Has everyone else fucking had it with Rob Liefeld?
Liefeld's Awesome Entertainment has solicited its latest Youngblood project in this month's Previews, Youngblood: Genesis. Written by fan favorite and Eisner award winning scribe Kurt Busiek. Something to follow up the success of Alan Moore's Supreme work?
Youngblood: Genesis had its origins years ago, when Busiek (fresh off the success of Marvels) was hired to write a "Year One" story for Liefeld's supergroup. Busiek completed three issues of plot for the four issue series, which never saw the light of day because no art had been produced. Awesome has approached Busiek over the years to complete the assignment, which Kurt has turned down due to heavy workload.
But you'd never know that from reading the solicitation for issue #1, which credits Busiek as the sole writer of the project.
This is an incredibly misleading solicitation. Parts of the book will have to be re-plotted, since Jim Lee owns some of the characters that were originally going to be used in the series; the fourth book has never been plotted by anyone; and Busiek isn't scripting his own work here. It's not even a collaborative effort (like Busiek has used on some past Marvel projects and the upcoming Defenders series)-it's a new, unnamed scripter getting an art from an unnamed artist and being asked to fill in the blanks.
Busiek has publicly denounced this solicitation, disavowed any involvement with the project as it now stands, and has even promised to never work with Rob Liefeld again. Ever. The only other time I've seen Kurt make this vow is when another company apparently didn't pay him for some work that he did and that they used.
And the misleading solicitation isn't even necessarily a conspiracy on the part of Awesome to conceal who is going to script the project. No, by Liefeld's own admission, they can't list the scripter in the solicitation due to the fact that they haven't even selected a scripter (who would also doubtless be the sole writer for the fourth issue Busiek never even plotted) because they don't have any artwork in hand yet.
Given Rob's track record for delivering solicited comics in a timely manner, does anyone out there think that this book will be in stores in November given that they don't have artwork for the issue in hand yet?
Never mind the gross irresponsibility of making this look like a Busiek written project, think about it: a company that seemingly never ships on time is soliciting a book of which only the plot is complete.
I've fucking had enough. And I hope everyone else out there has too. Liefeld needs to be told that the comic community is not going to stand for these kinds of shenanigans anymore. And the major companies like Marvel that still hire him to produce work need to be sent this message too.
From this day forward, I am boycotting Rob Liefeld's work. Not just things he writes or draws, but anything he or Awesome, his company, has a hand in. Because it's not just about bad art or bad writing or allegedly tracing poses or anything else anyone has thrown at Rob as a criticism online and in print over the years.
It's because he's bad for comics. Now it is certainly subjective as to whether or not he (or anyone, really) is a bad creator; but its seems pretty clear cut that he's a bad businessman, and is not acting in the best interests of his company, creators, or even the medium as a whole.
Which is a shame, because I do think Rob genuinely loves the medium. But he needs to understand that he is doing more harm than good. And the only way to get him off the stage is to vote with your wallet.
And I didn't just write this column to announce how I am voting with my wallet. No. This is no longer just about voting with my wallet, it's about getting other people to vote with their wallets too.
I urge everyone to print this column off and make sure that your retailer is aware of the misleading solicitation for Youngblood: Genesis. If they don't believe me or have never heard of SAVANT, visit the Fandom website to read Busiek's press release on the subject. Do this so that they can adjust their orders appropriately because this is NOT a Busiek project.
Then, try and find some of these people that are apparently still buying Liefeld's books. I know they are out there because Cable's sales spiked last year when Rob rejoined it for a few issues. Find out exactly why they are doing this and then, talk them out of it. Believe me, if every one of SAVANT's readers change one person's buying habits, it will dramatically impact the big companies opinion of Liefeld's ability to generate sales. Bonus points if anyone convinces a retailer to adjust their orders downward whenever Liefeld does work for hire.
I don't make this plea lightly. It is another man's livelihood. But I also can't understand why Rob is still in business, frankly. He seems to have made enough mistakes and burned enough bridges to last a lifetime, and I don't believe he is that much older than I am.
And this industry is in too much trouble to have these kind of mistakes and burned bridges around us. We have to attack what's wrong in the business to help turn it around, and Awesome's actions, ranging from producing late books to running misleading solicitations, are bad business.
It's time we started doing something about it.
the ideas expressed by the writers of savant do not necessarily reflect those of the editors, or anyone else for that matter.
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