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Rob Liefeld Interview: Major X

Major X cover by Rob Liefeld

Robert Liefeld is an American comic book creator. A prominent writer and artist in the 1990s, he is known for co-creating the character Deadpool with writer Fabian Nicieza, and has since been called one of the most controversial figures in the comic industry.

In the early 1990s, the self-taught artist became prominent due to his work on Marvel Comics' The New Mutants and later X-Force. In 1992, he left the company to help found Image Comics, which started a wave of comic books owned by their creators rather than by publishers. The first book published by Image Comics was Liefeld's Youngblood #1.

He discusses his new venture of introducing a new mutant named Major X and how that can tie into the whole X-Universe. He also talks about his experience seeing his creations come to life in Deadpool 2.

It is WonderCon 2019 we're rapping it out in style with Rob Liefeld. I got to congratulate you because Major X is an automatic sellout. Congratulations. It's amazing. And you're back doing the great work at Marvel.

Rob Liefeld: I’m back where I belong.

Yeah. You're back where you belong. I heard it took 14 years with this idea. Is this true?

Rob Liefeld: A little bit, a little bit longer. So Major X is a new comic I have coming out from Marvel on April 3rd. Get there early. When you say it sold out what it means because people get confused and just when you say it sells out. It's like, so it's gone. No, it'll be on the shelves. Whatever's there is all there is. That's it. So you got to get there early, get your copy. Because a second printing just generally take several weeks to reach the stores again. This was unfinished business from my original X-Force run from back in 92. It was on my list of things that I was going to do. I put it in the drawer. 2006 I was talking to one of the X-Men editors and I ran it by him. And you know when you get kind of no like response and you go, oh, okay, so it's not time. Put it back. My good buddy CB Soboleski current editor in chief of Marvel Comics called me up a Thanksgiving of 2017 and said “Rob, we want you to do some stuff in the X-Men. I really want to get the X-Men office rebooted again. Really want to get some great energy.” And he said how about you come and do some stuff? And I said, hey, how about I don't do what you just asked me to do? How about you consider this? And I gotta be honest the whole time. Greenlight, greenlight, greenlight, greenlight, that's good news. Bad news is if you don't like it, it's 100% my fault. 100%. I secured all the talent from the artists to the anchors to the colorist. I wrote all, all of it. I drew half of it. So I'm real excited, really excited. I hope people really dig it.

I love that you're standing behind it like taking full, like, Hey, this is on me. You know, I'm a huge X-Men fan and your air of the X-Men obviously it was, was one of the biggest gateway.

Rob Liefeld: One of the best! Oh sorry.

Deadpool 2 First Mission X-Men

Yeah, well it is 100%. Like Deadpool, Cable that X-Force run.

Rob Liefeld: I made my own toys. I made my own toys. Kids. Okay.

You know what, that's funny cause we could talk about some of the Image stuff that I love as well. Then they brought me over. But that X-Force back in 92 and X-Men that was to me, that's the pinnacle. That's what brought me into comics. And I got to ask, when you're writing Major X, especially now because you obviously have Deadpool, Cable, which made it to the big screen. In your head, if Major X make it to the big screen, are you already kind of, do you have an actor in mind?

Rob Liefeld: I do. I do. I have several and I now that I have unmasked him on Friday, people are already starting to send in their casting suggestions. It's the world we live in now. I have three teenagers so I have in my house under my roof, 15, 16, and 18. And they are a great incubator. They have been, I'm kind of bumming that I'm losing all the commercial viability they gave me because my kids, if they didn't want to see it, I knew it was going to be a hit. That was a consistent, their entire childhoods. If they were looking at that animated cartoon advertisement on Thursday night and they didn't turn around, go Dad can I go see it, not hit. They go Dad, it’s a hit. If I had to take him, it was hit. So they live in this marvel film world and they tell me, remind me, well, Dad, Dad, Dad, dad, we're marvel cinematic fans. I'm like, yeah, it wouldn't hurt you to read one a dad's comics, right? Um, okay. Uh, that they don't, I'm not gonna lie. I've tried, but, they like to scroll and watch things and scroll and watch things and that's this age. But anyway one of the reasons I'm doing Major X, the way I'm doing it is I'm trying to treat it like a movie opening. That's why I went on the road. I did this gauntlet of conventions, Seattle, Chicago last week, Anaheim here. Trying to get the word out. I'm campaigning and kissing those babies. I'm shaking hands. I'm out on the campaign trail, but I think  the first thing they're going to, the first thing people do now, fans do, they lead with who do you think playing it, and I'm going to be honest, I think Major X has an open door into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I mean, yeah, I can imagine. It'll take a while. Cause I mean right now, like can you believe Marvel's not making a movie? They are not, they have not been making a movie for almost like eight months. Because I think obviously because of Infinity War, right? Or Endgame, but then they're going to start rolling all their new projects. But, so let's talk in a decade. Let's see if Major X made it to the game.

