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Many of us have been wondering for quite some time, "How on earth did Rob Leifeld get on a creative team with DC's new 52?" "Why is he getting another book after this one got cancelled?" "Does the man work for hugs?"

Well, he left DC last week and it looks like he's slamming the door behind him after he got into a pissing contest with Scott Snyder on Twitter yesterday.

I was on Twitter before Bleeding Cool put out is article and saw a bit of chatter about Leifeld melting down, so I went over to his feed. I don't follow him on there, but its easy enough to find. He was going after Snyder in public tweets, and those screen shots in the article of the Direct message exchanges between the two are from his feed.

His assertion is that Snyder and Greg Capullo don't really matter because its a Batman book and that's why it sells so well. So, the creative team is irrelevant according the Leifeld. Now, I remember when Greg Rucka and Drew Johnson were told the pretty much the same thing about Wonder Woman and the only reason people would buy the book is the Adam Hughes covers, and that came for idiots in editorial. To have this posted up in public by a creator is just staggering. Does he think Deadpool sell like he does just because he's Deadpool? maybe it had something to do with writer's taking his Deathstroke knockoff and writing the hell out of him to make him appeal to an audience.
Liefeld has always been a fascinating creature to me. His work is both iconic and painfully not-great. He's earned the ire of many of his colleagues in the industry, but has managed to stay well above water by using the many strong connections he's made throughout the years. The people that meet him at conventions say he's a nice guy, almost...a simple guy, if you will.

Anyway, this is some pretty interesting stuff. Funny, but not quite a surprise in terms of what Liefeld does.
That's the impression I've gotten from people I know that have met him. The nice guy personality is likely what's kept him in the game for so long. He seemed genuinely shocked that he got a backlash from what he posted.
I was sympathetic to him when it was just him talking about why he left DC thanks to editorial creator-strangling bullshit, but he's just been acting way too childish to hold onto that sympathy. And uh, the dude has no business going after Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. Snyder can actually write, and Greg Capullo can actually draw.
A man can only take so much when he can't draw feet....the feet related stress made him snap.
Vartox's avatar

Versatile Receiver

It's extra weird because for years he was pretty good natured about all the s**t he gets for his art and I've heard he's a really nice guy at cons and stuff and then he flips the ******** out on Twitter. His jabs at Snyder are especially weird, Liefeld actually took pictures of the DMs Snyder sent and he was being perfectly reasonable and rob was responding like an a*****e for no reason ?

I'm a little surprised Mark Waid hasn't weighed in on any of this :U
CelestialChild's avatar

Swashbuckling Gawker

Oh my god, I saw the beginnings of this yesterday and was laughing so hard. What are these people doing?

The comic book industry seems like such a ******** interpersonal mess it's unbelievable.

And this is not to say none of these creators/writers aren't getting screwed over by editorials arbitrary and inconsistent decision making, which seems to be what has Leifeld so pissed in the first place; really that is just more of the problem. With everything we hear, you would think they just wake up one day and issue editorial mandates based on whatever dream they had last night.

The comic book industry needs to get its s**t together.
I don't know if this is a meltdown or more a case of a guy over estimating his place in the industry. I can kinda get what he's saying about characters selling books in the direct market. Having a decent team or creator helps sell the comics but let's face it, what makes Marvel and DC money though? Creators on books that sell maybe a few thousand books that only at most make $400,000 a month? Or characters are in movies, merchandise, and other items that make billions a year? In the greater scheme of Marvel and DC, creators on books don't really matter for companies in this day and age. People didn't go see Avengers because it was a Joss Whedon movie. People went because it was a movie with characters people wanted to see in a movie. In that respect, I think he has a point. If you need more proof, just look at Before Watchmen. They're a series of books being marketed on the basis of the characters with the creators more of an after thought.

Is his attack on Snyder and Capullo really warranted? No, this is unprofessional behaviour. Regardless of the point he's trying to make, Liefeld does not need to attack people to do it outside of the ones he already did.
CelestialChild's avatar

Swashbuckling Gawker

d. morris
I don't know if this is a meltdown or more a case of a guy over estimating his place in the industry. I can kinda get what he's saying about characters selling books in the direct market. Having a decent team or creator helps sell the comics but let's face it, what makes Marvel and DC money though? Creators on books that sell maybe a few thousand books that only at most make $400,000 a month? Or characters are in movies, merchandise, and other items that make billions a year? In the greater scheme of Marvel and DC, creators on books don't really matter for companies in this day and age. People didn't go see Avengers because it was a Joss Whedon movie. People went because it was a movie with characters people wanted to see in a movie. In that respect, I think he has a point. If you need more proof, just look at Before Watchmen. They're a series of books being marketed on the basis of the characters with the creators more of an after thought.

Is his attack on Snyder and Capullo really warranted? No, this is unprofessional behaviour. Regardless of the point he's trying to make, Liefeld does not need to attack people to do it outside of the ones he already did.

In the case of Batman, I definitely agree with all of this. But, for less iconic comic book characters, I think the creative teams behind them tend to hold significant weight over initial reader interest. Not everything, surely, but people figure out which writers are reliable for certain kinds of stories, and will often buy books accordingly.

Edit: UM, to clarify, even Batgirl, for example, they put Gail Simone on her. Gail Simone was respected for her work on Wonder Woman and The Birds of Prey, so attaching her name to the title was very much a calculated decision, I should think. But, yes, I see what you mean that the first prerogative is to launch a title with a character, and the creative team comes second. I only mean that creative teams hold some weight, and more weight when the character less iconic or reliable in terms of name-selling.

