Friday, October 28, 2011

The Anti Gravity Room with Broadway Comics

JayJay Here. Back when Jim and I were working on Broadway Comics a Canadian TV show called The Anti Gravity Room came to film a segment with us. The episode is about how comics are made. I found an old video tape of the show a while back and got it transferred to DVD. It has Rob Liefeld and Ty Templeton. Jim and I are in the middle part (Part 2) of the show. The last part has an interesting bit about how comics are printed.








One little personal aside... the day they filmed this I met and ended up dating the cute sound guy who was working on the show. I later talked him into doing a film he'd been offered called Chasing Amy, though he hadn't heard of Kevin Smith, and I went down to New Jersey to be an extra in one of the convention scenes! I couldn't get our Broadway Comics booth to bring since it was being shipped to a real convention, but I borrowed David and Maria Lapham's Stray Bullets banner and "worked" the booth in the scene. One more connection... I made friends with another extra on the set, an indi comic book guy named Mike Mongillo, who has become an independent film director and I've worked on two of his films, Being Michael Madsen and Welcome to Earth, and designed his web site
My moment of fame. 


OVER THE WEEKEND:  My Final, and Most Intense October Tale

58 comments:

Mister.44 said...

1) The editing and camera work is soooooooooooo 90s.

2) Rob Liefeld is just awful. Why does anyone still give this guy money? How can you draw for 20 years and not get any better?

j said...

LOL in part 3 a giant version of the Cap America boob picture is behind Liefeld

Anonymous said...

Dear Janet & Jim,

Pretty cool videos.

Stéphane Garrelie.

Dave Young said...

I liked Chasing Amy but found it depressing as hell.

Marc Miyake said...

Dear JayJay,

Thanks for posting these videos. I look forward to Jim's (and perhaps even your) reminiscences (and documentation!) about Broadway and the companies before it.

You look so businesslike in the clip! So does Jim.

I've read about comics printing, but I've never seen any part of the process before! Your everyday is my exotic. Your Adventures in DIY Screen Printing blog is the gateway to another world.

Dear Mister .44,

I don't watch TV anymore. How is the editing and camera work different these days?

Tony F. said...

Mr. Shooter,

If I'm not mistaken, your Marvel tenure ended around the same time the company started publishing the works of legendary French artist Jean Giraud a.k.a. "Moebius".

I don't know if you were involved at all with that, but the thing is, 25 years later some of that Moebius material that was in the Marvel/Epic books can not be reprinted in English by "Humanoids Publishing" because of a legal feud between some interested parties.

Humanoids have issued a sort of public plea for help, but I don't see it having any real effect:

http://marvelmasterworksfansite.yuku.com/sreply/484632/HUMANOIDS-SUPER-DELUXE---Incal--Terry-Dodson-s-book


"Many people have asked us during these past years why Humanoids hasn't released the incredible works that Moebius created alone (without Jodorowsky) during his tenure at Metal Hurlant, and that are widely considered not only his best, but some of the most interesting work ever done in the European comics scene.

Well, the answer is simple: unlike the rest of the world, in order to be able to publish these works in English (and in Japanese), Humanoids needs to get a formal approval by Moebius, or to be more precise by Moebius' second wife, Isabelle Giraud, who acts as his business representative. It seems that despite repeated demands during these past years, the English speaking territories are not a significant concern of theirs. It is an unfortunate and very frustrating situation for us just as it is for many, many English language readers worldwide. There is nothing more we can do on our end, BUT we encourage you to launch a petition addressed to Moebius directly in order to get his attention to this real issue. Maybe with your help, we can make the english speaking territories a concern to all those involved."

Additional information:

http://web.archive.org/web/20071026095613/http://comicbookshopper.com/CBEM_2001/CBEM-305.TXT

Scroll down to:
LOFFICIER FILES SUIT AGAINST GIRAUD, WIVES!

