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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #195

This is the one-hundred and ninety-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and ninety-four.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: Herb Trimpe was “forced” during the 1990s by Marvel Comics to use an art style reminiscent of Rob Liefeld.

STATUS: False

Herb Trimpe is a very good comic book artist, and as our own Scott has noted in the past, is a quite underappreciated artist.

Trimpe worked for Marvel for many years, but an interesting change in his art took place in 1993.

Here are a few pages of Trimpe art from his classic run on the Incredible Hulk. In this issue, some Canadian mutant makes his debut (click on the pages to enlarge)…

In the early 1990s, Rob Liefeld became a very popular artist for Marvel Comics. Here’s a few pages of Liefeld art from Liefeld’s run on New Mutants, his first ongoing title for Marvel. This issue also features that same Canadian mutant (click on the pages to enlarge)…

That style was clearly a popular one for Marvel Comics at the time (by the way, unlike the other page sets, the above Liefeld one is not completely sequential. I wanted to have as many sequential pages as I could while still featuring a lot of Wolverine, and it really did not work out well, so it’s three pages and then a later solo page. Just so’s you know!)

So while it came as SOME surprise, perhaps it should not have, when Herb Trimpe began drawing comics in the early 90s (most notably a run on Fantastic Four Unlimited) in a style extremely reminiscent of Liefeld.

Here are a few pages from Fantastic Four Unlimited #4 (featuring the Hulk, see, these things all sort of tie together!), with a cover by Claudio Castellini (click on the pages to enlarge)…

Mike Sterling, of the neat-o comic blog, Progresive Ruin, remarked the other day:

I seem to recall that Trimpe drew in that style by editorial mandate. Not that he wanted to imitate Liefeld, but that he was asked to

Mike’s recollection is matched by a number of folks online. I’ve seen the same position echoed on a number of blogs, message boards, etc.

So what was the case with Trimpe?

Did Marvel “force” him to draw this way or was it his idea?

I figured the best person to tell me would be Trimpe himself, so I dropped him a line and he gave me a wonderfully in-depth reply.

I’ve been asked that question before, with some fans going so far as to feel sorry for the way Marvel made me change my style. Unfortunately, these were misdirected sympathies.

Truth was, it was a lark–but a lark with a purpose, all devised by myself. No one at Marvel suggested I change the way I draw or ink. I looked at the new guys’ stuff, and thought, hey, this is great. Very exciting. You can always learn from somebody else, no matter how long you’ve been doing a thing.

I did, however, think the style might lead to new work at a time when Marvel was already in trouble, and it did. FF Unlimited was my last series at Marvel, and contrary to what a lot of fans think, I think it was the best work I’d done–and, I had a whole lot of fun doing it. Very expressive. I think the newer influences in comic book art brought out a better me. Like I said, most of the fans of the earlier stuff would not agree. On one occasion, I inked a whole story with a brush, which is what I was raised on, and the editor objected asking me not to do that anymore. But in general, no one pressured me into a change.

So there you go!

Thanks so much for the clarification, Herb! Be sure to check out Herb’s website, herbtrimpe.com!

Thanks to Mike Sterling for the suggestion and thanks to Herb Trimpe for the helpful information!

COMIC LEGEND: Nightwing and Starfire were originally intended to become happily married in New Titans #100.

STATUS: True

There was a long period in the early 90s when Nightwing was basically just in flux.

After his marriage to Starfire in New Titans #100 in 1993 was interrupted, he was sort of in limbo for a year, with a few guest appearances here and there.

And after he was completely written out of New Titans, he had a storyline filling in for Batman post-Knight’s End and Zero Hour.

And then he was back to limbo for most of 1995 until finally he got a new costume and his first mini-series in late 1995.

It was still another year before he gained his own ongoing series in late 1996.

But that series was such a success that it lasted until just last week (and it was canceled not because it was not selling all right, but rather because Nightwing is most likely going to be taking over as Batman again).

However, a lot of the reasons for why Nightwing was in such a state of limbo state in the beginning of the 90s was because the original plans for the character fell through.

Originally, writer/artist Art Thibert was going to do a Nightwing mini-series that would run in 1992, concurrently with New Titans #93-99.

The series, co-written with Pamela Winesette, was about an alien invasion of Earth that led to Starfire being captured and Nightwing has to save her. The main point of the series was to establish Nightwing as an extremely competent hero, and to do so on the largest of scales – in front of the entire superhero community.

