Thursday, April 23, 2015


Back in 1990, in NEW MUTANTS #90 and #91, ROB LIEFELD transformed the mutant CALIBAN from a scrawny, meek character into a powerhouse of rage-filled revenge. I always loved Liefeld's initial redesign and continue to be bummed that other artists (including Liefeld himself) did not draw him the same way ever again.

Quick backstory: Caliban was a scrawny mutant living underground in the Morlock Tunnels. His mutant power was the ability to sense other mutants. During "The Mutant Massacre", most of the Morlocks were slaughtered by Sabretooth and the other Marauders. Caliban escaped and found a new home with the original X-Men, who were calling themselves 'X-FACTOR'. It seemed like a good fit and Caliban seemed to be finding happiness. But the Mutant Massacre haunted him, especially is inability to physically save his loved ones. His desire for revenge finally got the best of him, when during "Fall of the Mutants" he betrayed his X-Factor friends and pledged his loyalty to Apocalypse in exchange for enhanced powers.

After "Fall of the Mutants", we later caught up with the new Caliban in the pages of The New Mutants. We see that Apocalypse had transformed him into a Hellhound of Apocalypse, with the ability to increase his size and strength. Caliban's first outing: Hunt down Sabretooth.

Below are some panel samples from New Mutants #90 and #91, which showcase the new Liefeld design. 

I really dug Liefeld's funky head/face re-design. Caliban had clearly become something new, different and a little weird, whereas later interpretations looked simply like a beefed-up older version


Here are some examples of how Caliban has been drawn since New Mutants #90 and 91:

(^ this last one is by Liefeld. Whuh??)


IsuzuGeek said...

Liefeld fan huh. I guess we can't be friends. XD

Jim said...

I really enjoyed Liefeld when he first came onto the Marvel scene with What If? and New Mutants. I liked his line work, which was reminiscent of Art Adams and Todd McFarlane, and the energy he brought to the page. As a young artist, I saw lots of potential in Liefeld, but as the years went by I felt his artwork veererd in the wrong direction and I was no longer a fan.

I also think he gets way too much shit. I understand critics' negative comments, and agree with most of them, but I do not understand the intense venom behind them. There are numerous other artists out there who do the same things as Liefeld, yet they seem to get a free pass. I've met Liefeld a few times and each time he was super cool and very down to earth. He takes shit everyday from fans yet continues to enjoy this medium and culture (something I think I would have turned my back on if it was me). I'm not excusing any of his artistic shortcomings, I simply do not understand why he seems to be the one guy everyone attacks. Spread the hate, hahahaha!