ROB LIEFELD

SFX - - Heroes & Inspirations -

H

e’s had a hand in cre­at­ing X-Men uni­verse stal­warts Ca­ble and Domino, is the brains be­hind su­per­hero team Young­blood, and is one of the founders of Im­age Comics, whose ground­break­ing busi­ness model al­lows cre­ators to main­tain the rights to their work. But writer/artist Rob Liefeld is ar­guably most syn­ony­mous with Mar­vel’s iconic Merc With A Mouth, Dead­pool.

Fa­mously out­spo­ken, when we sit down to talk Heroes & In­spi­ra­tions he’s like a sin­gu­lar­ity of unbridled en­thu­si­asm, riff­ing on his favourite movies, TV shows and comics – oc­ca­sion­ally punc­tu­at­ing the con­ver­sa­tion with a care­fully placed sound ef­fect to il­lus­trate a point. But it’s clear where his heart re­ally lies. “Comic books are al­ways my pref­er­ence,” he laughs. “Even the best movie isn’t bet­ter than the best comic book, in my opin­ion.”NAMOR THE SUB-MARINER

My dad would take me to the bar­ber shop and at that point, prob­a­bly aged seven, I was read­ing Har­vey comics like Casper and Richie Rich. But this guy had Mar­vel comics, so he was cool. My very first Mar­vel comic I be­lieve was Fan­tas­tic Four, and it had Namor, the Sub-Mariner, burst­ing out of the ocean on the cover. Namor was my ab­so­lute favourite. This guy was like Wolver­ine be­fore Wolver­ine – he was an­gry, he was kick­ing ass. That lit­er­ally gave me the Mar­vel Comics bug, and from there I was sunk.

THE LE­GION OF SU­PER­HEROES

I al­ways liked the guys who weren’t the stars – like The Le­gion Of Su­per­heroes. They are not cur­rently even be­ing pub­lished, but, they’re one of DC’s best comics. Tim­ber Wolf, Light­ning Lad, Saturn Girl... you say those to some­body, they don’t know who they are, be­cause they haven’t had a movie or TV show, aside from a car­toon that ran for one sea­son a cou­ple of years back. But I thought they were the great­est-look­ing, with the cos­tume de­signs by Dave Cock­rum and Mike Grell… I also liked Moon Knight, and Wolver­ine be­fore he be­came the most pop­u­lar thing ev­ery­where. I was clearly at­tracted to the rogue char­ac­ters. The do-good­ers were not as in­trigu­ing!

HOW TO DRAW COMICS THE MAR­VEL WAY

I bought the book How To Draw Comics The Mar­vel Way, and af­ter that you un­der­stood that there was a way to do a Mar­vel comic. Mar­vel comics had more edge, more mus­cle, more en­ergy. I think I’ve put that in my my work all these years. How To Draw Comics The Mar­vel Way was Mar­vel’s bi­ble, and [artist] John Buscema has a page where he ex­plains, “Here’s a reg­u­lar per­son and here’s a Mar­vel su­per”. The reg­u­lar guy has a good physique, could be an ath­lete in any sport. But then Cap­tain Amer­ica is stand­ing next to him, and he’s clearly mod­i­fied – big­ger, stronger, more, y’know,

Tak­ing in Namor and Wes­teros via a stop-off in a galaxy far, far away, the Dead­pool cre­ator tells Richard Ed­wards about his big genre loves and in­flu­ences

awe­some. I just took that and said, “That’s how I want my stuff to look!”

WRITER/ARTISTS

I mod­elled what I wanted to do af­ter the pop­u­lar writer/artists. When Frank Miller took over Dare­devil it got bet­ter. When Walt Si­mon­son took over Thor it got bet­ter. When John Byrne took over Fan­tas­tic Four it got bet­ter. They con­trolled the im­agery. When you write you are cre­at­ing the pac­ing; ev­ery page turn is some­thing that you dic­tate, so that’s what I set out to do. You’ve got to con­trol the page turns, the lay­out, the de­sign, all of it. At some point if you’re not in con­trol of the writ­ing you’re los­ing half of the bat­tle, you’re not con­nect­ing as much as you could.

