If you get the chance, head on over to Comics Alliance to read Chris Sims' take-by-take breakdown of great early Nineties video of Stan Lee interviewing Rob Liefeld. Chris is a very funny writer and the whole article is a quick and amusing read. Choice bits include:
3:09 - We've got to admit, there's something utterly hypnotic about watching Rob Liefeld draw pouches and armbands on a guy, and it's only made better by the pure joy in his voice when he explains to Stan that they're full of explosive boomerangs.
5:04 - As Liefeld rushes to finish the drawing on Stan's deadline, Stan starts joking about how his suggestion to add spikes makes Cross a collaboration, and starts referring to him as "my character" and "our creation." He's laughing. Rob's laughing. Steve Ditko is gritting his teeth.
Chris also makes a very telling serious point, though:
0:25 - This is quite possibly the most mind-blowing moment of the video, as at this point, it comes out that the latest issue of "X-Force" had sold OVER FIVE MILLION COPIES. Just to give you an idea, Diamond Comic Distributors' best-selling comic for July 2009 was "Captain America Reborn" #1, which came in just under 200,000.
Comics were big, huge, ginormous, incredibly big business. Like the real estate market, some of that was artificially inflated by speculating investors buying many copies of each big issue, but still, the industry today is a fractured, tiny portion of what it was then. Five million copies of X-Force, folks, that's a lot of paper being pushed to the public.
You can view the video on YouTube if you like. Chris' regular site is "The Invincible Super-Blog" and is a daily must-read for me, the guy's a hoot.
Outstanding post, Jeffrey.
Let me point out, for those of you that missed it, that Liefeld’s Captain America Reborn (not to be confused with the current Ed Brubaker mini, sheesh) was, from a creative point of view, one of the worst comic books to ever offend your eyeballs. And it moved how many copies? Just goes to show that you can make a crapload o’ cash with horrible content. Oh, and almost kill an industry while you’re at it.
You know what killed the industry? Effin’ enhanced covers! How many times were you railroaded into paying 10.00 for an embossed, diamond cut, hologram, gatefold, foil cover for a comic that you needed to complete your collection? Or worse yet, those folks who had to get all 8 hologram cover variants of the same issue!