At the end of the series, Dick would have a newfound confidence and would ask Starfire to marry him, she’d accept, and this would all lead into New Titans #100, which would be the marriage of Nightwing and Starfire, which would be handled much like Donna Troy and Terry Long’s marriage in Tales of the New Teen Titans #50.

Of course, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and in this instance, the editor who was driving the project, Jonathan Peterson, left DC for Image Comics in 1992. Thibert had already put off doing the mini-series for a time because of a commitment to Marvel for a Cable ongoing series, but he ended up dropping both series to ALSO go to Image Comics.

So the new editors instead had New Titans writer Marv Wolfman have a wedding ceremony go awry in New Titans #100 (the minister was murdered by a newly-evil Raven) and the character of Nightwing had a bit of a delay on his road to prominence.

Interestingly enough, Thibert had even done a poster to promote the series (that never happened) and DC published it in 1992′s Titans Sell-Out Special #1. Here it is (click to enlarge)!

The scoop on this comes from Bill Walko’s awesome Titans site, Titans Tower. Bill let the interview he did with Jonathan Peterson be reprinted in Glen Cadigan’s great guide to the history of the Titans, the Titans Companion (click here to purchase a copy of the book from TwoMorrows Publishing).

Thanks to Jonathan Peterson for the information and Bill Walko for collecting the info (and allowing it to be disseminated in the Titans Companion)! Be sure to check out Titans Tower for more Titans information!

COMIC LEGEND: There was no intent by John Byrne to sneak a drawing of a penis into an issue of the Fantastic Four.

STATUS: True

About a year ago, I did a column including a legend about whether John Byrne drew a silhouetted penis in an issue of the Fantastic Four.

At the time, I said “False,” but my position at the time was based solely on my view of the page.

As I said then:

I’ll allow, though, that having ANYthing there can certainly lead to a question of the intent – I just don’t think that there was intent for it to be a penis (nor do I think it looks like it in actuality…).

So if the legend is “John Byrne snuck a drawing of a penis into an issue of Fantastic Four,” my answer would be – False.

I know quite a few folks who have differed with me over the past year, but interestingly enough, the topic was just recently brought up on John Byrne’s web forum.

I had never seen Byrne address the topic before, and his reaction on the boards seemed one of surprise (and a bit of disbelief).

So yeah, he not only denies the existence of the “phantom penis,” but he seems fairly disappointed by the fact that the topic is even being discussed.

So whether you feel you can see a penis in the panel or not, there was no intent by the artist to secretly sneak the drawing of a penis into the panel.

I know this is basically just a variation on the original legend, but I was just so surprised that Byrne actually addressed the subject that I figured I had to post about it!

Thanks to John Byrne for the new information (the thread on the Byrne board was started by Pedro Bouça, so I suppose thanks go out to Pedro Bouça, too!).

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week’s covers!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

See you next week!

124 Comments

Ah…so “moving” is the thing Wolverine does best that isn’t very nice.

“Thanks to John Byrne for the new information (the thread on the Byrne board was started by Pedro Bouça, so I suppose thanks go out to Pedro Bouça, too!).”

Hey, you’re welcome. Although I was just trying to find out a previous JB reply I was sure existed. Memory is a funny thing…

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I know that, as a Canadian, I constantly run around and tell people what I do best and see by how many stone I outweigh them…

…All said in absolutely flawless English…

My new battle cry, from here on in, shall be…
“I’ll just keep moving, if you please”

Oh, Len Wein…
Your complete ignorance of Canadians warms my igloo-covered heart.

What?!?!?!

John Byrne (he’s British, remember…not Canadian…so don’t blame us for him) didn’t try to blame Peter David for the “phantom penis”?

What?!?!?!

George Lucas didn’t go after Brian Cronin for saying “the phantom penis”?

Has my world suddenly ceased to exist?

It’s pretty telling that Herb Trimpe is better at being Rob Liefeld than Rob Liefeld is…

That said, what’s Sue Storm not quite wearing in that comic?

Oh Man, the Titans sell Out Special, Wasnt that DC’s “Image” version of the Titans? Or am I thinking of Doom Force?

Your complaining that writers get Canadians wrong? How about giving us Australians some sympathy. In every medium we are portrayed like the crocodile hunter. haha… No one speaks like him (except maybe Alf, from Home and Away!! haha… – Most of the aussies will get that.) ;)

Also, Liefelds art there from the 90′s is surprising good. I’ve only seen his stuff from like, the last 5 or so years … and he has gone dooooownhill – sorry, just my opinion. :)

Wow, worst Nightwing art ever. I hadn’t seen that before, but now it will haunt my nightmares.

