By Todd Allen

If you haven’t been following Rob Liefeld’s Twitter feed, you are missing out.  Rob quit his DC books yesterday and has been Tweeting about the New 52 experience steadily since then.  Why is he doing it?  In Rob’s own words:

Although a bit earlier, he’d Tweeted:

And you know what? If you thing somebody’s going to spin you in a bad light, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting out ahead of the spin. What follows seems to be Rob’s unvarnished perspective on what was going on at DC. Judging by the stream, there are even a few creators nodding their heads. And it certainly lines up with other stories, like George Perez talking about editorial… we’ll be kind and call them “contributions” to his brief run on Superman. Rob on why he left:

Rob on Editors:

There’s a lot of things you hear whispers about directly discussed.  There’s even discussion about overseas outsourcing of art.

Definitely worth strolling over to Twitter, where Rob’s holding court and essentially interviewing himself one Tweet at a time.  Fascinating stuff.  And yes, he _is_ controlling his own news.


  1. Perhaps if everyone at DC quit at the same time we might get something really started…mass exodus of artists and writers would probably equal mass exodus of fans as well. If they all called in sick on the same day how many weeks or months would that put DC back….two…four weeks….two…four months? I’ve made no attempt to hide my displeasure with DC before and after the NEW 52 and I know a lot of guys who feel the same way…what we need is a serious change at DC from the top down…get in new blood on all fronts…management…editorial…writing and art…let some new voices in and then let them speak…its that simple.

    It would sure as hell make for some better would have to…the current pros just can’t work with the snot bags they have looking over their shoulders.

  2. Is that A bridge I smell burning? A freelancer may be able to fire as many editors as he wants, but it only takes one editor to black ball you.

  3. No doubt Rob does not care what I think but he just looks like an ass.

    The reality is that when you work for DC or Marvel (or any big corporation) the boss gets what he wants. He sounds like a whiny puke who wanted his own way on books that he does not own, characters he does not own etc…etc…

    I am not saying he doesn’t have the right to quit or even badmouth DC but it seems like the recent exodus is “creators” who can’t grasp they don’t own the books they work on and have to report to somebody.

    And honestly, who on earth likes his art anyway? I doubt DC is losing sleep over this one.

  4. Fascinating stuff, but I do think the last tweet you passed along has things a bit backwards. Maybe if you’re “A” list, the editors work for you, but the fact of the matter is (at least in my experience of being Married To It) that most work-for-hire writers and artists work for the company, and thus the editor as representative of the company. They don’t work for themselves, they don’t even work to serve the story or the fans (although most hope that’s the by-product of their efforts). They work for the company/editor, period. And no matter how frustrating the situation may get, they know this going in.

  5. This should be far less about Rob and what you think of him and more about the ongoing complaints about DC editorial. The idea that freelancers (any freelancers) should take shit from unreasonable, moderately talented editors is like wishing we could go back to the sweatshop model. There are plenty of high-profile, super-talented creators at DC (still, incredibly) who have been saying all the same stuff Rob is saying. Is it any less valid because Rob is saying it? Grant Morrison is leaving – he has (had) a huge contract and was widely regarded as the DC golden boy internally. If Morrison told you the same story would you say he’s a douche?

  6. I have NO problem with creators bailing on a book because they don’t like the editorial direction. Yes, last minute changes are asked of writers (and less often, pencilers).

    But even if he is an ass, it’s an assinine idea to attack your editor by name. In the same sense that it’s bad form for me to attack my fellow creators on a book. Then the story isn’t about what was done wrong on the book, it’s the story of how I attacked a fellow creator, full stop.

    Same goes for me giving a bad review to a comic book, as a pretty well known comic artist. There are LOTS of comics I can’t stand, but if I attack a book the story isn’t about how the book is bad. The story is how I crushed the hopes and dreams of a team of creators trying to turn something OK into something great.

    I don’t agree with everything at DC (where I’m currently working exclusive), and I won’t stop you from dumping on them. But they are mostly fighting the good fight to make comics worth putting their names on, despite interference from their bosses. And some of them are succeeding. If Rob or I attack an editor, it’s no more fair than me attacking a small publisher’s new book. I’m a public figure attacking someone on the fringe, editors rarely get interviewed or free press.

  7. Rob Liefeld – the BIGGEST HACK IN THE BUSINESS – had the balls to say THIS???

    “Even if it meant standing up for mediocre talent that phoned his work in and missed deadlines by a mile.”


  8. Given what Superman, Batman, and the other DC heroes are, there are at least two types of editors, not counting those who serve as traffic managers. One type would see the heroes as products with great brand names— the Superman brand, the Batman brand, etc.—and insist on the creators producing material which don’t sully the brand names or confuse consumers. They’re less interested in stories than they are in promotional material and meeting deadlines. They wouldn’t be pleasant to work for, but they’d probably be predictable.

