Notoriously podophobic comic artist Rob Liefeld is finally having another day in the sun.
For a couple of years in the 1990s he was the biggest thing in comic books, with his New Mutants, Youngblood and X-Force titles defining the look of the medium with their penchant for giant guns, preposterous proportions and lots (and lots and lots) of extraneous pouches. Since that craze died down he’s been something of a punchline, with his awful Captain America becoming the byword for bad comic book art. But now, with Deadpool 2‘s release just a month away, Liefeld is having the last laugh.
Deadpool, who he created with writer Fabian Nicieza back in 1991, is one of the most popular contemporary heroes, and the upcoming sequel is set to bring many Liefeld characters to the big screen as members of the X-Force team he created – who are essentially a more violent, aggressive and militarized X-Men. Liefeld has high hopes for them, too, saying the following in an interview with Fandango:
“I’m confident about the X-Force — that it’s an R-rated Avengers in the making. You can see where Fox is building up a roster that rivals what happened over with the Avengers. They built up piece by piece this impressive group of personalities, and actors, and talent that people just responded to.
So I’m obviously at a disadvantage. I’ve seen more than the average Joe has seen, but I see how well it clicks, and I think that when you throw the R-rating in there, the X-Force can absolutely rival the Avengers. X-Force is not family friendly, and that matters, too. I definitely do see them building their version of the Avengers with this.”
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Now, on one hand, I’ve always had a soft spot for Liefeld’s unshakable self-confidence, but on the other, could the X-Force crew really hope to match the success of the MCU’s mightiest heroes? If you’d have asked me in the past I’d have laughed. But I’m not laughing now. Both Deadpool and Logan have proven that there’s a lucrative market in R-rated superhero fare (lest we forget, someone who was 12 when Iron Man was released is now 22), and X-Force might be just the ticket to focus those desires.
Either way, the presumed success of Deadpool 2 (rumblings of discontent from test audiences aside) means that Drew Goddard’s X-Force, which is planned to begin filming this fall, should move into high gear. No doubt Fox will be paying close attention to which heroes garner the most praise from audiences in Deadpool 2, as well, so as to tailor the tone of X-Force.
As strange as it sounds, I think there’s an outside chance that Rob Liefeld might be onto something here…