In a now-deleted tweet, Rob Liefeld posted the art form an upcoming variant cover of his, exclusive on the WhatNot app on the 5th of October. It's based on his cover to New Mutants #98 over thirty years ago.
But the cover was going viral, and it caught the attention of creator Don Simpson, who drew Megaton Man comics and 1963 at Image Comics back in the day, saw Megaton Man run in Rob Liefeld's Asylum comic from Maximum Press, and now is biting the hand that once fed him decades ago. He wrote on Facebook;
Don Simpson: Folks, the American comic book is officially dead. This is the worst POS I've ever seen in my life…
He added a few comments amongst the over 400 posts that have been added since.
I've seen a lot of bad art, student art, and so on. But what is conceptually hard to process is this is somehow "professional." Yikes. The playground argument is always, "You're just jealous!" Yeah, I'm jealous — I sure wish I had drawn this drawing!
Back in the day, I actually visited Extreme Studios in Anaheim, within a stone's through of the stadium, at the invitation of Larry Marder (at the time, Extreme and Image Central were one and the same, or in the same space). I ducked my head into Rob's cubbyhole with his drawing board and all, no distinct memories of it — Rob wasn't in that day — there were a few Sharpie sketches on the drawing board. Larry said to me afterward, "You can't tell anybody what you saw." I asked, "What did I see?" They were the concept sketches for Captain America, and I couldn't even recognize them. So, yeah, I can keep a secret! Especially when what I'm looking at doesn't even register on a perceptual level.
That's all I'm saying. I'm a worthless hack and a never-was (it's too kind to call me a has-been); I clearly have no regard for my artistic and professional superiors, and you're right. I completely blew it! And yet I'm somehow convinced that this may be single worst image of Spider-Man ever drawn by a so-called professional artist — let alone published by Marvel Comics. (How insane is that?)
There were a few back and forths too.
Dan Fraga: It's a fun cover. Comics are fun. Not dead
Don Simpson: Oh, Dan …
Dan Fraga: I understand your POV on this, as I've felt similarly with certain aspects of music these days. That said, comics are part of Pop. This is pure pop. I can appreciate it on that level. Side bar: if I've not yet, I thank you for taking me to my first Primanti's.
Don Simpson: You're thanked me countless times, Dan! My idea of pure pop would be a 70s Archie comic (which typically displayed superior draftsmanship to most things in this century, btw)
Dan Fraga: I know. I'm just that grateful. re:Archie being pop. It's all subjective.
Brad Linder: Like him or don't, like his style or don't. Clearly, he has always had anatomy issues and it is his to own…however, grow the hell up and stop bitching about everyone else's successes you envy and flaws you don't like and embrace overcoming your own hypocrisy for the guys that founded the company you so love to hate on. They published Megaton Man for a good while, didn't they?
Stop whining like a baby and work harder to improve your own reach and book interest.
Stop bitching and do the work…imagine if you put all that effort into drawing pages instead of ripping on these guys. It changes nothing to complain, short of proving how immature and envious you are as a wannabe but, continue to do nothing about it but a book or two a ' year '…come on man.
" I wanna be better than Rob Liefeld…I can draw circles around him…I'm so under-rated and nobody buys my books! "
Dude, stop bitching and do a regular book people can count on and stop adding to the real " death of comics" , which is guys like you constantly moaning about not being successful and never about the true reason being they don't do the work to make it.
J.M. Hunter: I don't enjoy punching down in artists anymore but Don still has it. When I think of parodying Super Heroes it's usually Don's work that comes to mind. Love his work, and would love to learn from him! My wife and I finally got to meet him at Gem City!
Don Simpson: Jim Valentino and Larry Marder and Erik Larsen had everything to do with my work being published at Image; Rob, very little, even under Maximum Press. Even if I owed everthing to Rob, that wouldn't make this a good drawing, and it certainly wouldn't prohibit me from expressing an honest opinion. As for my going back to college and getting a PhD in art history — and that's what killed comics — that seems a little oversimplistic historically, but I'll take that as a compliment!
But you're right, I'll stop whining like a baby and work on improving my reach and book interest — or at least on developing my IP (although one post on Liefeld has hardly detracted from that effort). And if I don't, you can always unfriend me or block me or, you know, do something else with your life.
Don Simpson: I don't consider this punching down. Rob will probably earn more from this drawing than I will all year (not from Marvel, knowing their stingy rates, but certainly from selling the original). More power to him, nice work if you can get, etc. But, good Lord
Jason Quinones: Let's financially support the overlooked,under appreciated, talented AF (yet humble) hilarious cartoonist who self published his own book, with his own money, (sans any beg for spare change kickstarter nonsense).OR you all can continue to ridicule the multi millionaire who can't draw for shit and doesn't care what you think because he continues to get paid for crap work. Anyone? Anyone? LINK
Scott. A. Story: Not that people will listen, but I am bothered when artists cut each other down. It seems petty and unprofessional. Comic art is subjective, to a degree, but you cannot deny that Rob had a big influence in the industry. His work is full of in-your-face attitude that played well in the 90's. These days we virtually deify Jack Kirby, and we should celebrate his accomplishments, but his anatomy and perspective were highly stylized. The things that elevated Jack's art were kinetic force and revolutionary storytelling. Rob Liefeld is not everyone's cup of tea (and no artist is!), but crapping on him and his accomplishments seems uncalled for. I am not writing this to stir up crap. This is my honest opinion.
But it spread out further across social media.
Mel Smith: This is the worst piece of shit cover I've ever seen in my life so far. I fear to think what he got paid to riff his own piece of shit prior work…….guessing he got $1,700.00. I'd fire that editor.
And still keeps rolling. Don Simpson had time to reflect.
Don Simpson: I never stopped to think how this would turn into a referendum on my completely meaningless career and purposeless life! This has really been an occasion for a reality check … a turning point in my downward spiral into oblivion! Thanks, guys! And yet I still can't get over how bad that Liefeld Spidey drawing is, let alone that someone would bother to color it and publish it …)
Rob Liefeld's reaction? Well, he deleted his original promotional tweet after negative feedback, but is also selling the original artwork right here. For $10,000. I'm sure he'd give a discount to Don for old times' sake. And maybe, just maybe, the fuss will make the WhatNot variant over of… whatever this is a variant cover to sell a lot come the 5th of October. Maybe they can put an acetate cover on top. Of course, this is the only Rob Liefeld cover I can truly appreciate…