    Another type would be more of a story editor. He’d be concerned with continuity, the heroism of the heroes, whether a story worked, whether the heroes were introduced properly, providing jumping-on points for new readers, etc. Even if he discouraged unconventional approaches to storytelling in favor of formulas, and stories oriented toward lowest-common-denominator-readers, a creator should be able to discuss matters with him, and find out what his preferences and limits are.

    One problem with event-oriented material is that an editor’s freedoms are diminished. A Marvel or DC event is as much a product, or more, than it is a storyline. If a writer has to suspend an ongoing storyline, or write a story based on an assigned subject to tie in with the event, he is manufacturing a product. Neither he nor his editor has leeway to do much else.

    The problems creators have with editors probably wouldn’t be nearly as significant, if the focus was on individual series, with creators merely having to make sales goals and satisfy their individual editors. When pressure is coming down from above to get sales up, to set up events, and to keep events moving smoothly, everyone lower down in the hierarchy will feel the pressure.

    I can’t imagine anyone at DC being sympathetic to Liefeld’s tweets. Unless he’s ready to leave DC himself, the tweets will just piss him off.


  9. All creative collaborations should be collaborations, the kind where neither party ever has to pull rank or put their foot down.

    But if it has to come down to it, whoever cashes the check is working for whomever writes the check.

  10. >>>No doubt Rob does not care what I think but he just looks like an ass.

    Well, if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck….

    >>>Rob Liefeld – the BIGGEST HACK IN THE BUSINESS – had the balls to say THIS???
    “Even if it meant standing up for mediocre talent that phoned his work in and missed deadlines by a mile.”


    Who DIDN’T know the moment they announced Liefeld as more than anything other than “artist” for H&D (i assumed it was for old-times sake) that the NuDC had taken ANY shred of credibility it had, threw it on the floor, pulled out its pecker, pissed on it, pulled down its pants… well… and so on?

  11. Work at Marvel, quit, then complain about it. Make and publish your own comics then fail and blame the fans and others. Work at DC, quit, and then complain about it. I think I see a pattern forming. What a tool.

  12. Gene Ha said it best and he would know.

    Rob Liefield, on the other hand, is not wrong.

    That said, I’m counting the minutes before DC finally admits that not only do they not know what they’re doing NOW, they never had any idea what they were doing and are just relieved that it’s over.

    Hopefully, the film division of Warner will pick up the slack OH WAIT

  13. “Work at Marvel, quit, then complain about it. Make and publish your own comics then fail and blame the fans and others. Work at DC, quit, and then complain about it. I think I see a pattern forming. What a tool.”

    A tool that keeps getting work, no less!

    When does his contract with Satan expire? Anyone know???

  14. For what it’s worth I have been dealing with Brian Smith in the same period and want to say as the rep for the team on Voodoo he’s been great to work with. Great editor and all round nice guy.

  15. DC sounds like really fun work environment. Everybody sounds so positive when they leave. Clearly they must be doing something right since all the current employees come out to tell the former employees to shut the f&ck up in really polite ways. Super!

  16. “Freelancers, tell your editor he works for you, not the other way around. Routinely fire them to remind then you call the shots.”

    Geez. Or maybe everyone could act like a professional and not stake their business reputation on ridiculous posturing on either side.

  17. Good riddance to the least-talented guy in modern comics…. He will not be missed (and I’ll be interested in buying these DC series again!)….

  18. If nothing else, comics are a lot more fun with Rob Liefeld around. I also think it’s funny how often people overlook how good Liefeld is as an editor.

    @Gene Ha – I disagree with a lot of what you said. I think comics could use some creators speaking a bit more freely about the works of others without fear of hurting feelings. I’m not talking about being mean or ad hominem attacks, but more like, “I didn’t enjoy Boox Z because I didn’t like the composition in the lay-outs. The artist didn’t make good use of the negative space.” I just think everyone would do better if artists were willing to speak a bit more freely about the work itself without taking it to the personal attack level.

  19. Chris Hero – Writers, artists, creative types do trade notes. And if an established artist wants to take another artist to task, or give notes on how to improve, great. But –

    In front of the audience is certainly NOT the place to call out your peers and attempt to shame them.

  20. Liefeld is an awful artist ( and if I saw that he was one of the artists on any book, I didn’t buy it. So from my point of view this is nothing but a good thing.

    And bad mouthing DC like this, very publicly, is not a smart move for him. He might say that we shouldn’t make this into something it’s not. Sorry, Rob. You did that. Not us.

    Good riddance. Congrats, DC

  21. I will draw these comics.

    I won’t tweet about you. Or your junk.

