Robot 6

Quote of the day | Rob Liefeld on how to beat the ‘haters’

Hawk and Dove #1

“Yep, sometimes it gets personal. Case in point–the new Hawk and Dove launched a month back and to put it bluntly, it was the single worst reviewed comic book of my career. Think about that for a minute. The blogosphere came out with knives sharpened, grilling me on a spicket. This is one short month after The Infinite, a book I produce with Robert Kirkman had debuted to the best reviews of my career. What happened?? Well, I read a few of the reviews, the really hateful one’s and they were full of personal attacks and insults. Many, if not all, believed that Hawk and Dove was the first work I had done in over a decade and asked how I could still possibly be employed after all these years? I was drawing the third issue of a sold out comic book featuring characters that had not carried their own title in 20 years, do I let these attacks get to me? Sorry, I have no time and I have deadlines to meet, and arguing with any of these bloggers would accomplish nothing. DO NOT EVER send a negative comment or engage a negative review, its pointless and takes up valuable time. I advocate moving forward and servicing your fan base. Hawk and Dove has sold 50,000 copies to date, twice as much as my last Deadpool assignment. I should focus on the fans that enjoyed the work, not the dissenters who want to distract from it.”

The oft-maligned artist Rob Liefeld, from a post on his blog titled “How To Beat The Haters.” The thorough post covers his thoughts on his early career, the birth of Image, Heroes Reborn, his three-year “retirement” from comics, reacting to message boards and much more.

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45 Comments

preach it, Rob. I haven’t been the biggest fan of his, but his style IS likeable and he has always had a good attitude. he’s a guy who just loves doing comics, and that’t what’s really great about him and his standing in the industry. there are writers and artists who can’t handle any judgment about their work, and then there’s Rob who is easily the most picked on guy in comics and I’ve really not seen it get him down. and for the record, i liked Hawk and Dove an I’m excited to see what he and gates have planned going forward.

You mean there actually ARE people who liked Hawk and Dove?

A fan base consisting of people who hate feet but love lots of teeth and large chests.

i’m not a fan of his work but i have to take my hat off and give the guy credit; he clearly loves comics and is pretty much the most enthusiastic guy in the medium and has been for about 20 years. like i said, i’m not a fan so i won’t be buying hawk and dove but i also don’t plan on anonymously attacking the guy via the internet. i’ve always just felt that if you don’t like someone’s work, just don’t buy it. it’s that simple. there’s no need to be a dick about it.

and what were he 2 single biggest selling issues of an Titans title since Perez left and before the relaunch??

Rob’s

Haters gonna hate. I’m really not a fan of Liefelds work, but I love him for being such a super cool guy.

“grilling me on a spicket. ”

huh wha?

Agreed with the rest of the commenters — I don’t like Rob’s work but this is great advice.

Course, it IS possible to respond positively to constructive criticism, and to engage in a spirited debate with critics, but that’s not the same thing as arguing with people who just hate your work outright (and haven’t done their homework on your career history).

As other’s have said, I’m not a fan of his art style, but I’m a huge fan of the guy. He’s been one of the biggest cheerleaders for comics for years. Even now, despite the ups and downs of his career, he’s still a huge fan of the medium. And there are plenty of people who love his art, so I’m glad he’s out there making it for them and enjoying comic books.

Kudos to Rob! I wonder if Jack Kirby’s style would get rave reviews if the internet were around when he was drawing. I bet not! Kirby was great because of his ideas and designs. His drawings were not the best, however, but I still love some Kirby Krackle. Rob L. has ideas in spades.

I hate his work and I’m guilty of my share of internet negativism but I have to agree with him. The only person who “wins” a fight on the internet is the first person to log off and go find something better to do. Fighting haters is useless, you can only ignore them and continue doing whatever it is that you’re doing.

Seeing this and also Grant Morrison’s published comments on his disdain for internet trolls makes me realize something: Every time someone writes a review in the hopes of it making people aware or improving the overall landscape or making “creators finally listen to us!” like some sort of Spartacus-lead advocacy crusade, they’re really just annoying the hell out of someone who will dismiss them. We’re actually better off NOT bitching and moaning and just voting with our dollars, something I’ve suspected for a long, long time. That seems to be the language that speaks most eloquently to publishers and creators alike.

