EXCLUSIVE: Rob Liefeld is someone who’s been in the business for decades. Through his storied career, he’s created countless characters, not the least of which are the likes of Deadpool, Cable, and Domino. When it comes to American comics, there are few modern artists whose work is getting the same attention he is, but interestingly enough, his influences aren’t restricted to comics from this side of the Pacific.
I had a chance to sit down with Liefeld at San Diego Comic-Con this year, and during our conversation, it somehow shifted to anime and manga — mediums I personally adore. I then asked about whether or not they had influenced his work in any way. Liefeld’s response was a resounding yes.
“Anime’s a big deal in our house. Cable, all my X-Force stuff, I leaned heavily into anime. Cable, Shatterstar all were very much reflective of my love of anime. The gear, the pads, the yelling faces. American audiences are like, ‘why are your characters always yelling?’ I say, ‘Have you opened Akira or Bastard, or Fist of the North Star?’ I pulled a lot of that into my work, and I honestly think it’s why my work soared above the rest in the ’90s. It tapped into an emotion. While everyone else was trying to draw comics the Marvel way, I’d already digested and applied the manga platform. Manga, as published at the time — even when you reversed it — the layouts don’t apply to us. I took American layout and design and manga anime emotion and gestures, smashed them together and had a great career.”
I honestly hadn’t noticed the influence until he pointed it out, but if you take a look at some of the titles he mentioned, you can definitely see the influence on it. In addition to the older stuff, Liefeld’s also a fan of current big series like One Punch Man and My Hero Academia, and when I asked if he has consumed One Piece (One of the biggest manga series of all time), he said:
“I have actually, yes. It’s very violent, and I enjoy it very much.”
Are there any other manga series you love that you can see reflected in Liefeld’s work? Let us know down below!