    I will make last minute editorial changes.

    I will draw these comics better than Rob Liefeld.

    Hook me up!!!

  22. I don’t think this will be some career ending suicide–Rob Liefeld is a guy whose entire career can’t help but make you wonder if you really can sell your soul to the devil after all. He’ll probably trudge back on to DC the next time they need a new gimmick to relaunch Teen Titans or something.

  23. In regards to Rob Liefeld, he’s playing on an unfair grounds. He likely is well aware of DC’s internal politics concerning this sort of thing and as such knows this editor likely risks his job by replying to these accusations. DC is notorious for trying to keep all issues of how the sausage is made behind the scenes, and rarely, if ever comment publicly on the specifics when these things go down beyond “this person will now be drawing/this person will now be writing this solicited issue rather then the creator that was solicited.”

    It then takes people like Dave Elliott above to stick up for them, because it’s likely DC policy for their editors not to comment publicly on situations like this. I’ve followed Liefeld’s twitter for years. It’s not like he hasn’t been known to use hyperbole here and there just a bit, as he has the whole time he was moved over to these three titles he has now “quit”. People who don’t see him coming off as just a bit of a bully aren’t paying attention.

    I understand people’s right to say and do whatever they want. But there’s also appropriateness and context involved.

    Gail Simone tweeted the other day, “There are great editors and horrible editors and everything in between, same with freelancers. And sometimes people just don’t click well.” While I would agree circumstantial evidence points to some possible editorial problems at DC, the last part of what Gail says above is probably more likely the answer 9 times out of 10.

    Some people just don’t mes well together. It’s probably more harmful than not, myself included, to speculate any further than that. It is what it is.

  24. @Realit….(sorry, my phone isn’t copying your name)

    I disagree. I think something the comics community could really use more of is frank discussion about what works and what isn’t working. Without that, we end up with what we have…a bunch of over-entitled fans with blogs preaching endlessly about what they like and don’t like. I’d much rather hear someone who’s making comics explain why a panel worked or didn’t work rather than some fan with too much time on his hands. But maybe I’m on the wrong blog for that right now…. I sometimes think this audience is interested in the kinds of books where that isn’t possible. I mean, look at the guy begging DC to hire him and promising he won’t complain. That guy doesn’t care what’s in the sausage, he just wants the privilege of being there to help make it.

  25. “I’d much rather hear someone who’s making comics explain why a panel worked or didn’t work rather than some fan with too much time on his hands.”

    Do you ever see that in any medium or circumstance? How often do filmmakers dissect each other’s work in public? Authors? Musicians?

    You are correct ,however, that the level of comics criticism available today is quite low.


  26. “And you know what? If you thing somebody’s going to spin you in a bad light, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting out ahead of the spin.”

    Really? As has been noted above, DC seemingly has a strict policy that editors do not talk about behind the scenes drama. So beyond the fact that Liefeld probably had no really fear that DC editorial would “spin him in a bad light”, it just seems you invented this philosophy because you have a beef with DC editorial and wanted to hear dirt. I mean, Liefeld spun DC in a bad light here, so are you honestly going to say that if DC had come out first talking about Liefeld’s unprofessional work as an example, you would call that fair game because they were “getting out ahead of the spin”?

  27. Do you ever see that in any medium or circumstance? How often do filmmakers dissect each other’s work in public? Authors? Musicians?

    Fanfare publishes detailed reviews of musical recordings written by professional musicians and academics in the music field.

    As far as writing is concerned, the “illusion of change” (IOC) policy drastically limits what a writer can do with his hero. When it’s not enforced, readers often praise the resulting stories; when it is enforced, readers praise the artwork, or the character bits, or, sometimes, muse about how appealing the heroic archetypes are.

    Marvel Editorial and its writers have gone from not talking about IOC to, occasionally, praising the enforcement of it. IMO, stories that use it are nothing more than scenarios that kids playing with toys use to amuse themselves; after all, creating characters that mesh well with the other parts of a story is normally work that a writer is complimented for. Creating a character that works isn’t an Olympian task. Superman isn’t necessarily irreplaceable or superior to anyone else; DC just has never stopped using him, so fans haven’t been seriously tempted to shift their affections.

    IOC seriously limits what editors can do, too, but an editor can’t complain about a policy he’s enforcing.


  28. My pencils are sharpened.

    My inkwell is full.

    My coffee is brewing.

    My phonebill is paid.

    I have wikipediaed Hawk and Dove.

    What are you waiting for?!

  29. I just hope that Rob doesn’t decide he needs to be more involved in the creating of his re-launched Extreme books. Prophet under Brandon Graham is one of the best comics being published right now, and Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell’s Glory is excellent. The last thing these books need is Rob deciding to work on them again, like when he ruined Joe Casey’s very good take on Youngblood.