STARWATCHER IMPLODES!

http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2011/04/02/moebius-on-his-art-fading-eyesight-and-legend-i-am-like-a-unicorn/#IDComment176519659


Anyway, my question for you is: do you have any advice for Humanoids on this subject, or any opinion about it? Thanks in advance.

Defiant1 said...

Several thoughts come to mind:

1) Stan Lee says "The torch has passed." Well, it susequently went out.

2) Rob Liefeld featured in front of the worst piece of art he's ever done... AWESOME. Perfect timing.

3) That Broadway colorist knows her craft. I should buy some of her color artwork.

4) I never saw "Chasing Amy", but i did go to an advanced screening of "Mallrats" and get some promotional trading cards for the release.

5) How in the hell can a collector get minty fresh "10.0" comic books if that guy at the printer fill the box with such callous disregard for their condition. They need to slow this process down, wear disposable white gloves good for one usage, and encase each one in a titanium strengthened case that resists all external forces. I would suggest a tilt sensor on the side so collectors know the comic has always been laid flat.

6) It's nice to see the printing press scenes. I was looking to see if the Heidelberg brand was on anything. We used to build the control equipment for a lot of their products. Seems like the company is now called Goss... not sure. We just make it happen. I never see what happens after that.

jimshooter said...

Dear Tony F.,

I was somewhat involved with getting the Moebius EPIC series started, but Archie Goodwin did all the real work. Not long after the books started coming out, I ran into Jean Giraud at a convention. He thanked me for helping enable the project, said some very complimentary things to me, gave me a copy of the first book and autographed it for me.

I'm not qualified to advise anyone involved about the current dispute. In my opinion, however, it's a sad thing that the work in question is not available in English speaking territories.

Defiant1 said...

Youtube clips of "Inside the Tower" are collected here:

http://www.angelfire.com/comics/defiant/Defiant_AV_Page.html

JayJayJackson said...

Aww, Defiant1, now I'm so homesick for Defiant. We had such a great time. Dark Dominion was such a great book, I loved working on that. And wasn't Joe James just a cool cat in that video under Grand Central?! He's still just like that, too. lol.

Defiant1 said...

Memories of DEFIANT evoke strong emotions from all the creators who worked there. I've communicated with quite a few. There are sentimental reaction countered with the memories of it ending. Best & Worst of times scenario.

Jay C said...

I have a question that maybe Jim or other well informed people can answer, and their is a Defiant tie-in.

It is regarding the names of the creative team being on the cover.

DC was doing it at on a lot of their books least as far back as Jim's days of being EiC of Marvel. I know I've seen them on books from 84. I don't think Marvel even started doing it until . . . I don't know, 1997? Late 90s? I'm pretty sure they trailed DC by a decade or more.

Was this ever a source of controversy within Marvel? Did creators ever get mad that their names weren't on covers like they were at DC?

I noticed that there were no names on the front of books from Defiant or Broadway. Broadway I can understand easily due to the team of writers, that would be a lot of names!

thanks,

Jay C

jimshooter said...

Putting the names of creators on the covers didn't seem necessary or of any particular benefit while I was at Marvel. If lots of creators had lobbied for it, I guess I would have considered it. A little bit more cover-clutter, but no big deal. I don't recall anyone bringing it up. We were already winning big. The Direct Market customers were already acutely aware of who the creators on each book were, and they were the savvy ones who cared.

Jerry Bonner said...

This site is for all you Liefeld lovers out there: http://www.progressiveboink.com/archive/robliefeld.html

Funny stuff.

While those videos contain a great amount of interesting information, they make me long for the early versions of MTV's "Real World." And I'm not so sure that's a good thing...

Anonymous said...

I agree Dark Dominion was awesome.

Defiant overall was pretty cool.

As a Claremont fan i also tried Prudence & Caution. I understand the concept was Jim's (which is fine), and Chris got only two issues, which wasn't much to develop it. So,we ended with a relatively average book. The art though, was for me the occasion to discover a new artist: This is were i first saw the work of Jim Fern. Jim Fern isn't a big name, but he is a pretty good artist.


