Every so often, there are comics creators who change the landscape of the industry forever. You could make a case for including Rob Liefeld in their ranks, based entirely on his role as a co-founder of Image Comics. But even leaving Image out of the discussion, Liefeld has made an indelible impact on comics through the characters he has created. At the recent Wizard World Philadelphia convention, Wizard elected to acknowledge this by naming Liefeld as the inaugural inductee into the newly-established Wizard World Hall of Legends. Established by Wizard in order to “celebrate the artists, writers, and insiders who have built the industry,” the plan is for the Hall of Legends to honor at least one figure from the comics world at each of the many conventions they host every year. As for Mr. Liefeld, mere moments after he left the stage at his induction ceremony, we had the opportunity to speak with him his induction, the twenty-fifth anniversary of Image Comics, and more.
Science Fiction: I’d like to start by congratulating you on your induction into the Hall of Legends.
Rob Liefeld: Oh, thank you sir, thank you!
SF: What went through your head when Wizard first contacted you about that?
RL: I just laughed. You know, I’ve been doing this for thirty years so I recognize that I’m one of the old guys now. Even though I was hired as a teenager, I’m pushing fifty. So it’s just fun to look back and know that I made connections with the fans.
SF: Your characters have definitely connected with a lot of people. In fact, if anything they’ve had a surge of popularity over the past few years, and nowhere is this more apparent than with the success of the Deadpool movie. Why do you think they’ve had that sort of impact?
RL: All the characters that I’ve been involved with are a little bit unconventional, from the characters of ‘Youngblood’ to the characters in ‘X-Force’. And I think they speak truth. Deadpool is who we all think we could be. Take no shit, speak our mind, you know? I think especially in this day and age it’s no secret why he’s blown up. He does anything he wants, whenever he wants. Who doesn’t want that?
SF: Speaking of the Deadpool films, Josh Brolin is bringing another of your favorites to life as Cable.
SF: What do you think of that casting?
RL: Oh, they’ve knocked it out of the park with the casting of Cable and Domino. I cannot wait to see them. They start photography here in about two weeks, so you know, cameras will be officially rolling and my anticipation is off the charts.
SF: And going beyond Cable and Domino, they are setting the stage to finally bring X-Force to the big screen.
RL: I believe that’s the plan, and there should be some announcements shortly to confirm all that.
SF: And what do you hope to see from that movie?
RL: Just that it would be as kick ass as the comics were. It wasn’t too long ago that my buddy Jeph Loeb, who did a run on ‘X-Force’, he goes “You know what I need right now? I need X-Force kicking down the door, kicking ass and taking names. I need that big boot of Cable’s just busting through the door and taking everybody down” and I’m like, “I hear you buddy”. Let’s see that on screen.
RL: Well, we knew we were taking a risk. Anybody who tells you we were doing a surefire thing wasn’t there and doesn’t know what they’re talking about. We knew it was a risk, and we knew that very minimally it would do well. We didn’t know it would be astronomical. All my books run through Image still. And so twenty-five years later, whenever we all get together the funniest thing is that everyone told us we wouldn’t last a year. And here it is twenty-five years later. And it’s still the best deal in comics. If you’re going to publish a creation, Image has never been matched. There’s nothing equal. It’s the best deal for a creator to this day. And that’s what I’m most proud of. Because what we created it for was artistic freedom, and it still represents artistic freedom. They still don’t take a piece of Banana-Man. If you create Banana-Man, you keep Banana-Man. And that’s absolutely amazing in this day and age.
SF: Twenty-five years of Image also means twenty-five years of ‘Youngblood’. How do you plan to celebrate that anniversary?
RL: Well, we relaunched ‘Youngblood’ five weeks ago. It sold out by noon that day. Image called me, and said “We have to go back to press”. And it was a big number, I was shocked. But you know, the fans are there, they love it. And this new version of ‘Youngblood’ is very imaginative. It has great new ideas that build on the great new ideas that launched the book.
SF: Do you have any other upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?
RL: ‘Youngblood’ is a monthly, ‘Brigade’ is coming back, ‘Bloodstrike’ is coming back. ‘Deadpool: Bad Blood’ is in stores now, ‘Cable’ just relaunched, so there’s a lot of Liefeld out there!
For more from Rob Liefeld, including updates on all of his current and future projects, make sure to check out his website and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And while you’re at it, be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on the landmark twenty-fifth anniversary of Image Comics!