Byrne is such a “sneaky” writer/artist wasn’t he? ;-)

There was going to be a Rob Liefeld series called Titans Force that would have had Wolfman on it as well, but things fell through, and that became Youngblood. If i’m not mistaken, that might have been covered in one of the earliest urban legends.

Kolya: During the darkest period of the FF (the Tom Defalco years), Sue tapped into the Malice persona and started wearing that particularly revealing number. She would return to her original costume during Heroes Reborn/Return.

Oh, my sweet and forgiving lord. Fantastic Four Unlimited.

When people look back and think of all the things they hated about comics in the 90s, this series never gets mentioned because nobody remembers it. And I envy those people with every last breath in my feeble, trembling body.

John Byrne isn’t Canadian?
I thought he was. I even read somewhere that that was the reason why he made Wolverine such a proeminent figure during his run on the X-Men

It’s funny that the plans for Nightwing would go from him seeming utterly competent to him having mental breakdown #2 or 3.

I seem to recall seeing Herb Trimpe’s “Liefeld” art earlier than FF Unlimited #4. I have an issue of Guardians of the Galaxy (1992′s #28 — the one with the Masters of Evil) that featured the new style. Lots of big ol’ thighs and tiny feet in that one.

Have a good day.
John Cage

Could the points on Wolverine’s mask an boots be any taller?

What the Hell is up with Johnny Storm on that thrid FF page? And man, that Sue Storm outfit represents one of the low points of the 90s to me.

Yeah, Mr. Trimpe? Nothing personal, but your work on Fantastic Four Unlimited was a graphic atrocity. I’m glad you enjoyed it, because I feel pretty safe in saying that few others did.

Of course, I bought every issue, so I willingly accept my share of the blame. :)

Claudio Castellini? Anyone who where did he dissapear?

I’m rather touched by the “Right behind you, Sis!” panel, in which Johnny Storm lumbers after Sue in the posture of an ape, crippled by his tragically muscular kneecaps.

Oh, the ’90s…

Herb Trimpe trying to ape Liefeld has to be one of the saddest things in comics history. (Sorry, Mr. Trimpe, but that ain’t your best work. Not even close…)

“That said, what’s Sue Storm not quite wearing in that comic?”

Her 90s costume. Oh, how I hate that decade!

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I thought Trimpe’s art looked closer to Erik Larsen than LIefeld’s…

.. and God, that Sue Storm outfit is SLUTTY…

In between Hulk and FF Unlimited, Trimpe had in intermediate style on “G.I. Joe Special Missions”. That was my favorite of the three.

You can see the 1990s Sue Storm advertising in the TV/TS classifieds of the Village Voice.

Freud would have a field day with this phantom penis.

There’s a special place in hell for 90s costume designs.

I think that one of the biggest problems with 90s comics was the huge amount of artists who tried to ape the styles of Liefeld, Lee, and McFarlane. Regardless of the original artists’ merits (or lack thereof), the copycats invariably lacked the same talent and ended up producing some really terrible (and often quite pouch-filled) artwork. The fact that DC and Marvel encouraged this practice in order to woo back Image readers only made the problem worse.

I remember that FF period. It was quite disturbing for me then, since Sue didn’t actually announce that she’s going to change her name again, this time to “Invisible Hooker”, yet her costume did reflect that change perfectly.

Where did The Thing’s helmet go on page three?

Also, a few years back I saw some war comics Herb Trimpe did for one of Marvel’s black and white magazines, and it was GORGEOUS art. Lush and beautiful brushwork.

I thought Trimpe’s art looked closer to Erik Larsen than LIefeld’s…

Thank you! I was thinking it looked more like one of the other Image guys than Liefeld, but I couldn’t put my finger on who – but you’re right – it’s Larsen it looks like.

HULK BEST AT WHAT HULK DO!

So… much… awfulness in one post, from the Liefeld art to Sue’s costume to shirtless Fabio Nightwing to the final Nightwing shot.

I’m pretty sure that Wolverine was never again portrayed as just two feet shorter than Hulk. For that matter, I’m pretty sure he’s always since been portrayed as shorter than 5′ 5″.

It’s pretty funny that there’s a “what I do best” back in that original appearance.

“Someone who used to say ‘Hulk Stomp’ a lot”??? I dunno who wrote that line, but it seems like it was someone who had never actually heard of Hulk before.