Stéphane Garrelie.

Anonymous said...

Were where wair whair whrm wrr grrr.!!!

That where/were typo is probably the most constant thing in my posts. Has been for years.

Stéphane.

Sonofspam said...

Canadian tv shows seem pretty cool maybe even cooler than most of the u.s stuff.

If this is supposed to be a kids show? it's really well done it doesn't seem as condescending as a lot of them.


As far as Rob Liefeld i'm not a fan of his work and thankfully i missed the whole 90's comics scene... but he does look and seem like a big kid and maybe that's why there are so many interviews with him? a lot of comic creators are not camera friendly and he comes across as a decent guy here.

Anonymous said...

The reason why there's so many show with Rob Liefeld is that in the first 2/3 of the 90s he was a huge name.

My take on his art is that it may not be artisticaly good, but it is fun, entertaining.
I liked it on New Mutants with Louise Simonson writing, i found it sometime odd and maybe bad but still fun on X-Force with Fabian Nicieza.
At that point i still thought that with work Liefeld could become pretty good.

I was interrested to see what that Image new line would be like. To just speak of Liefeld, i found it really unoriginal.

Soon it became obvious that working on improving his art wasn't one of his objectives.

I still enjoy Liefeld's art and every 4 or 5 years i buy a comicbook drawn by him and enjoy it. It may be every 7 years or so, but you get the point.

I intend to try his Hawk & Dove DCnu series, after all it is writen by someone who did some good stories on Supergirl if i remember well.

Stéphane Garrelie.

ja said...

Sonofspam said: "As far as Rob Liefeld i'm not a fan of his work and thankfully i missed the whole 90's comics scene... but he does look and seem like a big kid and maybe that's why there are so many interviews with him? a lot of comic creators are not camera friendly and he comes across as a decent guy here."

When Liefeld first started, he did the smart thing and called that hotline that was set up for the Spike Lee Levis 501 Jeans commercials ('What do YOU do in your Levis 501s?'), and was subsequently on one of those spots. He's telegenic, so why not? It seemed to be the start of a whole new comic book superstar: someone who can communicate through the medium of television.

However, Liefeld just never backed that promise up with any substance. He did an appearance on the old Dennis Miller syndicated talk show, handing out copies of Youngblood #1 to everyone in the audience. It seemed as if Liefeld couldn't form a cohesive thought, to save his life. In any interview since, he talks like he draws: simplistically, with great difficulty.

He's a half-assed rice cake.

It's fun to read his interviews when he talks politics, too. He sputters the same kind of crap that one of those dumb blond Fox News anchors blurts out every day.

Like I've said before, and I'll say it until the end of time: Rob Liefeld cannot draw the paper bag that he cannot draw his way out of, unless Jim Lee or Arthur Adams shows him how to do it first!

Anonymous said: "My take on his [Liefeld's] art is that it may not be artistically good, but it is fun, entertaining." You mean, like in the way that Ed Wood's film career wasn't artistically good, but it was fun, entertaining in the way things are when they are just SO VERY BAD?

Then sure, I'd agree with that.

Rice cake.

uncannyderek.com said...

JayJay,

Chasing Amy is one of my favourite films. I've seen it a bazillion times (give or take). I cannot get over that you were in it! That's incredible! Now I'll have to point you out as an Easter Egg to all of my friends. (No offense!)

I also love finding out new things about films I thought I "knew everything" about.

Thanks again for working so hard on this blog. It really makes my day!

- Derek

Anonymous said...

Nope.

I mean anatomic absurdities, bad page layout, but still dynamic art done in a perosnal style.
I'll go so far as adding good looking, when the absurdities aren't TOO obvious.


Stephane.

Anonymous said...

In theory Liefeld is easily reproductible, but actually, imitations of Liefeld rarely look good.


Stephane.

gn6196 said...

Liefeld has his faults but he puts the asses in the seats. I believe everything he does for the big 2, jumps in orders.There's a reason he gets work.