I’m hoping sooner than a decade.

Rob Liefeld: Look X-Men, 2000 comes out. Stan Lee’s on the carpet and I said “Honey, Stan Lee, that took 40 years for him to get on that red carpet for that big screen. Big Budget. You know, I may be in a walker, but we're going to see some of this stuff get to the screen. I got there before the walker. So now 10 years is a lot shorter than 20, 30 years.

I'm not surprised though that Deadpool was such a success, but I'm a little surprised that we hadn't seen Cable before. I'm not gonna lie to you because I felt like Cable has had this long lineage of a history, even in the 90s was such a big popular character. I mean also another surprise that we haven't seen, I mean we saw Gambit once in a film, but we haven't seen him.

Rob Liefeld: Can I tell you something? I'm going to break some news here. So he was originally in Days of Future Past in the Bishop role and he got killed. And then there was a note that came back that said he's kind of a too big of a character to do this with and poor Bishop got slaughtered instead. But I swear to you, so summer 2012, I was like, you can't, you can't have Cable like as much as I want to see him fans will freaking go nuts if they see him and you kill him immediately, like he's too big. Look, that was back in the, the Fox of that era was not as learned as they are now and now they are much right when they got up to speed and they showed everybody they could do what they do, they're now being transferred to Disney. So the Deadpool, Logan era and even Days of Future Past, the version that they actually made very, very good films. Very good. I don't subscribe to this, like only Marvel makes good films. Fox made a go a bunch of great X-Men films. They also need a few that are dogs that, that deserve all the whipping they get. But yeah so Cable almost made it. And I just know that the creative exec showed me excerpts from the script and said, Hey rob, you'll get a kick out of how we’re doing this. That was Cable that went until we pull them out of the movie.

That would have been almost a bit, just a throwaway for such a major character.

Rob Liefeld: It's, yeah. It's just a, it's kind of a flaw in that era. But like I said, they got it right. Hey man, I got Josh Brolin as Cable. The best gift you could have given me. Seeing him and Ryan together when they gave me dates to go to the set and visit, it was like, so do you want to see a Deadpool and X-Force and the helicopter? Do you want to see Deadpool and Domino? Guys, I have to see Deadpool and Cable together. You got to get me. So I missed Zazi by one day. But I got several days with Josh and Ryan and that was a thrill because, I mean, I'm like, I'm like going, oh, I can't believe they're touching each other. They're real. Flesh. I freaked out a lot. I joke. I think the crew would be like, well, yeah, but on the set, I think they're like, hey, that's a great Rob Liefeld visit. When’s he going home? When can he leave? Because I'm like, hi, can I take a picture?

But how amazing is that? Because even with Domino. First of all, the movie had a lot of heart. So again, I was shocked because on paper I thought, well, it's going to be very hard to do Dominoes powers. They nailed. And then it's like, oh, this is big. They did it brilliantly. And I am now, I just want to see a Domino movie, you know what I mean?

Rob Lifeld: For 25 years when people, so when I called up, here's the best part, so, okay, I can actually backtrack this. Ryan calls me and says, Hey, Rob, I just want to come clean with you on something. In the reshoots we did this bit, we explained Domino's powers. I take this shot at you, luck power guy can't. I said, Ryan, first of all, you can't make fun of me worse than my kids do. So I'm good. This is great. I love it. And the fact that your, I said the great thing about this is when Marvel called me up, just like when after Cable kind of went over the fence, when I say, Hey, I wanted to do Deadpool, I wanted him to be a Spiderman with guns and swords. They're like, yeah, good. Go with that. Here’s Shatterstar from like Longshot. Yeah, good. Go with that. With Domino, they go, what's she do? I go, she has luck powers and I'm like, she's black and white, like a domino. And when you play dominoes, you don't know if it's gonna break left or break right. That's her. She has powers of, and you have to have a straight face when you go, improbability and like try saying that in 1990, oh no, her powers are improbability. So in the movie I'm like, okay, yeah, it's real. It's Domino. Like that's I wish I had that. Like, you know, back in the day, cause now everyone understands her power, they get it. And then later in the orphanage is, or where would they have those kids? That is so great when the, the beds fall over, take off the guy's head, the bus crashes children.

The visual gags in that movie and the vision, the way that they presented her powers was brilliant. They almost didn't even have to say. And it's like, oh lucks not a power. Oh. And I was, I totally worried. It was perfect.

