Porno, Crooks, and Comic Books


I’ve been aware of Marvel artist, Greg Land, for quite a few years. He has a very particular style of drawing – especially when it comes to facial expressions and body positions. He is currently working on X-Men-related stories, but has worked on Ultimate Fantastic Four and the Ultimate Power mini-series. Land also has a long history working with DC books, such as Nightwing and Birds of Prey, while he also had a long run with CrossGen’s series, Sojourn. Needless to say, Land has a great amount of experience with his short-time being in the comic drawing business.

PornFace

However, it does not take a rocket scientist to see Land’s work as questionable.

But let’s backtrack slightly for a little bit of comic book art history and law suits.

You may notice the likeliness of other celebrities in things, such as Arnold Swarchenegger in the newest rendition of Terminator: Salvation, or Carrie Fisher as a pez dispenser as Princess Leia. Needless to say, the celebrities do not have a problem with this because the movie studios and a few others own the rights to the likeliness of their characters. The celebrities in those movies, for those specific franchises are owned. It’s like Warner Brothers owning the rights to Batman movies. Fox cannot make a movie with even a hint of Batman in it because Warner Brothers own Batman and most things related to him. It sounds pretty standard and easy-peasy.

When looking at comics, it has been well-documented that artists have used other photographs, as well as celebrities, commercials, movies, and so on, as photo references. It has been done for decades in comic books. One book in particular dealt with a lawsuit, being Marvel Comics’ Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #15, where the likeliness of Christian musician, Amy Grant was used on the cover. The lawsuit ended with “a US District Court seal[ing] an out-of-court settlement between Grant and Marvel in early 1991, with a consent decree that Marvel did not admit to any liability or wrongdoing.”

The question is, how far can this go? Enter: Greg Land.

I’ll start right off-the-bat, stating that I am not accusing Greg Land of anything. I am just simply providing material which has been found via the internet. What I would like to bring forward, is the accusatory remarks placed on Land about his work. He has been accused by folks on the internet for copying other artists’ work, as well as his own. He is also known for presumably taking a lot of images from pornography, which even you may believe with the images provided, such as the many orgasm-esque shots women give (ie. the one above). Why he would trace his own work, I can assume is one of two things. First is with the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” argument, while the second is that he is lazy. You can read about the controversies with Land’s work here and here.

UncannyFiveThirty

From a MyCup o’ Joe interview with Joe Quesada – whom I consider a hero of mine, discusses Land’s work: “What’s happened with Greg is that it’s become a witch hunt and way too many people are having way too good a time hurting a tremendous artist’s reputation when he isn’t doing anything that is any different than any of us. Every line he draws now comes under scrutiny and in so many cases, people are “seeing” things where are none.” Quesada also goes on to state: “I could go on and on about how many times Greg has bailed us out from some very bad deadline crunches.”

Comic critic Brian Cronin from Comic Book Resources, states about Land’s work on Uncanny X-Men #510: “People speak often about the ethical issues of someone copying a drawing directly from an image, and those concerns are likely fair enough, but when I think of Greg Land, my problems are not so much ethical ones, but the fact that his process results in terrible art and particularly terrible storytelling. When you only have a certain amount of poses to work with, you just can’t tell the story the correct way. And when the characters all look more or less the same (as they’re all based on the same small set of models/”actresses”), it just makes the book that much more incoherent.”

Needless to say, we have two well-established comic book people arguing two different points. One says what he does is okay, while the other suggests that he is blatantly copying other images and recycling older sketches.

I will leave you with these images pulled from many of his comics. I do not know all of the “authors” that made some of the GIF or JPEG images, but thank you. I did however, use some of the photos (most notably, the X-Men #500 ones) from an awesome blog named JimSmash. His blog is hilarious and well thought-out, so go there now! (Or after you finish reading this one). He also gave me great permission to use his photos. So thank you, Jim! He also referenced me to the 4th Letter.net blog, where they came up with an animated GIF image of the Uncanny X-Men #500 cover you’ll see below. As for the rest of the pictures, I found them through various Google searches leading to message boards. There are more photos like these too – I just have not uploaded them all.

Also look at ComicVine here, for more examples.

As for Land, you can assume what you will. Is it coincidence, actual recycling, or are people looking too far into his art?