Teddy said...

About the Anti-Gravity room. It was a show produced on YTV, a Canadian version of Nickelodeon. One of the hosts Phil was a huge VJ for the kids. Even though the editing and the style of camerawork were kind of cheese, this was the first show I've ever seen that was devoted to comics and sci fi. It came on friday at 9 or 8 pm. I can't remember, but it did good for a while. I just can't believe I never saw that episode with Jim on it, but I would have been too young to even know.

JediJones said...

Here is the Spike Lee Levis 501 Rob Liefeld commercial. It's still just about the coolest commercial for jeans I've ever seen. Youngblood #1 is also still the worst comic book I've ever read. Funny, the Spikeman character (not Sparkman) that Liefeld draws resembles the winner of the Masters of the Universe Create-A-Character contest from the '80s, Fearless Photog.

ja said...

gn6196 said: "Liefeld has his faults but he puts the asses in the seats. I believe everything he does for the big 2, jumps in orders.There's a reason he gets work."

As I understand it, Liefeld only puts a small extra numbers of asses in the seats. But in this era of the woefully low print runs, apparently an extra 10,000-20,000 copies sold is a significant number to 'rationalize' hiring such a shitty comic book 'drawer' (sorry, I can't call him an artist).

Still doesn't excuse DC (or anyone) hiring Liefled. And yes, I say this while recognizing that some people seem to like his work, no matter what. I just wouldn't want to be associated with such crap.

Anonymous said...

Mmm... you protest too much..
I wonder...

Stéphane.

William said...

I like how in the Levi's 501 commercial, Spike Lee asks Liefeld if he ever had any formal art training, and Liefeld says "No".

Really? Because I would never have guessed that.

ja said...

Stéphane,

I know you are, but what am I?

Like you, I'm giving my opinions. I don't mind when you give yours, even when I totally disagree.

I don't protest too much. I blather on about things as much as you or anyone else does. Watch out where you direct your pseudo criticism, especially when you're doing the same thing as everyone else here does.

=)

davidmillerstudios said...

I remember watching the Anti-Gravity Room segment when it first aired.

Good times, good times.

Mister.44 said...

RE: Rob Liefeld

I remember the 501 ad. I don't know exactly how that helped make him a golden boy - but I guess he was for awhile.

Rob Liefeld (LIE-feld) is sort of like Santa Claus. You think hes cool and awesome and can do wonderful things, and then one day you grow up enough and say, "Heeeyyyy. Wait a minute - this guy isn't real. He's a big fat phony who sucks!"

I started with his run in New Mutants and kept going with X-Force and into Youngblood. It was as X-Force was plodding along that my admiration for him started to wane. I liked his style, but more and more often his exaggerations and idiosyncrasies went from being interesting to annoying. I think part of his appeal for me was that I could draw nearly as well. I guess he gave me hope that hey, maybe someday I could do this.

But as I got older and drew more I realized just how bad he was. Just... bad. I think when he was trying harder he made it at least interesting. But later he was phoning it in. I remember he was going to take a 6 month break after leaving Marvel. I thought, "Hey - maybe he will take some art courses at a junior college or something." Nope.

Youngblood #1 came out - and like lots of other idiots, I bought it and others. I mean - his complete lack of attention to detail was just amazing. Worse, his mistakes were highlighted by the colorist properly coloring objects that were not drawn (such as bands on the forearms.)

OK - fast forward to today. I saw he did the new Hawk and Dove reboot. Why? From the preview I saw he is just as bad as before! Surely he doesn't have the clout behind his name during the early days of Image.

Finally - I just don't understand how someone can do something for so long and not seem to make any improvements.

Bosch Fawstin said...

C'Mon, guys, you have to admit that "How to Draw Comics the Rob Liefeld Way" would be the answer for wanna be comic book artists.

William said...

Mister 44 said... "I think part of his appeal for me was that I could draw nearly as well. I guess he gave me hope that hey, maybe someday I could do this."