  30. It takes all kinds of people to make up a world, and comics publishers too. Calling Liefeld a whiny puke – not forwarding the discussion here.

    Gene’s comments were the exact opposite and worth extensive consideration, but I do think you have to temper them against some of the interviews Alan Moore has given, or Steve Albini’s takedown of the recording industry, or Dan Harmon’s post over how he was removed from Community, and the lasting ability those records have or will provide to understand how businesses driven by necessity (for profit) interact with the creatives they rely on to generate material.

    The real lose here is a squandered opportunity for Liefeld to put the issues front and center, to try and make the industry that he’s built his life around a little more aware and maybe a little better. He took the Charlie Sheen route, and no one should ever take the Charlie Sheen route.

  31. Regarding the sub-thread here on improving comics criticism, do we really need more great criticism than what we already have?

    TCJ continues its long legacy of fantastic criticism. So does Publishers Weekly and the other trades (though PW’s content is more easily available to the public). SeqArt, Caleb Mozzocco, David Brothers, Matt Seneca, Robot 6, and a long list of great writers I’m forgetting; I’m not sure we’re suffering from a drought of thoughtful, intelligent examinations of comics.

  32. In my opinion, the only criticism creators should be offering on other peoples’ books is praise. That’s not to suggest one should praise material he thinks is crap, but that one should say something upbeat and positive when he sees good work.

    I can go on all day about why I love Chris Ware’s deliberately objective “camera” or the fluid, hallucinatory quality of JH Williams’ layouts or the superb acting of Jaime Hernandez’s characters. So if you care about my opinion, go buy work by those guys, don’t expect me (or Gene Ha or Jimmy Palmiotti, the most encouraging man in comics) to knock down someone else for doing the best he can.

    There’s decades upon decades of great comics out there; I don’t have enough time to read the complete works of Bernie Krigstein and Jules Feiffer and Alan Moore, let alone waste my time on stuff I think isn’t good. So I’ll focus on the good stuff, and I think the comics blogosphere/internet nosepick chatroom would benefit if we’d all do the same.

  33. “Do you ever see that in any medium or circumstance? How often do filmmakers dissect each other’s work in public? Authors? Musicians?”

    Musicians? Yes! All the time! They’re always discussing each others’ work and what works and what doesn’t.

    But like I said, I’m pretty sure I’m on the wrong blog for this train of thought. is pretty awful, though.

  34. I think why I’m on the wrong board is because the Beat is a blog for people who work in the “comic industry” (I.e. Big Two) and the people who read those books. Artists working in the industry are working under very rigid restrictions and they’re all trying to network for more work. It’s not one big indie scene like the musicians I’m thinking of. I mean, if the dudes from Jeff the Brotherhood wanted to discuss what was wrong with, I dunno, Taylor Swift’s approach on a song, they could because no one outside us indie geeks would give a damn. (Jeff the Brotherhood has never discussed Swift’s music, it’s just an example.)

    Often I feel like those of us who are really interested in the craft, indie geeks if you will, are left starving for worthwhile analysis. It seems like everyone’s like – well, you have, what more do you want? But takes a very narrow view of everything and sometimes I want to know more about why this works and that doesn’t.

    But, like I said, wrong place for this. There’s nothing wrong with the approach the Beat or fans of the Big Two take, I’m just part of a small niche that’s really interested in the craft.

  35. Now Liefeld seems to be attacking Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo seemingly because Snyder attempted to stick up for the editor Liefeld called out. This is turning into the meltdown of all meltdowns. It’s going to be pretty hard for him to walk this all back in 5 years when he decides to apologize so he can get some work.

  36. You guys are so wrong about criticism that there is no talking to you.

    To the guy who said that pros should “send each other notes,” BEAT IT, get out of art in general.

    To the guy who mused “would authors publicly criticize each other,” they DO. ALL THE TIME. LITERARY CRITICISM IS WRITTEN IN LARGE PERCENTAGE BY AUTHORS. YOU JUST REVEALED THAT YOU DO NOT READ.

    It is embarrassing and disgusting that you spineless types want comics to have ZERO critical dimension to them. Criticism isn’t for the object of criticism: CRITICISM IS FOR THE AUDIENCE OF A MEDIUM.

    If I draw a comic and somebody emails me to tell me what is wrong with that comic, that guy can go screw himself. Write a critical essay and submit it to The Comics Journal. Don’t bother professionals about your opinion. It’s obnoxious at best and hostile at worst. Criticism is not about authors, that is why it is published in public venues. Read the New York Times, the New Yorker, hell–even Rolling Stone. Then straighten your spine and approach this artform like adults.

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