The last time I paid money for a comic drawn by Liefeld was when he was drawing New Mutants, before it became X-Force and I haven’t paid much attention to it since (having sat out the entire Image launch back when). And while I didn’t much care for his stuff back then and still don’t, I’ve never really understood the rabid delight some people seem to take in going after him. It’s clearly beyond the work and into the realm of the personal. It’s always seemed rather silly and a waste of energy and personal karma. So, on the one hand, he’s absolutely right in what he says about ignoring with the attacks. On the other hand, however, by saying anything at all, esp. publicly stating his refusal to engage them, he’s only going to rile them up even more and set off even more froth-filled attacks by people angry he won’t meet their rage head on.

A fact of which, I’m sure, he’s fully aware.

You know, I’d appreciate his comments on ignoring the haters if ever stopped to pay any attention to criticism. His rabid fanbase often bitches about people slamming his “artwork” instead of offering helpful advice, yet when truly helpful advice is sincerely offered, Rob dismisses it with a standard response of how much money books he drew brought in. He refuses to improve his work in any way, he has an enormous ego via his online personality, and his artwork is the most aesthetically offensive thing in comics. If airing these complaints is considered *hating* then I unabashedly will wear the label of *Hater*.

On an interesting side note, one might pay attention to the frequency of celebrity usage of the term “hater” in comparison to that celebrity’s lack of talent. Fred Durst, Vanilla Ice, and Jamie Kennedy are all fans of using the Hater Defense to deflect on-the-mark criticism.

Comparing Liefeld to Kirby is the most ludicrous thing I have ever seen in a comments section. Ever. It”s just WRONG.

I’m glad Rob is taking this criticism in stride. I hope that he doesn’t just ignore it and uses it to improve on his talents.

Rob’s Image days have a special place in my heart because that is when I really got into comics, but I have to say that I bought the 1st issue and thought it was beyond terrible. First time I can remember feeling like I had wasted money on a comic. It seems like most of the hate was directed at Rob, but lets be honest, it wasn’t all his fault…

There is undeniably something appealing about Liefeld’s work, and I’m pretty picky. Give me beautiful, detailed DC Silver Age art by Infantino, Kane, Heath, Kubert and Anderson or the stylings of Kirby and Ditko and Steranko from Marvel Comics of the same era any day over Rob’s.
But there’s something – an energy, an excitement – about what Liefeld puts on the page. I wouldn’t want all my books filled with it, but one or two projects is a nice contrast. It’s something different.
I’ve been on the fence about Hawk and Dove mainly over the storyline, which I think could be stronger. But I’m thinking about staying with the book in part because of Liefeld’s art and in part because I want to support the title and see it succeed to spite the “haters.”

Good for you, Rob! Remember, all those haters out there don’t have the talent you do and you actually made it! You got to make Comic Books into a life-long career!

You genuinely love comics, unlike a lot of comic buyers, and just keep going. You don’t have to be the best artist on earth, your enthusiasm is FUN.

Read the whole thing and I feel that Rob relies too heavily on “well the books sell a lot, so there” defense.

That said, I think he gets an unfair rap. His drawing style is pure id. Not overthought, lots of creativity and energy. Even if you don’t like the results, you can’t really hate on the intention behind them.

One thing I will criticize him on: He needs to learn how to properly use apostrophes.

There are worse artists than Liefeld… like me.

HOWEVER, you have to love this guy, and if a writer is really really good, like Sterling Gates, he will write within his penciller’s limitations, and there should be no problems with the issue.

Hawk and Dove was a decent book, BUT I will say that Liefeld’s art distracted me more in Infinite #1. 4 characters arguing on a balcony, all wearing identical clothes, identifies by the color of their polo…

What do you expect when you hire a guy that has to spit out 3 comics a month, plus covers?

I’m not a big fan of his artwork (though to me, the Jim Lee clones are worse and there’s plenty of them at DC!) but what’s much more aggravating are the Rob Liefeld haters. There are 51 other comics you could buy, just from DC alone. Get over it. Move on.

I’d say, quality-wise, he’s nowhere near the worst artist of the New 52. DC really need to expand and diversify their artistic talent; Marvel have a much better range of artists on their books. As do Image and Dark Horse.

I can take or leave his artwork most of the time, but like a lot of others, I’ve really grown to have to respect the guy. His attitude and level of maturity has gotten better and better over the years. Especially considering all the negativity toward his work.

Go Rob. :)

Not a hater. I just don’t care. I’ll never read a Rob Liefeld comic, just like I’ll never see a Uwe Boll movie or read a book by Glenn Beck or anyone on Fox News, or do any number of things.

I have seen enough of all of these things to know what I’m going to get from whatever comes next and I know I won’t like it.

Mediocrity, and pandering have an audience.

It ain’t me.

Yeah…. I believe its “grilled on a spigot” right?