Jacob: If you mean “stomp” vs “smash” then yeah. If you mean the whole line..well that’s the Peter David Hulk..he was a bit dismissive of the smash era.

re: Sue’s Outfit. Not a single one of you would be complaining if that was what Jessica Alba wore in the movies!

re: Nightwing. What’s weird, is there’s an issue of Flash from around the time 100 came out that Nightwing and Starfire are in there, married. Such a shame that plans to make Nightwing into a major hero in his own right got derailed so he could become a lesser Batman. Glad things like that wouldn’t happen today.

“re: Sue’s Outfit. Not a single one of you would be complaining if that was what Jessica Alba wore in the movies!”

Thanks for making those movies more of a disappointment in retrospect.

What penis?

I don’t mind that Herb Trimpe changed his style to fit the times nearly as much as I mind the fact that he ever drew poor Sue Storm in that costume. That’s hideous.

-

I’m also not really a Liefeld fan, but as far as he goes, that issue of New Mutants isn’t the worst thing he’s ever done. It is very dynamic and expressive.

Where does Nightwing’s run in Action Comics Weekly fall chronologically?

Late 80s, Mark, while he was still in the Titans (on a break, though, I suppose).

Like most everything in 1990s Marvel, Sue’s outfit in that era was an atrocity. So few writers and artists have handled her well…to be honest, Waid and Wieringo are the only creative team I’ve ever felt properly captured Sue’s potential (both in terms of character and “look”).

I can pore over Liefeld artwork all day. The inconsistent character scales, the baffling anatomy (how long IS Cable’s arm in the first panel of that second page?), the shameless lack of actual backgrounds…snickering at the gaffes in Liefeld’s work can become a full-time pursuit if you let it.

Nightwing looks constipated in that promotional image. Not enough fiber?

Canadians are jerks. Using your frosty, Canadian intellect to take advantage of poor dumb American Hulk. For shame!

Mother of god. I really like Herb Trimpe’s ’60s-’80s work, but if indeed HE came up with the idea of trying to ape the hilariously talentless Liefeld, AND he liked the result …

… well, the fact that he taught art after leaving comics just fills me with utter, crushing despair.

Dude –

Byrne was born in the UK, I believe, but moved to Canada (probably with his family, assuming he hadn’t gotten around to alienating them at that point) while pretty young.

Rob Schamberger –

I assume you’re referring to Trimpe’s work in a couple of issues of Marvel’s short-lived ’80s iteration of SAVAGE TALES. Extremely nice stuff, & strikingly different from his hallmark ’60s-’70s superhero work.

Out of idle curiosity, does anyone have an image of Ben’s face under that helmet? I know it was scarred by Wolverine for some reason or another, but I’ve never seen the actual damage.

Apparently in the 90s Sue Storm worked out a lot and Nightwing fell on his face a lot. Ah, the memories…

Was that Janson on New Titans #113? There’s such a cool picture of Robin right next to two reasons why I’ll never really like Nightwing. I ALWAYS see him like that, no matter who actually draws him.

Can you imagine how much fun Liefeld himself must have had? He did that all throughout a decade and it worked out very well for him!

Dan – in all fairness, Trimpe was three decades into his comic illustration career by then and I’m sure his feelings of inspiration from the “new guys” were probably feelings more like “if I don’t show I can draw like this, I’ll never work again.”

That being said, those pages above look much more Erik Larsen-ish than Liefeld-ish. But yeah, the point still stands. I recall an Iron Man fill-in issue a few years before that where Trimpe drew in his “old” style, and honestly … it was terrible, especially coming between Bob Layton and John Romita, Jr. So I guess it was “change, or die.”

Man, what a cut throat business.

In defense of Trimpe, the layouts and color were the best I’d seen in a long time. (I won’t talk about the stuff in between.)

That is NOT Sue Storm. That is NOT Sue Richards. And I don’t think that’s Johny Storm either, with all the muscles on his kneecaps. Check out his left leg in the second-to-last panel, is this some progressing effect of the cosmic radiation or what?

On an unrelated note, if Jessica Alba would like to wear that outfit, we should respectfully support her artistic choices and demand an Invisible Hooker movie.

Herb Trimpe aping Lifield is a million times better than Lifield himself could ever hope to be.

I remember that never-to-be Nightwing mini-series. In fact, I even remember a pencil sketch published somewhere at the time of what I assume was going to be a cover. Nightwing in a modified version of his then-costume, and Starfire standing next to him in a modified look as well. All I remember was her large hair had sections of it tied off in pony-tail looking things.