Man, I think you hit the nail on the head there. I'm pretty sure that's the reason I used to "like" his art as well. I was actually in art school around that time, and I was like "Hell, if this guy can get work at Marvel, then there's hope for me too."

Back then, I didn't seem to notice, but these days, I can't look at his stuff without seeing all the glaring mistakes like bad anatomy, bad perspective, lack of attention to detail, etc.

But, that being said, his art does have a definite, recognizable style and energy to it. And there must be something about it that appeals to someone, because he keeps getting work at Marvel and DC. Go figure.

ja said...

Liefeld keeps getting work at companies, which goes to Jim Shooter's consistent theme of terrible editors committing bad acts upon the comics industry.

gn6196 said...

Most of the posters here will not buy a liefeld comic but the 10,000-20,000 that will matter to DC and Marvel. Why does the movie industry keep releasing SAW movies? Because as terrible as the last 4 were, people keep buying tickets. The major comic companies are in it to make money.

bmcmolo said...

Thanks for that link, Jerry B - haven't seen that in a few years and it brought back a laugh.

I honestly never understood why or how Liefeld appeals to anyone, much less enough people to sustain a career. I can't even look at his stuff - it's just terrible. I really feel it is utterly indefensible. But just goes to show how subjective this stuff is. Give me Johnny Craig and Alex Toth (or Cameron Stewart or Jordi Bernet) any day.

Anonymous said...

gn6196,

Most of the posters here don't deserve Liefeld.
): Not even me. ):

Stéphane.

gn6196 said...

Do you mean deserve to be SUBJECTED to Liefeld?

JediJones said...

Hawk and Dove #1 ranked 41st out of the 52 new DC titles in September with 38,065 copies sold. Omac #1 was at the bottom with 33,581 copies. Batman #1 was at the top with 188,420 copies. Hawk and Dove #1 ranked #68 overall. In the previous month, it would've ranked #44 overall with that number. 19 of the New 52 titles sold at least 50% more copies than Hawk and Dove #1.

It seems like it ranked where it did just based on character popularity (the 11 titles under it pretty much seem like lesser known characters). Even if you assume it would have sold at the bottom of the pack down with Omac #1 without Liefeld's name on it, Liefeld's name only helped add on another 5,000 copies above that.

Gary M. Miller said...

Hmm, now I'm hearing mentions of Defiant all over again. Unless I miss my guess, JayJay, I think you and Dave Lapham were out in Scottsdale, AZ around the release of WARRIORS OF PLASM #1 at Bowe & Board. I'm confident I have signed copies of the book from that event around here somewhere. Small world, if I'm remembering right.

(The funny part about remembering that is that it was my first time visiting the Phoenix metro area. Many years later, I'm now living here!)

Oh, the stories I could tell about my friends and I going to Monroeville Mall to see "Chasing Amy"...

Alas, what memories are recalled when visiting this site!

~G.

gn6196 said...

It's funny, I loved Valiant and Broadway comics but never really enjoyed Defiant. The only book that I thought was interesting was Wardancer.

Defiant1 said...

Defiant seemed to suffer while the lawsuit was going on. A distraction? Only Jim can answer that. Things were starting to gel right before the shutdown. My favorite series was actually Dogs of War because it was more down to Earth. I don't think I've ever seen a series like it. I think I own 50% or more of the original art or more for the entire series.

gn6196 said...

Yeah, I don't remember the art being so good either. I really enjoyed Broadway comics. Really sad when that went away. Any chance of recovering those characters?

Defiant1 said...

The reproduction of the artwork that worked so well at Valiant did not work so well at Defiant. I believe it was a different brand copier or something. Then again, I think modern reproduction of artwork is pretty poor these days.

Pete said...

There's no better blog on comics. This is like getting to sit next to Jim Shooter on a long bus ride. Thanks Jim and JJ

Mister.44 said...

