The anatomic knowledge of our artist has always been doubted, critics talking that he put muscles where there weren’t any, that he didn’t draw any feet, that his knees weren’t realistic. Well, this example here shows an absolut knowledge about body part simbolism, directly inspired by palmistry and eastern iconography. The index finger is a simbol of authority and power, if it’s also long it represents ambition and pride.

My fifth point: the helmet. How does he hold the helmet with his hands in that position? Is it a fault or cunning trick of the artist? As I said before the portrait represents all that Strife is, not only it reflects his appearance but also his interior… and powers. What is Strife? A mutant! And which powers does he have? Among others Telekinesis! That is it! Strife is holding the helmet with his mind, the hands are just pure ornament.

And that’s why there are artists who are limited to sketching a few lines that just capture the physical aspect of the portrayed and then there is ROB! who manages to transmit, through a splash page, the appearance and personality of a villain. No one save ROB! has ever been able to include in a portrait so much simbolism since that multifaceted artist with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle name.


(Be here next week for this:

38.jpg
)
 

D for Defense #40

 
(by Eme A)

The daring and arrogant thinking entities from Progressive Boink acuse ROB! of not knowing how to draw women, they even suggest this may be as a consequence of not having seen one in his life. Ignorance is always bold

Our ROB! drawing aren’t showing women… Only SuperWomen. They are avatars of a Supreme Femenine Spirit. No heterosexual male (or homosexual female) could ever take their eyes off them. In summary and using words that even them will understand: these women are HOT

But bidimensional art representation has it’s limitations. Even ROB!, the greatest penciller in the last two centuries, feels uncapable of realistically representing the buxom babes that this story requires. Which is the solution that this great narrator finds? Subjetivity

In these images we see women though the eyes of an external observer, and not even him can stand the vision of such goddesses. He is feeling dizzy, he is having hallucinations, his brain can’t retain the image of perfection made flesh. ROB! doesn’t draw deformed women: he draws how the sight of the observer gets deformed by these women

This is the greatness of ROB!

(Be here next week for this one:

39.jpg
)

Three Amigos

FLASHBACK: Chris Claremont lleva quince años en Uncanny X-Men. Un joven JIM, recién llegado a la serie, quiere dirigir el rumbo de la nave. El editor de la serie, BOB, se apoya en él y lanza una nueva colección de X-Men desde el número 1. Chris Claremont abandona X-Men

 

xmen1lee.jpg
Intentad hacer esto en un iPad, so listos


FLASHBACK
: John Byrne, el sustituto de Claremont para escribir los diálogos de la serie (JIM se niega a escribirlos, lo que mola es inventar historias y dibujar, escribir todas esas palabras es aburrido) ha dimitido. BOB necesita un juntaletras, ¡y lo necesita en los próximos cinco minutos o su tebeo estrella saldrá con retraso! Afortunadamente, SCOTT pasa por ahí camino del baño y acepta el encargo

scott.jpg
Si no sabes cuál de los dos es SCOTT es que has entrado por Google buscando otra cosa


FLASHBACK
: JIM ha fundado su propia compañía. SCOTT por su parte se ha convertido en el autor estrella de la franquicia mutante, y cada vez escribe más series, incluyendo Generación-X, sobre superhéroes jovencitos. Sin relación con los dos hechos anteriores, las ventas se hunden estrepitosamente y BOB necesita sacarse un as de la manga para salir a flote: anuncia que cerrará todas las series que edita y las relanzará con un número 1 y cambios en la continuidad: es La Era de Apocalipsis

aoa.jpg
Mutantes morirán, mutantes vivirán y todo se recopilará en tapa dura naranja


FLASHBACK
: Marvel está en bancarrota.
BOB, al que el éxito de La Era ha llevado al puesto de editor en jefe de la compañía, es el encargado de ejecutar la jugada más arriesgada de la compañía en muchos años: cerrar las principales colecciones y relanzarlas desde el número 1 y cambios en la continuidad. Del relanzamiento se encarga JIM, sus pequeños Umpalumpas y un tal ROB! impuesto por los altos cargos que no interesa en esta historia porque poco después BOB echa a ROB! y le da todas las series a JIM. Para redondear la jugada, a SCOTT también le dejaran escribir algunos tebeos en ese invento

 

3amigos.jpg
¡Estábais deseando que pusiera esta foto! ¡Admitidlo!

FLASHBACK
:
SCOTT guioniza dos capítulos de un crossover WildCATs/X-Men (uno dibujado por JIM), lo que le sirve como tarjeta de presentación para plantarse en WildStorm, la compañía de JIM y empezar con una nueva colección de los WildCats desde el número 1. Ah, y también escribe Gen 13, una serie de superhéroes jovencitos

gen13.jpg
A los que no lo leísteis igual os cuesta creerlo, pero Gen 13 era esto

FLASHBACK
:
JIM está hasta el gorro de ser un hombre de negocios y le vende WildStorm a DC, asegurándose a cambio un puesto en la empresa madre. BOB, al que habían largado de Marvel, entra en WildStorm como editor
bharras.jpg
Si es que BOB es un tío simpático, que se hace querer


FLASHBACK
: La carrera de
JIM dentro de DC es fulgurante, y, a pesar del cierre de la ahora línea WildStorm, de la que era máximo responsable, llega al puesto de co-publisher (el otro co-publisher es Dan DiDio, conocido por tomar decisiones editoriales que conllevaban cambios en la continuidad del Universo DC). Con su ascenso necesita a un subalterno de confianza, y BOB, escapando al cierre de WildStorm, se convierte en editor en jefe de DC

 

jimlee.jpg
JIM conspirando para subir como la espuma. Solo le falta un gato para acariciar


FLASHBACK
: DiDio,
JIM y BOB anuncian que las series de DC serán relanzadas desde el número 1 y con cambios en la continuidad. Al anunciar los nuevos equipos creativos a nadie se le escapa la presencia en ellos de SCOTT, que se encargará de un equipo de superhéroes jovencitos. Jo, qué bonito todo. Que suene la música, por favor…