That – like the never to be seen Starfox mini-series where he was going to turn evil and the Outsiders series that was apparently going to be drawn by Bryan Hitch (with a cover that had a different looking Faust) but came out with Paul Pelletier drawing it – is forever lost.

Yeah, that is not the body of a woman who’s born two children.

Those are, however, the thighs of a woman who’s had to chase after two children.

Jesus, if she wore corduroy slacks she’d set herself on fire.

That’s good to know about the Nightwing/Firestorm wedding. I’d always wondered about that, because they appeared in Mark Waid’s Flash together around that time – http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=53687&zoom=4 – and they’re repeatedly referred to in the story as being married. So there must have been some mis-communication between the Titans people and the Flash people.

Thanks, Brian – forgot that it was that early.

That’s good to know about the Nightwing/Firestorm wedding.

No, no, Anthony, that’s the big DC twist of 2012.

Seriously, though, the problem came from the fact that at the time, Dick and Kory were still claiming to be married, even though their minister was murdered before the ceremony finished. After a little time, however, they decided against making the marriage official.

Waid presumably was going under the assumption that the marriage was meant to be more definitive than Wolfman seemed to think it was.

Ah. That makes an early-90s-Titans kind of sense.

Also – Firestorm?! Not sure where that came from . . .

Both Trimpe and Liefeld have a horrible grasp on human anatomy.
And Trimpe’s Sue Storm might look more appropriate in a pair of Mom Jeans.

Jeez louise, it’s hard out here for a Trimpe.

I remember that Nightwing pin-up from the Titans Sell-Out book but I thought that this was the Nightwing poster that was promoting the mini-series that never happened.

http://www.titanstower.com/assets/recroom/posters/nwingthibert.jpg

“I’m pretty sure that Wolverine was never again portrayed as just two feet shorter than Hulk. For that matter, I’m pretty sure he’s always since been portrayed as shorter than 5? 5?.”

Most of Wolverine’s appearances in the 90s seemed, to me, to show him as well over 6 feet tall. Notice the panel where he is crouched down and still almost as tall as Cable. Just off the top of my head I can remember him staring eye to eye, nose to nose with Colossus, Thing, Cap, Daredevil, and a lot of other taller characters.

Theno

I believe they both were, Matt.

Check Titanstower.com for Nightwing and Starfire. Bill Walko shared this info times ago. Same as for Titans Companion. Anyway, thanks for the article.

What is going on with Wolverine’s crotch in that New Mutants cover?

Yeah, Tarcisio, I mentioned that it came from the Titans Companion! Originally, though, I did miss that the Titans Companion got it themselves from Titans Tower. But I edited that in a little while ago, as well!

Also, that horrid Trimpe art doesn’t look Larsen-y at all to me. The tiny heads, the gigantic thighs, the goofy poses–that’s pure Liefeld.

Thanks for the update and credit, Brian!

Thank YOU for such an informative site, Bill!

Scavenger: I meant the difference between “Hulk stomp” and “Hulk smash.”

Amen to Mike Hall! the Waid and Wieringo run on FF was stellar!
And poor Herb Tripe he is a good artist, old school style, why try to emulte a hack like Liefield.
I’m sorry (and everyone can have their own opinion) but if you like Liefield’s art, there is something wrong with you.

Pj –

Oh, I know. Rest assured, I have the utmost respect for Herb Trimpe & his legacy in comics. It’s just jarring to see him feel compelled, undoutedly for economic reasons, to emulating the style of someone not fit to sharpen his pencils. The fact that Liefeld’s garbage sold (& sold, & sold …) in the ’90s continues to baffle me to this day, & if I hadn’t already been out of comics for more than a decade at that time, I’m pretty sure it would’ve driven me out.

I can only assume that everyone who helped make that hack rich was blind &/or insane.

I’m definitely not a fan of Trimpe’s Imagesque (whether one sees a resemblance to Liefeld or Larsen is irrelevant — it’s not as though one is better than the other) experiment, but I give the man credit for consistency. Every time he’s ever been asked about the matter, he always gives the same answer. His response to questions about this in a WonderCon panel last year was remarkably similar.

For my money, I’ll take the old-school Trimpe.

err….emulate, I spell as bad as Liefield draws…..ZING!

Or an idiot. Can’t forget that.

(Everyone over the age of, oh, 10, anyway.)

eric –

Clearly, something is going around. When I recast my sentence in midthought I should’ve changed “emulating” to “emulate.”"

I think you should address the rumor that Sue Storm has a penis in that FF Unlimited panel

I admit it, I really enjoyed that New Mutants/Liefeld stuff. I was already reading the book, but I think he was a decent story teller and there was cool stuff going on. I couldn’t even find New Mutants #94, it was sold out as I remember.