What’s Rob supposed to do exactly? Accept all the posts from people saying they hate his work and stop drawing anything? Would you?

@Paul Allen

“Read the whole thing and I feel that Rob relies too heavily on “well the books sell a lot, so there” defense.”

Yeah, but so what? He’s not really making a creative/talent argument . His point seems to be that comics are (A) a business and the goal of business is to sell product and (B) made for people to read and enjoy, and a lot of people like to read and enjoy his work, so all the people who scream that he he’s so awful he shouldn’t even be allowed to make comics don’t know what they’re talking about. Just because they don’t like his work doesn’t mean that (A) he doesn’t know what he’s doing or (B) that other people who do like it shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy it in peace.

From where I sit it’s a pretty valid argument, like his work or not.

Yeah, colour me one who a) doesn’t like RL’s work, and b) thinks he has an overinflated opinion of himself.

That said, I don’t have any problem with him doing Hawk and Dove. I’m not reading it.

As long as his work doesn’t spill into the books I enjoy, he can draw as few feet as he wants. :-)

Besides, I know what the ultimate punishment would be… Rob Drawing a PAD book. I’ll leave it as a debate point on who would be punished more.

The best way for a comics artist to discourage hateful criticism is to learn how to draw and learn how to tell stories.

Take a few drawing classes, Rob. Learn how to draw more than one facial expression. Learn how to tell stories by studying work by Kirby, Kubert, Swan, Ditko, and both Buscemas.

“and what were he 2 single biggest selling issues of an Titans title since Perez left and before the relaunch??

Rob’s”

Not actually true.

“Comparing Liefeld to Kirby is the most ludicrous thing I have ever seen in a comments section. Ever. It”s just WRONG.”

While I agree with I’m sure most 10 year olds would prefer Liefeld.

I guarantee you can find people in the world who think Kirby, Kubert, Swan, Ditko, and both Buscemas suck ass.

Should they quit?

I’m a huge fan of all the guys named above. But I know a ton of younger and older readers who aren’t.

I have to admit, I’m very neutral on the subject of Rob Liefeld as an artist. I actually don’t care. Last year, while going through the clearance section of comics at Half Price Books, you know what two of the comics I bought were? New Mutants #87 and Youngblood #0 and 1. Why? Because they’re milestones, both to Liefeld’s career and comic history. Without New Mutants #87, we wouldn’t have Cable, who introduced the concept of the early 90’s antihero. Without Youngblood #0 and 1, we wouldn’t have Image Comics.

@Shane – Yeah, Rob likes to throw that faux-info around a LOT, as do his fanbase. But, the actual figures tell a different story.

@Ian – I believe you.

Here’s a funny story. I have a pal who is a high school English teacher. After much effort, he finally got his employers to OK an elective class on comic book literature. While using McCloud’s Understanding Comics, a page was reached by the class depicting different styles of comic art accompanied by stylistic theme breakdowns. McCloud postulated that Liefeld’s scratchy kinetic style appealed to the adolescent mind. Before any text was read aloud, a very vocal 15-year-old student with little previous exposure to comic books in general suddenly and loudly announced that his favorite image on the page was the one at the bottom. Of course, it was the Liefeld image supplied for McCloud’s example.

As humorous and indicative as that incident may have been, I have not been a 15-year-old in a very long time.

I’m not a fan of Rob Liefeld’s art by any means, but it’s not his art that makes Hawk & Dove suck. It’s Sterling Gates’s horrible writing and story.

“DO NOT EVER send a negative comment or engage a negative review, its pointless and takes up valuable time.”

Say what you will about Rob’s art, but what he says above is valuable advice that ALL creatives (writers, pencillers) should heed. Someone who comments on a negative review of their work pretty much always ends up looking like a dick, because what they’re doing is basically yelling “YOUR OPINION IS WRONG!” at someone. About the only time it’s acceptable is if they’re simply correcting a factual error (say, “You said I set this in China in the ’70s, it’s actually Singapore in the ’90s”), but even then they can still look like a dick.

The more people that follow Rob’s example here, the better.

It is rare that I can look at Liefeld art without being horrified (it’s not just the insane body anatomy; I hate the way he draws faces- so ugly). But I do appreciate that Rob apparently resists the urge to fight with readers/reviewers on Internet message boards/blogs, unlike certain other creators/editors who end up looking like whiny baby jerks.

