Robot 6

Blast from the past: An ad for Youngblood’s planned 1987 debut

youngblood-ad-cropped

Sean Howe, author of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, looks back to 1987 for a rare ad promoting what was supposed to be the first appearance of Youngblood, by a 19-year-old Rob Liefeld and Hank Kanalz. However, as Megaton Comics Publisher Carlson related on his blog, Megaton Special #1 Starring Youngblood received only about 1,200 orders — “the independent comic market was glutted back then,” he writes — and the issue was never printed.

Sad story, sure, but I hear Liefeld did pretty well for himself, and a slightly different version of Youngblood finally saw the light of day about five years later, as the first title published by Image Comics. Kanalz turned out OK, too, serving as the longtime general manager of WildStorm and, now, senior vice president of Vertigo and integrated publishing for DC Comics.

In a related posted, Howe also has a 1991 ad for Liefeld’s The Executioners — ““rebel mutants from the future come to destroy their past”” — accompanied by an excerpt from Marvel Comics: The Untold Story detailing how the House of Ideas threatened to sue … for pretty obvious reasons.

youngblood ad

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25 Comments

God. I vaguely remember seeing this. Wasn’t it in CBG or something? Maybe Amazing Heroes?

1987? I knew Liefeld had trouble meeting deadlines, but this is a stretch.

Jenos Idanian #13

October 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Look, Ma, no feet!

And that guy on the right has a costume lifted straight from a brief uniform for Timber Wolf of the Legion of Super-Heroes, designed by George Perez in 1982. Bottom row, third from right.

http://www.cosmicteams.com/legion/img/scans/lsh-perez+1680×1050.jpg

Several of the characters who showed up in Liefeld’s NEW MUTANTS run like Cable and some of the Mutant Liberation Front were originally intended for his YOUNGBLOOD series. The character on the right here — Cougar — was YOUNGBLOOD, then going to be in a pitch Liefeld had for a Teen Titans series, and almost appeared in his NEW MUTANTS run, before eventually debuting in YOUNGBLOOD #1.

Wow, compared to Liefeld’s later work, this is pretty tame.

Never saw this before, that’s pretty cool.

Brahma was also part of Liefeld and Valentino’s New Warriors/Young Avengers pitch

Liefeld also made Vogue and Photon (seen above) along with Die-Hard and Combat part of a Titans pitch

Y’know, I was right in the demographic for this, and a lot of the Image books, and I honestly never understood the appeal of Liefeld and his impossibly ugly character designs…

This is cool to see. I know people like to bash Liefeld with the same jokes over and over and over again (“look, no feet! ha ha!”), but the man has a place in comic history. I may not be a huge fan of his, but he obviously loves doing comics and seeing something like this is neat.

Ah! My Eyes – dude, put a shirt on! Eeesh!

I’d read a book featuring Timber Wolf, Wonder Woman, Colossus and Firestorm. It’d be interesting to see what brought them all together.

This was surprisingly the high point of Liefeld’s artistic career.

Why does everyone have the same facial features? Are they all related somehow?

I’ve got all the Megaton comics in one of my longboxes somewhere. Not necessarily a groundbreaking series, however it did feature some of the earliest artwork of Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen, Jackson “Butch” Guice and others who went on to make a big name for themselves in the comics industry. It’s fun looking through those old issues.

More Liefeld-awfulness? Ugh…

Compared to later work, that piece of his art actually rates as okay.

I’m amazed that 4 years before he launched Youngblood, his art was better than anything he did in New Mutants, Youngblood and everything since.

Crazy.

Rob’s art has actually gotten worse over time.

Rob might have been given a pass as a “nostalgic artist with his own quirky style”, but after all of the false starts, artistic swipes, hiatuses and empty promises of comics never delivered, not even nostalgia for Youngblood, X-Force and New Mutants can help him now.

Wasn’t Karl Kesel the on who said that Liefeld was a talented young man whose artistic development was truncated due to having massive success at too young an age? If this stuff was drawn when he was 19, I can totally see that.

Flat tops. Flat tops everywhere…

I wish my artistic growth had been that truncated. Man, that Image era was insane. I got to hand it to him for that success.

crap and years on still crap. he even asked his girl friend to marry him in his crap artwork f***in sad

Jeez you jerks he was 19, living the dream.

Go be ugly elsewhere.

For a 19 year old, this is amazing work. Ok, same old made-up Liefeld anatomy for sure, but what would you expect from a 19 year old? The faces and proportions are better here than his later work and he’s definitely demonstrating a good sense of foreground, middle ground, background with his characters… I’m a high school art teacher and honestly, if a 19 year old ex-student of mine brought this to me and said “Hey, look what I drew!!” I’d be blown away.

Unfortunately, he only slightly evolved his style from this initial set of formulas. He peaked with X-force, I’d say and then immediately headed down hill. Still. This early piece is great. And with those haircuts? An amazing time capsule.

Another swipe!

And not the first time he swiped the original shot.

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