Re: Liefeld's name bringing in sales and making SAW movies because they sell

Both good points, but how many more books would they sell if they had a well known GOOD artist?

How many more tickets to SAW 14 would sell if it was a GOOD film, not just a phoned in sequel?

jimshooter said...

Dear gn6196,

The Broadway characters are owned, I believe, by Classic Media, which also owns the DEFIANT characters, the Dell/Gold Key characters, the Lone Ranger, Lassie and many more. Eric Ellenbogen, a friend, runs CM. I suspect that if I ever had a way to use any of those characters, Eric and I could work something out.

Defiant1 said...

My understanding is that Alan Weiss owns Wardancer.

Moped said...

I have never heard Jim speak before watching these videos, his voice is distinctly less eeevil or maniacal than I expected it to sound given the crap he gets. Thanks for the videos JJ

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Rob Liefeld and Defiant... whatever happend to the "Crossover of Creators" that was talked about at the time, where Jim Shooter would write a Youngblood storyline and Rob Liefeld would do some artwork for Defiant?

If I remember correctly Rob Liefeld had a cameo in the first issue of the Good Guys.

Slentz said...

RE: Rob Liefeld

Looking back at Liefeld's body of work...it's horrible! yet when I talk to my buddies that were were 14-15 years old when that stuff first came out, they loved it. They weren't looking at how he drew or did not draw feet. They were looking at how big and cool that gun looked that Cable was carrying. Not all comics are aimed at adults. Liefeld was drawing comics for teens...

Orbitalshift said...

Please, by all means, get the rights to the Defiant and Broadway characters and continue their stories. Even if its just writing short stories for the blog here. Those universes were fantastic. I miss them so much.

Hope beyond hope would be you teaming up with David Lapham to continue Fatale. Maybe Dark Horse would be interested in such a project.

Defiant1 said...

David Lapham on Fatale? Why not J.G. Jones? Mr. Jones' work improved drastically after his stint at Defiant.

I spent some time and a chunk of money trying to reconstruct some of the unpublished books, but found it to be too daunting of a task. Creators were more interested in selling a page at a time for well above the going rate after I showed interest. It seemed a little stupid to create a collector market for the artwork just so I could pay two or three times more and make my goal unreachable. Sigh.

If anyone wants to locate all the Makeshift pages that would've gone to Dick Giordano, I have all the pages Tim Hamilton owned. I also have copies of the scripts to Makeshift #1-#3. I think all the art for #1 & #2 was completed. The art for #3 had only begun. I have the cover pencils to #3.

Defiant1 said...

By the way, if anyone wants to see a large portion of my art collection featuring mostly Defiant & Broadway art, here is a link:

http://www.comicartfans.com/GalleryDetail.asp?GCat=42282

Most of the images are scanned in two passes and stitched together by me with a method I learned on my own. .

(No, my name is not Dirk... but I own everything except one piece there which I gave away to someone online.)

jimshooter said...

Dear Anonymous,

I got to know Rob a little through Chuck Rozanski, who had a Mega-store in Anaheim, not far from Rob's studio. I even played basketball with Chuck's crew and Rob's guys, though at that time I had pretty bad knee trouble (had surgery shortly thereafter) and couldn't really keep up. Rob and I talked about a couple of ideas but, aside from his cameo in the Good Guys (in Chuck's store, BTW), nothing ever came of it.

Rob seems like a nice guy. He told me his favorite comic book was an issue of Avengers I wrote, #161, I think. It featured Ant-Man and Ultron.

Jay C said...

This might seem a dumb question, Jim, but here goes . . .

Could you ever dunk?

Chris said...

Jay C,

My bet is yes. My neighbor growing up was 6'7" and was not the athletic type, but when we could lure him onto the court, he could dunk with two hands. He didn't have to jump very high, and it made the under 6' crowd very jealous.

jimshooter said...

Dear Jay C,

When I was young, high school and twenties, I could dunk behind my head with both hands. That was a long time and 60 pounds ago.