How is comparing Liefeld to Kirby the most ludicrous thing in a comments section? Like I stated: “I wonder if Jack Kirby’s style would get rave reviews if the internet were around when he was drawing. I bet not! ” One of the reasons OMAC is the worst selling book of DC’s 52 is because it apes Kirby’s style. Much like Liefield, Kirby is an acquired taste. Kirby lovers don’t ever want to admit that.

On the other hand, this attitude DOES explain why he never improves his skills at all:

Art Teacher: “Robby, your picture is very good but you forgot to draw the feet again.”
Rob Liefeld: “That’s a negative critique! I have no time for you!”

I’m a Liefeld fan, and I love his attitude. He’s secure in who he is, and it’s hard to argue with his success. So he’s not the best artist working in comics. Whatever. Who ever said a comic book had to be photo-realistic, or even proportional for that matter?

I love how these anonymous idiots on the Internet, 95% of whom will never be as successful as Liefeld, think they know how to run a comic book company. There are 52 books, people. You’re seriously trying to tell me there’s NO ROOM for Liefeld? He and Gates are making an action-packed, old school book that’s actually FUN TO READ. And the first issue sold out. Liefeld and Gates 1, Haters 0. Not everything has to be Justice League.

Mudassir Chapra

October 8, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Ah, the Myth of Internet Hate, where all criticisms are brushed aside as “Haters gonna hate.”

If selling 50000 copies makes his crimes against human anatomy disappear, then that oft-cited and much-ridiculed Captain America image is the best drawing ever. I did not read Hawk & Dove, maybe it is as good as hater haters(wait, does that make you a hater?) say. But the cover tells me enough of about the quality of art I’ll get.

@CSB:
Sadly, that is exactly the response of an insecure person. Maybe the rest of the post paints a better picture, but this is exactly in line with his sad twitter feed.

And I don’t know who said that comic book art need to be proportional, but I also don’t know who said we should have clean water.

Getting grilled on a “spicket” doesn’t sound like fun….But, “servicing your fanbase” sounds kinda nasty. I think he meant “serving”.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

October 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Much like Liefield, Kirby is an acquired taste. Kirby lovers don’t ever want to admit that.

Maybe these days, but in the 50’s and 60’s, and even into the 70’s, Kirby was the very definition of the main stream – he was no.1.

Fifty years on Kirby might be an acquired taste, but that’s like saying Hitchcock’s an acquired taste, when both were the no.1 guy in their fields for a few decades, and a whole lot of what is popular now springs from what they did.

Kind of a hypocrite if you follow his twitter. He often debates negative comments and then in an ego fueled rage list 30 comments from his “adoring fan base” saying whatever he wants to hear and uses them and his “my books made money” to finish it. Art style aside, he comes off as a huge egomaniac.

I love some of his work and some I avoid, so I guess I fall in between.

“The book sold out.”

Of course it sold out – it was one of the #1’s from the New 52. Everything sold out. By the time #4 hits, this thing’ll be at the bottom of the charts.

If Rob’s two issues were the best selling of the last Teen Titans series… that’s pretty sad. That was what officially got me off that boat. It kind of was offending to me as a reader that he couldn’t even keep the characters on model – has Tim Drake ever worn the costume he had there anywhere else? It killed the momentum the series had, which One Year Later seemed to kill even more.

That said – there’s a lot of Rob’s stuff I have liked. His New Mutants and X-Force, Youngblood, definitely. I think it’s fantastic that he’s committing to books like Hawk & Dove and he seems to be enjoying himself. He’s a guy who seems to love doing comics, and I think none of us can fault him for that. Sure – sometimes his excitement leads him to soliciting books and not finishing others, so his output was shoddy for a bit, but if he can stay focused on whatever he’s on now, then great. And if we don’t want to read it, we don’t have to. The Infinite didn’t really work for me – it’s not a Rob-hate thing but a budget deal – but that’s fine, right. I like Hawk & Dove, and I’m curious about it, so I’ll buy it. That’s my right, and everyone else’s right. If you hate him, don’t buy it, and eventually they’ll boot him off if it’s that bad.

Hey, Jeff Frost. No less an authority than Mark Millar compared Rob Liefeld to Jack Kirby. Saying exactly what Rob T said. The same criticisms leveled at Rob Liefeld today were leveled at Kirby in the 70’s when everyone wanted Neal Adams realism…that he was too cartoony and not realistic. BTW, I am 32 year old life long comics fan and I enjoy Rob Liefeld’s art. There are certainly worse artists working in comics…every bland and generic artist that you don’t pay attention to gets a pass. But Rob Liefeld has a recognizable style, and was a superstar of the 90’s, and seems to have a target painted on his back because of it.

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