It’s Liefeld time!!!!!

So, while I patiently wait for the 2nd volume of Artgerm's Superbelle to get delivered (went on sale a couple of weeks ago and sold out in days), I thought I would take a look at my sketchbook collection and write an article about another one of them … it's been a while since the last one.

Rob Liefeld 2004 Sketchbook cover

Rob Liefeld 2004 Sketchbook cover

Why Liefeld? I am not sure, to be honest … For those of us who were kids when he started getting noticed, I think he is a very special case. I remember reading Hawk & Dove when the Spanish edition came out and loving the art. I remember when he got onto New Mutants (by this time I was already collecting the US versions) and his work was spectacular. But somewhere between X-Force and Youngblood he became a parody of himself, probably due to the lack of a writer and editorial restraint. By that time, however, it was already too late, I was hooked.

20 years (and a myriad of unfinished projects) later I have learned what to expect from Liefeld: unparalleled enthusiasm for a new project (which will be rumored to be sold to Hollywood before it's even printed), a first issue that introduces a set of mysterious characters (where at least one of them comes from the future) and the same Liefeld art, which is not better or worse than it ever was. I find all of this amusing, probably against my better judgment but, hey, I am a comic reader, we all got our mental problems, right?

So, that's why Liefeld … I figured I would feature a couple of fun pieces from the sketchbook and then mention a couple of Liefeld books that are not very common and have some historical importance.

Did you know that Eazy-E and Liefeld started working on a book together? Also, it's exactly what you pictured in your mind when you read that sentence:

Easy-E & Rob Liefeld

Eazy-E & Rob Liefeld … Who said he couldn't draw feet?

NWG (Nuns with Guns) and with that name I am kind of hoping it was also the product of those meetings with NWA's Eazy-E. Nuns and schoolgirls, the Liefeld way, and that too, exactly what you thought:

Nuns & Schoolgirls

Nuns & Schoolgirls

Then there's a bunch of character designs for lots of projects that never came out (the Bible-revamp Testament complete with mecha-Goliath, some Youngblood, some Re-Gex, …). Again, not world-changing stuff, but kinda fun stuff … It should be easy to find and cheap too, so if you like Liefeld, you have no excuse.

The other 2 books I wanted to mention are not very well-known and if you like Liefeld or just a serious collector, you might be interested in them …

Right after he was kicked out of the Heroes Reborn reboot (which then became an event and was quickly forgotten), it looks like Rob and writer Jeph Loeb took the ideas he had already developed for Captain America, changed a few details and decided to publish it as Agent: America.

Agent: America Preview Cover

Agent: America Preview Cover

Unsurprisingly, Marvel had a problem with that and threatened to sue, so Liefeld (in a genius move) bought Kirby-created Fighting American and published those stories using that character. The only published material before the name change is a 16-page preview, which features a couple of ads and a Stephen Platt art preview that ended up appearing in the first issue of Awesome's Fighting American.

Agent America Ad

Agent America Ad

And, finally, Millar and Liefeld's Youngblood: Bloodsport #2 Bootleg Edition.

Youngblood: Bloodsport #2 Bootleg Cover

Youngblood: Bloodsport #2 Bootleg Cover

This book is basically a WIP edition of Youngblood: Bloodsport #2. That would make this book a mere anecdote had the issue come out, but as it didn't / hasn't (won't? There's not a lot of info on whether it ever will), this book suddenly becomes a lot more relevant.

Including completed pages, rough pencils for others and just the script on a few, the book was meant as a look at the creative process and a quick way to make some cash for Arcade, which was going through financial difficulties. In any case, this edition is the only one out there so far (if I remember correctly there was a George Pérez variant cover too, but I have never seen it).

Here are 3 pages in the different states they appear on the book:

There you go, I know Liefeld can be quite polarizing as an author, but he's a lot more fun than people give him credit for! Hope you all enjoyed the article or at least didn't gouge your eyes out!!!

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