Thursday, January 26, 2012


I used to go to the comic store every Wednesday, since that is when new issues are delivered. I can't say how much I used to spend on comics per month, but as the prices on the cover went up and the quality in the interiors went down, I started to buy less and less until I all but stopped going. I still make the occasional visit to the comic shop, but usually now only when there is a specific book I want to buy, usually some B.P.R.D. title, since those are really the only things I read any more, but I'll sometimes pick up some other books that look interesting, fun, or exciting.

So when I was at my local shop yesterday and noticed that Rob Liefeld has a new comic out, I picked it up. I'm not bragging... I just couldn't resist. I didn't necessarilly buy it because I thought it would be good, but maybe because I hoped it might be cool. Or maybe I just wondered how bad could it be? The answer is... It's as bad as any Rob Liefeld comic has ever been.

If you've didn't grow up reading comics in the mid 90s, you might not get the whole concept of Rob Liefeld, or even of Image Comics as a whole, the company he founded in order to spread his unholy influence across the entire industry. Liefed was basically the comic book artist equivalent of a Britney Spears: That is to say, it's all flash with no substance, giving you something superficially nice to look at at first glance, but completely falls apart when you really delve in and start to look at things closely. Spears had a few god hooks and a nice body, so you could overlook the fact that her voice was insipid and grating. Liefeld drew big guns and big muscles, so you could overlook the fact that all of his characters stood in the same poses and had no hands or feet. The guy had talent, of course, just as Spears did, but most of it was potential that was never realized to any true degree. He boasted often about how he was self-taught and needed no further education or editorial guidance, so when he became too famous too quickly for his own good, his star eclipsed and his celebrity faded until he became mostly remembered as a joke.

But I always liked the guy's art, even though I always knew it was pretty terrible. Let me put it in this way: Roadhouse is no Citizen Kane, but I enjoy both and I'll watch either one whenever they come on TV. Entertainment is entertainment, and I'll freely admit I get a marginal amount of things that probably don't deserve my attention. Welcome to society. 

So I bought Infinite #1 because I kind of like Liefeld's art and out of a sense of nostalgia because his work always brings me back to my childhood (or, at least, my teenhood) when things were simpler and comics were still larger than life and exciting. I also pick up the occasional Liefeld book every few years to see if he has finally become the great artist that he is capable of becoming (with some hard work, a critical look at his flaws, and dedication to improving). So far... no deal. But he still draws characters with big guns and big muscles, so the teen version of myself is mostly happy.

Infinite is your typical Image comic book, since the art is mostly based on pin ups, with any expository scenes being awkward and seeming rushed, as though they are just stick figured in front of a minimal (or often nonexistent) background. I mean, seriously, look at this panel and try to tell me it isn't the worst thing you've ever seen:

So, no, he hasn't gotten any better, but shame on me for thinking he ever would. He's not helped much by the story, which was written by Robert Kirkman and was every bit as appalling as the art. Robert Kirkman, of course, is the celebrated writer of The Walking Dead fame, who's inexplicable success is due to being the first person to rip-off George Romero in the world of comics instead of just in the world of film. He's also written a bunch of other comics that have sold well, but I couldn't tell you why because they're terrible. He has an editorial at the end of this comic where he talks about how his lifelong dream has been to work with Rob Liefeld, which may be hype, but judging from the quality of his writing and immaturity of his plots, it's probably true. Then again, if Liefeld called me up and asked me to write for him, I'd say... sure! Then again, I'm not as rich and successful as Robert Kirkman.

The story is about... I dunno. Some badguy in the future used time travel to take over the world, so some resistance fighter goes back in time and teams up with his past self in order to take down this villain before he takes over the world. Does that sound awesome or incredibly dumb? The 15 year old me might've thought it was awesome, but the 34 year old me thinks it's incredibly dumb. Incredibly dumb can still be fun, of course, if it's pulled off well or shows some spark of originality, creativity, or wit. Infinite has none of that. It's just a dumb concept that is poorly written and terribly drawn.

So it's a great Image Comic! Check it out if any of that sounds the least bit appealing. I have no regrets about picking it up since it was absolutely what I expected, and now I don't have to buy another Liefeld comic for at least another five years.

UPDATE: In the grand tradition of Image Comics, Infinite has already been cancelled. Read all about it here.


Justin Garrett Blum said...

I love that it has been cancelled already. Poor Rob--can't even get the benefit of the doubt at the company he created.

I think Liefeld has actually gotten worse over the years. Or maybe I've just gotten older. But seriously...where's that dude's butt on the cover?

Justin Garrett Blum said...

Okay, I just read that article you linked. That's even more bizarre! The guy Liefeld was getting to ink his art was a hundred times better than Liefeld! Why would Kirkman get upset about that?

Donald said...

On the one hand, I can understand why Kirkman got pissed, since Liefeld was probably making a lot of money off this comic for basically doodling on a piece of paper and having somebody make actual pages out of them.

But on the other hand, what did he expect from Rob Liefeld? Professionalism and integrity?

Donald said...

But, yeah, whoever inked that page is WAY better than Liefeld. That's not a bad looking page. If there's anything wrong with it, it's because of Liefeld's bland layouts.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

I guess it depends. If Liefeld was getting credit for finished art, then he's a shit. If he was only taking credit for layouts, then whatever.

Reading Rob Liefeld's comments as reproduced in that article was pretty hilarious. The guy really sounds like a douche either way.

Mugato said...

That brings back some memories. Trips to the local comic store to waste my paper route money on Pitt and The Maxx comics.