Snyder saying his creative team definitely has in impact on Batman's sales does not bother me. Saying his creative team is the only reason Batman sells well - yeah, that's arrogant and silly.
Miss-dark8607's avatar

Dangerous Visionary

CelestialChild
Oh my god, I saw the beginnings of this yesterday and was laughing so hard. What are these people doing?

The comic book industry seems like such a ******** interpersonal mess it's unbelievable.

And this is not to say none of these creators/writers aren't getting screwed over by editorials arbitrary and inconsistent decision making, which seems to be what has Leifeld so pissed in the first place; really that is just more of the problem. With everything we hear, you would think they just wake up one day and issue editorial mandates based on whatever dream they had last night.

The comic book industry needs to get its s**t together.


This. The whole frat house mentality really needs to end NOW! Otherwise we will lose a very important part of our culture and I will really ******** hate to see that. Now one is going to keep buying this s**t if they keep dropping the ball like this. Even the most loyalist of fan will quit DC if they keep this up.
d. morris
I don't know if this is a meltdown or more a case of a guy over estimating his place in the industry. I can kinda get what he's saying about characters selling books in the direct market. Having a decent team or creator helps sell the comics but let's face it, what makes Marvel and DC money though? Creators on books that sell maybe a few thousand books that only at most make $400,000 a month? Or characters are in movies, merchandise, and other items that make billions a year? In the greater scheme of Marvel and DC, creators on books don't really matter for companies in this day and age. People didn't go see Avengers because it was a Joss Whedon movie. People went because it was a movie with characters people wanted to see in a movie. In that respect, I think he has a point. If you need more proof, just look at Before Watchmen. They're a series of books being marketed on the basis of the characters with the creators more of an after thought.


But still, you need a competent creative team on a book, or its not going to sell no matter what character it is. If a Batman comic is being written and drawn by Shawn "Deffiant K" Wood, its going to move some copies due to some people buying everything batman, and 'carcrash' readers, but that book won't be a top seller. No where close. A Batman comic being done by Leifeld himself probably wouldn't do too well.

People went to see The Avengers because of the characters, that's true, but they they went to see it multiple times because Joss Whedon made a great movie.
Kyoujin Tsuru
But still, you need a competent creative team on a book, or its not going to sell no matter what character it is. If a Batman comic is being written and drawn by Shawn "Deffiant K" Wood, its going to move some copies due to some people buying everything batman, and 'carcrash' readers, but that book won't be a top seller. No where close. A Batman comic being done by Leifeld himself probably wouldn't do too well.
I won't argue that if you put someone with basic competence on a book with a recognizable character it will sell. However, when it comes to corporate comics (Marvel and DC) in today's direct market it's not creators that really sell a book. Its always going to be characters. Let's look at this sales chart for last month. If Scott Snyder is the big draw for Batman, why aren't Swamp Thing (which is at number 55) and American Vampire (which is coming in at 142) selling hire? Also there's 3 other Batman books in the top 20 (Detective Comics, Batman the Dark Knight, and Batman and Robin) that seem to sit in the top 20 on a regular basis according to sales charts. Those three books aren't written by Scott Snyder but seem to do well on their own. This isn't meant to say that Scott Snyder is writing a bad book but again you put a competent team on a well established Intellectual Property like Batman, the character will still be the thing that sells the book in the direct market.

Kyoujin Tsuru
People went to see The Avengers because of the characters, that's true, but they they went to see it multiple times because Joss Whedon made a great movie.
Again I disagree. No one went to see Avengers because it was a Joss Whedon movie. They went because they liked the characters from previous Marvel films and Joss Whedon happened to make a movie that was in line with those movies. Joss Whedon made a competent film that was populated by actors who portrayed characters interestingly (this also worked for that awful J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie). I see people talking a lot more about the characters than any sort of discussion happening about Joss Whedon's uh "skillful" direction and uh "creative vision" for the film.
Miss-dark8607's avatar

Dangerous Visionary

Well I like J.J. Abrams movies emo His my pick if they really do green light the JLA. Fight fire with fire I say.
You can't separate out the two.

Here are Batman's numbers for the last 6 months (I'm not including ranking since that's not important to my point).

June - 130,265
May - 134,605
April - 130,602
March - 127,402
February - 128,459
January - 130,492

Those numbers are two things that are hard to find in the comics industry, especially at the same time: High. And stable.

Are there more Batman books in the top 10 or 20? Yes. They sell 50k fewer than Snyder's book and then go down from there. This time last year the top selling Batman book sold 62,792. The six month block I listed, in that same block last year the highest selling Batman book was Batman Incorporated 6, a comic by a man for whom people do buy his comics just because he wrote them. And that issue sold 65,315.

It would be wrong to say that the fact that it's Batman doesn't have anything to do with how high the comic sells. Batman sells because it's Batman. But Batman doesn't sell 130k books every month consistently because he's Batman. They put a "competent" team on the book and then of course the team helps push the numbers. This team isn't helping to push the numbers "just a little," because the next top selling DC book for last month is still selling 30,000 less than Snyder's Batman. Synder can very well say that his team is one of the reasons Batman sells so well because it is.

Are people thinking, "oh Scott Snyder is on this book, I have to try it?" No, they're probably thinking, "wow, the writing on this book is really good I have to keep reading this." Either way, the writer is still one of the main reasons they're coming back.

They don't have to know his name or even read his other books for that to be true.

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