Herb Trimpe wasn’t force to draw like that? Wikepedia has lied to us again, people! It’s time to take that whole place down… provided it was an actual place.

That Nightwing pin-up has to be the poster (ahem) child for the 90s I’m So Constipated look. The Aquaman series covers had it in spades, but this one, with Nightwing squatting, takes the cake, or loaf, or some euphemism.

Nice, Dick’s laying a steaming load there. Note “steam”.

Heh, that’s funny. I was just thinking about Herb Trimpe’s style change very recently. Thanks!

Liefeld swipe one panel of that comic from Todd MacFarlane.

Chech it!

http://blog.adlo.es/2006/08/swipe_of_the_week_23jun1997_ro.html

That’s Bill Jaaska on New Titans, Duff McWHalen.

Eric Scheidt said:

“I’m sorry (and everyone can have their own opinion) but if you like Liefield’s art, there is something wrong with you.”

I don’t like Liefeld’s art, but I can’t agree with this statement. Sure, Liefeld’s art is garish, and sure it doesn’t conform to proper perspective, anatomy, or anything recognizable as a realistic style. But neither does “Guernica”. Realism and conformance to the Jim Aparo/Neal Adams style that most of us recognize as “good comics art” is not the only standard to be applied. Bill Sienkiewicz went from being a Neal Adams clone to a style that left realism far behind, much further behind than Liefeld ever did, but nobody says, “Gee, Bill Sienkiewicz got a lot worse at drawing over the years.” They say he developed a style.

Rob Liefeld’s developed a style, too. It’s a style that grates on my eyes like fingernails on a blackboard, but it’s a distinctive and consistent style. There’s nothing wrong with the people who actually like it, even if their tastes and mine are light-years apart.

Trimpe’s art through the last issue of Special Missions # 28 Dec 1989 was still pretty true to his career style. He did story, pencil, ink, and color for GI Joe, ARAH # 119 Dec 1991. Its closer to his FF unlimited work than his 60′s to 80′s work. I’ve been re-reading the old GI Joe Marvel series, and did a double take when I hit that issue, and saw how his style had changed. That issue has Cobra building robots of world leaders and celebs. There’s great shots of Gorby, Colin Powell, Schwarzkoff, Bush I, and some others in there.

Given that Herb Trimpe himself is quoted in the article as saying that he wanted to change his style, that he did so because he thought it would be an improvement, and that he liked the results, it seems a bit odd to continue to see posters saying that he really thought he had no choice if he wanted to continue to work as an artist in comics.

Many artists have chosen to change their styles, and not always to great acclaim. For instance, I generally have enjoyed Keith Giffen’s work, but some of his early Kirbyesque work (in particular, an issue of THE DEFENDERS from the late 70′s, circa #46) and the style he used when he was doing TRENCHER in the 90′s just look really bad to me.

It must also be noted that great art can make a mediocre story seem great; while only the absolute greatest story can make mediocre art seem even acceptable. FF UNLIMITED definitely did not feature great (or even good) stories.

I actually didn’t think Sue’s outfit was the atrocity everyone else did (I didn’t love it, but it wasn’t that bad), especially as drawn by Paul Ryan. Now, having Scott (Ant-Man) Lang panting after Sue and trying to fill in as the FF’s science geek while Reed was presumed dead? That was an atrocity….

Mike – “Out of idle curiosity, does anyone have an image of Ben’s face under that helmet?”

http://www.coverbrowser.com/covers/fantastic-four/8

#386, and especially #395

and contrary to what a lot of fans think, I think it was the best work I’d done

I know it’s said, but I don’t think it can be said enough… seriously Herb you are sooooooooo wrong.

I hope it was clear I’m being dismissive of that style and not Herb Trimpe in general. I remember enjoying many comics he drew.

Sorry, John, but there is a penis there.

Slightly off-subject, but I thought it was (unintentionally) the silliest moment in superhero history when Wolverine clawed off half of Thing’s face in a by-the-numbers superhero brawl, then immediately stopped and apologized for hurting him. If that doesn’t sum up everything that’s ever been wrong with two heroes meeting and immediately throwing down, I don’t know what does.

I don’t see one, James. At all.

I just love the fact that the sound effect of Cable punching Wolverine on that second page is “whank!”