STAR WARS

I saw it 32 times in 1977. Ev­ery Satur­day and Sun­day my mom and dad would drop me off

I was clearly at­tracted to rogue char­ac­ters. The do-good­ers weren’t as in­trigu­ing!

and we would see two show­ings, and that lasted for two months. With my friends, we’d agree to watch a dif­fer­ent seg­ment of the film at a given time – it would be like, “Okay ev­ery­body look to the right of the Cantina so we can see all the char­ac­ters…” You didn’t have a VCR, so if you were go­ing to see some­thing you were go­ing to see it then and then only.

Peo­ple for­get how revo­lu­tion­ary it was. I tell peo­ple to go back and watch Lo­gan’s Run, which was out one year be­fore. When Lo­gan and Fran­cis shoot their guns, the gun flares and then a squib on the wall ex­plodes. There was no laser like in Star Trek and it looked kind of cheesy. Then in one year it took such a leap, it was like I’d seen the fu­ture. The movie was ahead of its time in ev­ery pos­si­ble way.

THE SIX MIL­LION DOL­LAR MAN AND THE BIONIC WO­MAN

I loved Star Trek with Shat­ner and the orig­i­nal Bat­tlestar Galac­tica – they were ap­point­ment tele­vi­sion for me as a kid, and I still think they’re bet­ter than most of the stuff that’s out to­day. But for ac­tion and imag­i­na­tion in the late ’70s, The Six Mil­lion Dol­lar Man and The Bionic Wo­man were top. They crossed over their worlds, they cre­ated char­ac­ters that you loved, you loved OSI that they worked for, and then you had an army of fem­bots! And when they teamed up to bat­tle Sasquatch it was the most ex­cit­ing part of my child­hood. They were like re­ally great su­per­hero ac­tion movies.

GAME OF THRONES

I watch a lot of long-form tele­vi­sion. Ron­ald D Moore’s Bat­tlestar Galac­tica is still un­der­her­alded as one of the best shows that was ever on TV, and I’m con­sumed with Game Of Thrones like ev­ery­body. I think it cer­tainly hurt the per­cep­tion of the

Hobbit movies. Lord Of The Rings was the stan­dard and it seemed in­con­ceiv­able at the time, but this TV show has turned the ta­bles, be­cause if you grew up on the Lord Of The Rings movies, where do you go next? Well there’s that level of sex, be­trayal and vi­o­lence which feels more real. All the new books that I have com­ing out are more R-rated, be­cause I don’t want to do PG-13 comics you can get any­where. I’m not sure I’d be the best per­son to take you back and do a Fan­tas­tic Four story, be­cause I’d want Reed and Sue to have sex!

THE DEAD­POOL MOVIE

[Di­rec­tor] Tim Miller, [writ­ers] Rhett Reese, Paul Wer­nick, [star] Ryan Reynolds – I say all their names be­cause I want ev­ery­one to know those are the guys that you can credit with pulling off the great­est vi­sion of Dead­pool. I made him, I in­tro­duced him, and I’m telling you right now, he’s never been bet­ter than in that film. They found the right tone, the per­fect bal­ance. Ev­ery­one else in the Dead­pool movie is in a straight R-rated film, and Dead­pool is the chaos and the in­san­ity, which is why we love him. Some­times in the comic book, ev­ery­body’s nuts, and I think if that had been on screen you wouldn’t have had the same con­nec­tion. At the end of the day, it’s a vengeance movie – some­body did him wrong, and he’s go­ing to ex­act vengeance on them. They weren’t sav­ing the planet, they weren’t chas­ing a McGuf­fin, so it’s very fo­cused.

Dead­pool: Bad Blood, by Liefeld, Chad Bow­ers and Chris Sims, is out now.

I’m not sure I’d be the best per­son for Fan­tas­tic Four. I’d want Reed and Sue to have sex!

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