If you do believe he is recycling or copying – is he being lazy, or is it because the drawing works so well on many different levels? If you don’t, then why not?

View the pictures here and sound off below.

———————————————————

Uncanny X-Men #500 Variant Cover

UncannyA

UncannyB

UncannyC

UncannyD

UncannyE

UncannyF

Is Sandra Bullock Psylocke?

Psylocke

Photo Tracing and Recycling?

One

Two

Sports

MaybeTheSame

The many faces of The Thing

What pose is this, anyway?

Tracing

An “Oh” Face and Some Recycling.

OhFace

Is Jessica Alba a Trace or from Photo Reference?

FirstAlba

Black Canary?

Other Celebrity Coincidences
On the left, think of a young Neal McDonough, while Ben Afleck on the right. Beneath them, it is suggested that it is Topher Grace.

PerhapsMcDonoughandAfleck

PerhapsTopherGrace

Are You an Oakland Raider’s Fan?
From Uncanny X-Men #509.

Raiders

Enjoy Starbucks

Starbucks

Possibly a Pornography Image?

Shameless

Hugh Jackman is Still Wolverine

Wolverine

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

8 thoughts on “Porno, Crooks, and Comic Books

  1. interesting, I would have to agree with the possibility of recycling, but disagree with ‘tracing’. I think its gotten to the same area as music where you can arrive at a similar result by past memories influencing the work. Probably saw a cool magazine and used the cover.. that kind of thing.

  2. When you can’t tell female characters apart except for their hair color, as often happens with Greg Land “art,” it’s insulting to the characters. He’s not part of telling the story, he doesn’t believe in the women as individual characters with their own characteristics. He’s just filling the space where “woman” is supposed to go with a chick he thinks is hot. Quesada’s point about Land bailing them out of deadline crunches is absurd, what does that have to do with anything? And it’s almost more of indictment, because damn, if you’re just going to re-draw the same picture you did last week, it can’t possibly take that long.

    I honestly wonder how Matt Fraction feels about Land, because if Fraction is okay with his female characters being represented like this, then I don’t have as much respect for Fraction. (Of course, Fraction’s the one who wrote Hisako cowering in tears during Sisterhood – while Land was ignoring all previous depictions of her and drawing her as generic (possibly Asian?) brunette.)

  3. @Dan
    You could be right. However, a lot of the photos seem to be almost verbatim to the picture he is “tracing” from. With Photoshop however, almost anything seems possible.
    Would you say that he traces his own work?

    @Skye
    I agree with your points about Quesada and the “deadlines.” I mean, if he is to be recycling, applying a new skin to the frame, of course, would take less time – and in turn – meet deadlines. Is it right? For Marvel, yes. For being an artist? I don’t know. Where is the line drawn? (Pun not intended).
    As for Fraction, I would say he is fine with Land’s work. Why? Because if he wanted to have Land removed, I believe Fraction has enough pull with that company to make it happen. I could be entirely wrong, however.

    @Ava Adore
    Thanks for the positive comments! Some of the pictures are really “uncanny,” eh?

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  6. Being charitable, there are one or two of these (MAYBE two, even that might be pushing it) I could buy as just having used a photo as reference rather than tracing it, which I think is okay for an artist….but I hate how Land traces and reuses so much of his imagery! The thing that makes it really annoying is that I do actually quite like his STYLE of drawing so it’s a shame he doesn’t put the effort in to do his own work more often.

    On a side note, pretty sure the image of Reed and Sue that was copied from the Jessica Alba photo is actually Bryan Hitch from his Fantastic Four run…this one: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v147/OptionalPlayer/SueCompare.jpg

    I think it’s the scene where he gives her a micro-galaxy inside a piece of jewellery for an anniversary present or something similar….

    • Hey, Raz! Thanks for stopping by!

      I find there’s a lot of debate about Land’s work. Some find it serviceable, while others deplorable. You know, when I first read books featuring Land’s art, I tolerated it.

      I find It’s only when he’s regularly put on a book you read where one really start to notice and have gripes over him.

      And while I could be wrong with posting the Sue Storm image you’ve referenced, I’ll take it down and replace it with “his take” on Black Canary.

      It’s really not hard to find more examples.

      Thanks again!

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