This post was brought to my attention by an old friend. As the editor of the series known as Fantastic Four Unlimited, I can assure you that I did not force Herb or anyone to emulate Rob Liefeld, Erik Larsen, or any of the other Image guys. The series was an afterthought—let’s expand the franchise with a quarterly book with the FF. I was one of Herb’s biggest fans when I was growing up. Given the chance to work with him on anything was amazing— I was so excited! Herb’s work on the series was different, but he wanted to keep pace with the current trends. Herb was a consummate professional and a gentleman-there was no ego evident to me. If memory serves me right, i think he wanted to use a pen name to judge what the actual reaction would be to his art. I agree that the 90s were a tough era for comics-many ideas spawned incredible growth-then incredible reduction. 15 years after these books came out people still talk about them-like it or hate it, the Image guys forced change. You may not like their respective styles, nor should you. This has always been a creative medium-subject to criticism. People take risks-if Marvel, DC, Image didn’t, every character/story would look and read like Archie comics…I was an editor for many years at Marvel and later Image and say it was an incredibly rewarding opportunity. Thanks for reading this.

Mike Rockwitz

haha i guess i am in an extreme minority and it might just be that i dont care much for the fantastic four, but that is my favorite invisible woman outfit ever, because i like my female superheroes to wear skimpy things lol and that i guess i would need that to even have any kind of remote interest in the FF other than the Thing.

im guessing a lot of you are older than me too because this was the era when had just gotten in to comics as a kid and i have always really liked the “90s” artstyle because its exaggerated and anime-esque, not to say that i dont think most of todays artists are still better ( than again, most art looks better simply because its on magazine paper and is all trumped up with computers to looks shiny and stuff now)

Those Wolverine/ Cable panels are the best Liefeld art I’ve ever seen.

That Johnny Storm has more muscles on his knees than I have on my entire legs. I think it might not be Johnny at all, we might be looking at Hulk’s illegitimate son right there.

Herb Trimpe was, and is still, one of my favorite artists. I guess that comes from starting to read superhero comics in the Bronze Age coupled with my love of monsters and giant robots. I thought Marvel’s Godzilla, Shogun Warriors and his run on Incredible Hulk were fantastic. However, I have to agree that his 90′s stuff was really bad. If Herb’s pleased with it, that’s great, but I’ll take the ‘classic’ stuff any day. (Side note…I really wish an ‘Essential Shogun Warriors’ could be done.)

I’m old enough to remember Herb Trimpe on the Hulk in the early 70s and while I do not believe that his aping of the Image style was anything other than trying not to end up like his fellow Marvel creator, Bill Mantlo, I understand why he did what he did.

I have to applaud Herb Trimpe because unlike so many other artists who stick to their style as it becomes dated and eventually leads to them not being get any assignments, Herb was willing to try something new to stay current. The big mistake Herb made was to be inspired by the wrong artist. But it’s understandable…Rob’s stuck was the easiest to copy. It was much harder to try and mimic Jim Lee’s or Silvestri’s art style.

The thing that many fans fail to notice is that Herb’s art aping Rob Liefeld’s stuff was probably the most bold and exciting looking stuff he did in a long time (if ever). There’s lots of energy on those pages that Herb’s stuff probably lacked before. Had Herb kept that same energy and not exaggerated all the bad aspects of Rob’s “quirks” the work would’ve been much better.

Like I mentioned before, far too many of the older artists tend to fight changing or updating their style to look more contemporary. They look at the new artist with the attitude of “Those kids don’t know what good art is…” and meanwhile that’s the stuff that’s selling and no one is paying attention to the stuff they’re doing. They refuse to change then get bitter when they stop getting gigs. They blame the company for not giving them work and they blame fans saying they don’t know what’s good. They blame everyone but themselves. I don’t know why they can’t understand that it’s their responsiblity to keep themselves in demand and do what it takes to keep themselves employable.

So Herb Trimpe has always had my respect for making the effort to make his art more contemporary.

“Whank” – yes, yes it is Mr Liefield.

This may be funnier if you’re a Brit.

Damn you for beating me to it Mr Ziegler.

I remember picking up issue 28, of the guradians book with trimpe art,and was shocked to see his name on as the artist, as it was so terrible.I love his stuff, from 1968 to 1972,and to a lesser degree, from 1973 to 1975. i noticed by the early 1980s, you could see that his heart wasnt much in it any more.Back in 68-69, I would have bet that he would have been the one to take over the ff after kirby left. He was that good particulary with the thing.Rather then trying to ape Liefield, he should have tried to recapture what he had,in his first 5 years at marvel.As it was, neither the liefield fans embraced him, and he lost most of his old following.