Rob Liefeld: That back and forth. That's why I like, people ask me constantly, Seattle, Chicago, here in Anaheim, you know, this entire last month I've been trauma, all these shows, all these people, “Think Domino will be back?”. I'm like, are you kidding me? The fans love her that I cannot imagine Deadpool not being in a film without Zazi running through it again. It's, she's too popular. Still popular.

I mean there's that rumor of the X- Force movie that I really want now.

Rob Liefeld: Oh, you and me both buddy. But that's a TBD, TBD: to be determined, right?

Well now the MCU can do it with you.

Rob Lifeld: If you read everything and you're like, okay, everyone's at the door, there's Feige’s door and Channing Tatum is there with this Gambit and like Brian Bendis's there with this Kitty Pryde script and like, I guess, we're there with X-Force. Everyone's kind of waiting on the queue. So who knows what's going to happen. But I'm sure this is not like, I'm not breaking news. I'm just positive my powers to be positive and I'm positive that there'll be another Deadpool chapter.

Did you just pitch me a new power?

Rob Liefeld: Power of positivity.

I have another question. Back to Major X. This was an idea; it’s been kicking around in your head for a while. Chat me up about the character and existence and the world that we're going to be seeing with Major X.

Rob Liefeld: Well, so here's the deal. The reason that you cared about Cable and the reason you care, so it got you to care about Cable and that's what carried the sales then that's the reason you care about Deadpool and fans who weren't there at the time. The reason Deadpool was so popular was because he has immediate ties to Cable. They knew each other. They had a past, he had a contract down on them. There was an implication that had known each other from the, same with Domino. And Domino comes in. She knows both of them. So it's like all these relational bond. Major X trades also on relational bonds. But bigger than that, Major X has lost his home. He comes from a realm called The Existence. It is a Shangri-la fo mutants. It is kind of the paradise that is fueled by an essence called The Exential. I'm going all in on the X words that they've never used before. I got a whole list on my legal pad, legal pads are a yellow thing of paper, children it's not a device from the 90s. And I got my legal pad.

You're actually pen to paper, old school.

Rob Liefeld: Oh man. People always ask me all the time, I'm never not drawing on paper. I don't do the digital stuff. So yeah, the thing is essential, existence. I went all in. I actually, there's a couple of ones I didn’t use. They're good too. They'll be around next time. But because you sit there and go, okay, it's not my fault. And in 45 years you didn't get to these names cause like, how do you not get to these? They’re right here. So he lost his home, The Existence. And he is on a journey. He believes if he runs this gauntlet before him that he can restore it. But obviously everything is in his past. He's an unknown factor. He did not prepare. He was not prepared when he was purged in the fall of the existence to land in my new mutants Existence, X-Force era. So he's kind of a man at a time and place and needs to make the allies that he can and has to kind of get to issue six where he catches up with modern day X-Men. And I don't want to give too much away, but that's kind of where we're heading.

And I don't want to give too much away because I do want people to read this, but are there, can we be assured that characters from the X-Universe will definitely be popping up in the six issues?

Rob Liefeld: 100%. I've shown you that he tangles with Cable and with Wolverine and he tangles with some new twists and turns. There's a character called Dreadpool who I had a particularly blast introducing and Deadpool's not real happy with him either. And so it's, it's there, there is stuff. I literally, because I have the perspective of 25 years and I am kind of revisiting some touchstones or some call backs in the book and I did laugh out loud a couple of, and then when it got lettered and balloons on, I'm like that works that, that gag actually is funnier than when I typed it. So he meets a lot of existing mutants and we've shown you who he is. We haven't told you who he is and you'll find out who he is this week.

Rob Liefeld Deadpool Movie Interview

Oh I can't wait. I want to clarify something though, cause it is a sell out, but that doesn't mean you can't get the book. So it just means that all the comic stores that have purchased the book, but you can buy them at your local comic book store and there'll be there right on the shelves Wednesday morning. Get there early because then it goes into a second printing, which is already in process. I'm assuming.

Rob Liefeld: They started printing on Friday. Yeah.

So guys get it. You got to get the book. Again, it comes out and this Wednesday.

Rob Liefeld: Wednesday, April 3rd Major X number one. Thank you. I loved this, this has been a great, great time.

Pleasure. And also I just got to let you know I'm also a big Youngblood fan. I love shaft and all the characters.

Rob Liefeld: I’m proud of all my children.

I want to see that on the big screen, a Youngblood movie. Give me some Diehard.

Rob Liefeld: People ask me this all the time. I'm just gonna put this out there. Youngblood is tough to do. The general public would look at it as the Avengers. They would go oh that team looks like the Avengers and that's why that is a high bar to clear. And I have patience.

Youngblood anime.

Rob Liefeld: Okay, maybe.

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