Rob Liefeld is a legend in the comic book world for creating the Merc with a Mouth along with other famous Marvel characters like Cable, Domino, and many more. He's also known for his work on the successful X-Force series.
This week, Leifeld is a special guest on Inverse Happy Hour where he grabbed a bottle of Aviation American Gin to talk about a career in comics, why he's not sold on Marvel's current movie lineup (with or without Deadpool), and why his favorite comics collaborator was Jack Kirby.
He also gifted us with a dramatic reading from Fantastic Four #147 — “you don't get into comics without this comic” — which he first encountered as a kid in a stack of comic books at the barbershop.
“My dad takes me to the barber shop. You might not understand that with my hair, but he takes me into the barber shop. I have only been allowed — my dad's a Baptist minister, very, kind of, strict — I read Richie Rich and Archie Comics. But Fred the barber, god bless him, Fred has left this earth. This is 1974, 1973, he has this on his stack of comics. And I can't let it go. And this comic is amazing because all Marvel Comics in the '70s were badass. That is all that's on my spinner are Marvel Comics from the '70s. That is my age because, remember, I'm old, I'm very old. So this has Neymor the Sub-Mariner, who we haven't seen in the Marvel Universe yet, right? Everybody wants him, is he coming? And look at this cover: ‘Sue Richards is mine till the day I die!’”
But not before the Q&A in which Liefeld explains why Jack Kirby was “the god of comics,” who he thinks would win in a showdown of cosmic Ghost Rider vs. cosmic Spider-Man (if you think about it enough, the answer is kind of obvious), the likelihood of a Deadpool/X-Force movie, whether he'd do a Spider-Man run someday, and his thoughts on the New Mutants movie that will hopefully get released to (tv?) screens soon.
Below are the Inverse Happy Hour editorial highlights:
On who he would like to see play Wolverine next — “I'm stuck on Hugh Jackman. I'm gonna need somebody else to do that for me. Having met Hugh, having loved Hugh, there is only Deadpool because of Wolverine. So, ok, you know that scene in There's Something About Mary. At the very end of There's Something About Mary, there's the old man who I think was carrying on with Mary's roommate, called Magda, the super-burnt, she's like Leatherface. And at the end, he turns to her and says, ‘I was only doing you to get to Mary.’’
“I was only doing Deadpool to get to Wolverine. Like, Wolverine was always the goal. You understand Deadpool. He comes from the Weapon X program. He has a healing factor. He shares a history with Wolverine. Did I not just kind of put the blueprint down and lift it and go, ‘hello,’ and the whole time Marvel's like, ‘Yeah, Rob, whatever you want. That's good. Thumbs-up,’ and I'm like, ‘I can't believe I'm getting to do this.’ So I can't answer your question about Wolverine. I'm stuck on Hugh Jackman. I hope to god he comes back. I do. You know what? He's been seriously firm that he is not going to be Wolverine, right? And I foolishly don't believe him.”
Editor's note: Don't even think about recommending Keanu Reeves. He's not here for it.
On who he's enjoyed collaborating with the most — “There's only one answer about who I collaborated with. We won awards together, but mostly it was him. And if I could do an imitation of him, it's Alan Moore. The crazy Brit who gave us Watchmen, ok? The acclaimed Swamp Thing ... V for Vendetta. Yeah, the guy's amazing. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell. Alan and I worked together for three years and I have never laughed as hard as when I was— because he comes off like this total hard-ass sorcerer. Like, he wants you to believe this image. But when you get him, that's all an act. He's just a regular guy.”
“He wouldn't stop talking about Pulp Fiction the day he saw it, and I said ... upon my death, I’m releasing the Liefeld/Alan Moore recordings, because I said, ‘I’m recording this,’ and he just went on and on and on and on about Pulp Fiction. Like, that movie moved him.”
Editor's note: If you're hoping for those recordings to be released, he assures us he'Il have to die for them first.
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On new characters he has on the horizon — “I have nothing but new characters. So I believe, in this pandemic, because we're trapped inside all the time and we're traumatized to hell ... what I started doing in the pandemic is writing and drawing comic books like I was in junior high and high school, just for me.”
“They're drawn on a giant board, but I'm probably just gonna print, like, copies on my coffee machine and give them to my friends and go, ‘This is a comic book I did during the pandemic.’ So lots of new characters, though. Lots of new characters.”
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
A huge thanks to Liefeld for joining us!