Sue Storm start using steroids?

Can I just say that for all the talk going on here, Herb Trimpe doesn’t get his due most of the time …

The man’s a legend in our time and some people still fail to recognise that. It’s truly sad. :(

Herb, if you’re out there, I salute you! :)

- Chris

Good lord, this week’s article content is a perfect example of why the 90′s era of comics just suuuuucked

Re: Art Thibert Nightwing/Starfire mini-series:

This Legend inspired me to post some further reading on my blog folks might be interested in, from 1992′s Amazing Heroes #202. It includes a piece of Thibert art for the book I’ve never seen elsewhere, including redesigned costumes, and descriptions of the plot that vary from those mentioned here. I also posted Thibert’s Creators Universe Starwing and Nightfire Trading Cards, where he looked to “repurpose” his art, Rob Liefeld style.

I’ve always been a fan of Herb Trimpe-I consider him my favorite Hulk artist with Sal Buscema- but Fantastic Four Unlimited was the Worst Drawn Comic I have ever seen. I was so utterly disgusted by it when I read issue #1 that I toar it up to pieces and threw it in a garbage can. It’s the only comic i’ve ever done this with. At the time I didn’t care that I bought it, it had to be destroyed.

Got another Urban Legend Question

Part 1 – During the original DC / Marvel – Amalgam crossovers, it was passively understood that Access would be co-owned by DC / Marvel. Very little has been done with him since in either universe. Is it true that he is co-owned?

Part 2 – There was a persistent rumor around the same time, and again during the JLAvengers meet, that DC and Marvel would swap a character from each universe. Rumored candidates included both Hawkman and Hawkeye. Was this a possibility, or were people simply misinterpreting the concept of Access as a shared character and trying to apply their own rationale on it?

Part 1.5 – And if so, are there any future plans, or is he effectively shelved?

I think Sue Storm was trying out to be the new Phantom Lady.

http://www.americanartarchives.com/baker,m_phantom_lady48apr.jpg

Looking at that cover makes me think Wertham was right!

Part 2.5 – And if it was true and discussed, which characters from each publisher were the contenders for a universe swap?

This would be my second “comment waiting moderation” in about a week or so. Found out this tends to indicate my question is being researched for having Urban Legend potential.

Youi are correct, Squashua!!

Somehow, I thought you covered some iteration of my second question in an earlier CBULR column, but Google didn’t reveal anything relevant.

If you want, I can think of a third question, and you can get all three of them answered at once and have an all-Squashua column. :)

I’m kind of embarrased that John Byrne ever had to consider that question too.
I could NEVER see what other people were apparently seeing in that panel, and the fact that those people had to work so hard to make others see it too told me that I was likely correct.

I just don’t know how anyone can look at that picture and not see a knob

(Not that I ever thought it was done on purpose)

Citizen Scribbler

March 3, 2009 at 2:12 pm

And where would Nightwing’s run in Justice League Task Force fit into all this? I do believe it was precisely at the same time as the Knight’s End stuff, but it’s hard to tell because that’s when I stopped buying comics for a good ten years. The horror that was Extreme Justice was the one that really put the nail in my coffin…

-Citizen Scribbler

I feel your pain Citizen Scribbler, as Extreme Justice was my beté noir for D.C. for a long time too.

It actually nearly managed to make Heroes Reborn look readable.

Which contained Rob Liefeld art and therefore makes this post relevant.

[...] might recall the Comic Book Legends Revealed from two weeks ago, where I discussed the Nightwing mini-series by Thibert that never [...]

I remember seeing those Fantastic Four Unlimited issues when they first came out and seeing Herb Trimpe aping Liefeld just made me feel sad. While not the most talented artist in the Marvel stable during the late 60s and 70s, I will always have a soft spot for his work on the Hulk and then on Marvel’s Godzilla book. Its a lot like hearing a once great soul singer from the 60s singing disco songs in the 70s.

[...] be more like Jim Lee in order to get more work was interesting. I’ve heard about Herb Trimpe trying a similar tactic and not meeting with much success. I read the interview, found it a little interesting, but still [...]

Is that image of Sue and Johnny springing into action copied from a Tarzan book, replacing a monkey with Johnny?! Coz it sure looks like it to me.

I like how Liefeld’s wolverine has bigger forearms than biceps.

I wonder what he’s been doing?

It’s interesting to note that, according to Jim Shooter, Herb’s earlier stuff wasn’t ‘his’ style either- he had been directed to work ‘Kirby-style’ (at least according to JS)

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