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This is the one-hundred and thirty-sixth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and thirty-five. Click here for a similar archive, only arranged by subject.
This is a special theme week – all the urban legends this week involve Rob Liefeld!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Superboy was designed to look like Rob Liefeld.
This may be one of my oldest unsolved ones, as a guy on Comic Book Resources mentioned this one casually in a thread at CBR, like, RIGHT after I started doing Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed.
The guy mentions it, and he means it as a total compliment. This is not some guy knocking Liefeld, this was a Liefeld fan who was saying Superboy’s look was based on Rob Liefeld meaning it as a honor. You know, like an homage.
He said that Karl Kesel mentioned it in an interview. So I asked Karl about it literally two years ago today, and Karl told me:
I have no specific memory of this– the interview OR ever saying this– although there’s something niggling at the back of my head that I’ve heard this rumor before.
I had nothing to do with designing Superboy, visually. Tom Grummett did his usual fantastic job at that– in fact, he drew the initial character sketch during the Superman Summit that came up with the “Reign of the Supermen” storyline… well before I wrote one word about the character. Did Tom model SB on Rob? You’d have to ask him.
I can certainly see similarities in the personalities of the Superboy Tom and I created and Rob– both have endless enthusiasm for what they do and complete confidence in their own abilities, even when they probably shouldn’t have. And they both have an undeniable charisma and charm.
It’s possible someone in an interview once asked me if I had modeled SB on Rob and I agreed it might have happened, sub-consciously– but I don’t actually remember that interview.
So okay, I put it on the ol’ back-burner, until I finally asked Tom Grummett about it, like, last week.
Tom’s reply was quick and to the point!
Nope… no Rob Liefeld connection whatsoever.
So there ya go!
Oh, Tom also added, quite humorously,
For one thing, Superboy didn’t wear a baseball cap.
Cute, Tom, cute!
Thanks to the original guy who brought it up (whose name I’ve long since forgotten) and thanks to Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett for filling me in on the information!
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: X-Force #5 was credited to Rob Liefeld, but was actually drawn by two other artists.
STATUS: Basically True.
Apparently, this one has been circulating for awhile, but I did not hear it myself until a reader mentioned it last week.
Reader Andrew asked:
My Urban Legend? X-Force 5 (1st series) – ghost-pencilled by Marat Mychaels or actually pencilled by Rob Liefeld?
So I asked Marat Mychaels about it (here‘s Mychaels’ official website), and he filled me in:
That is true. I penciled half the book and Brian Murray penciled the other half over Rob’s lay-outs. We were supposed to be credited. Somehow, in the rush of putting the book out, the editor at the time, Bob Harras, messed up and forgot to add our names.
Rob, Brian and I where all shocked when the book hit the stands without proper credit. I was 19 and told everybody my first published work was coming out…so I was really disappointed. Any way there is the story.
So there ya go!
Thanks to Andrew for the question and big thanks to Marat for the information!
Try to guess which panels are Marat’s and which ones are Brian’s (note – they very well might all be one or the other).
COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Karl Kesel drew missing feet and hands for Rob Liefeld on Hawk and Dove
I really do not mean to pick on Liefeld here.
This stuff happened twenty years ago. It’s really not a big deal. But I have had folks ask me about it in the past, so I figure I might as well get it over with.
Yes, on Hawk and Dove, as Rob Liefeld was getting later on his deadlines, he increasingly began to send in his characters without their hands and their feet, with inker Karl Kesel being forced to draw them in for Liefeld.
This was the same series that Liefeld drew an issue set in the chaos dimension landscape style without being asked to (as seen in this former installment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed). But do note (Liefeld’s wikipedia entry has this a bit wrong), it was NOT a case of Liefeld just doing it for no reason, he was going on the basis of how the chaos dimension had been depicted in an issue of Doom Patrol drawn by Erik Larsen (also featured in a former installment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed).
So, anyways, yeah, if you heard that Liefeld had someone else draw the hands and feet in the Hawk and Dove mini-series, you’d be basically correct.
Thanks to the folks who sent in this suggestion (a number of them over the years) and big thanks to Karl Kesel for the information!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you next week!
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