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What’s In A Liefeld Name?

We’ve been spending so much time this week focusing on the legendary art work of Mr. Liefeld, I thought we’d flip it and give some time to focus on his writing skills. Creating characters isn’t an easy thing to do, but you know what helps? A rad name. For better or worse Liefeld has been behind some enduring characters in the Marvel Universe, he’s given us Cable, Deadpool and…Domino I guess. Here’s the thing, those names aren’t terrible.

Lifeild-2

Let’s take a look at some names that are and in the creative process behind it, shall we?

It seems to me that he’s given himself some parameters to work with in the heat of creation. One is to combine a verb and a noun, for example:

Shatterstar

Or sometimes even a noun and another noun:

Warwolf

If he’s feeling particularly saucy it can be an adjective and noun:

Wildmane

Another (and personal favorite) is to misspell a letter or sometimes even multiple letters in a name sometimes to give it that more eXtreme edge:

Stryfe

Some of the more boring ones are just straight up descriptions:

Sword, Priest, Cross etc.

I’ve assembled a list of the five worst Rob Liefeld created character names:

5. Combat

Combat_Youngblood

Honestly, I’m surprised this one isn’t spelled Kombat. Maybe they were afraid of getting sued by Mortal Kombat? (It’s Bedrock/Badrock all over again). Either way he’s an alien solider who is very adept at fighting, makes sense I guess. He’s the weird looking old guy you see on the cover for Youngblood #1. Why such massively big shoulder armor when it leaves his arms vulnerable? I just don’t understand.

Associated with: Youngblood

4. Cybrid 

273397-20287-121061-1-cybrid

He’s a Cyborg and because of that he’s a hybrid, get it? He was created by a group of ninjas and has large bionic claws (that sometimes look like fellow Image Comics’ creator Marc Silverstri’s Ripclaw). Yup, that’s all I got for this guy.

Associated with: Avenglyne (?)

3. Psilence

404881-178716-psilence

Ok, this is another one that’s both a play on words and a descriptor. A member of Youngblood, Psilence is a powerful psychic whose powers manifestation caused her to no longer speak from that point on.

Associated with: Youngblood

2. Knightmare

102855-177960-knightmare

This name is pretty awful with a design to match.  Former Mafia hitman, Alec Knight was turned vigilante once his family was murdered. Kind of like Punisher meets shoulder pads.

Associated with: His own series

1. Bloodwulf

822359

The bottom of the barrel. We get a noun on noun combo WITH a misspelling. This actually has me wondering if some of these misspelling were not intentional. Everything about it screams 1990’s. It’s eXtreme as fuck.

He’s an alien bounty hunter that has a space motorcycle. Apparently, his weapon of choice is sacred despite having the name the Bloodspiller. It embodies the Holy Spirit and bloodshed of Jesus Christ. Um…yea…apparently the whole Prophet thing for Liefeld wasn’t a fluke. He’s got some deep seeded Catholic issues.

Associated with: His own series

Honorable mention: Knight Sabre, DieHard

WAIT!!!

Martian Luthor Kang, here! Those were fantastic points made by my colleague earlier in this article, but I can’t let that be the end of it. Some of my favorite (most cringe-worthy) Liefeld names have been omitted, and I aim to fix that.

5. Smash

The word “Smash” is Liefeldian for  “Please don’t sue me, Marvel”.

 

Liefeld Name Smash

At first glance, you may notice some similarities between Smash and the Hulk. They’re both enormous irradiated rage monsters that increase in size as they get angrier. They both say “Smash” quite a bit. They both wear the torn remnants of a pair of unusually-colored pants. In fact, one might say that they are exactly the same character. Well, are you fucking color blind? Hulk is green with purple pants, Smash is purple with green pants. Case closed.

Associated with: Fighting American (another story for another day)

4. Phantazia

Phantazia

Phantazia is one of Liefeld’s first irrational namings in his professional career.She had the ability to manipulate electrical fields or some shit and also to scramble people’s powers. She primarily appeared during the stretch of X-Men comics that I’ve never been able to get through, but I remember her first appearances. Her powers were fairly formidable, she actually posed a threat which makes you wonder why she became one of Toad’s henchmen.

That being said, what’s with the name? Fantasia doesn’t make sense as a name for her, just look it up. So if Fantasia is a total nonsense name, the only way to make that shit crazier is to throw in a couple of intentional typos and call it a day. Phantazia… that’ll work!

Associated with: X-Force, The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants

3. Knight Sabre

Ugh, this fucking guy…

Liefeld Knightsabre

It seems that Rob Liefeld had overlooked one thing when he jumped ship at Marvel. Namely, that he wouldn’t be able to use Marvel’s characters anymore without getting sued. Well, as you can see from looking at the illustration above (or just about any page on our site this week) all he had to do was very slightly tweak these characters and he’d be all set! So, when he felt like writing a Gambit story (to join all of the other classic Gambit tales in the annals of Gambit lore) he came up with Knight Sabre, who could use the 1990s standby of “energy manipulation” to charge his weapons. The twist? The energy Knight Sabre stored was collected from the anger and animosity of his enemies. Also, I think he had the power to generate localized wind patterns or some shit because his bandana is blowing around, like, non-stop.

Associated with: Youngblood

2.Roman

Hey, did you ever realize that the Sub-Mariner’s name, Namor, is just Roman spelled backwards? Well, clearly Rob Liefeld did because the exact ripoff of Namor that he “created” in Brigade is named Roman, and that’s just about the only difference between the two.

Liefeld RomanAssociated with: Brigade, the Invaders, the Defenders

1. Bloodpool

Liefeld loves sticking the word blood in front of names. This is not news. Also, his most famous “creation” is Deadpool. I threw those quotes on the word creation there because any actual character  development or notable aspects of the character other than his name and costume came from other minds, in the hands of Liefeld Deadpool was just a Deathstroke ripoff with more swords.

Theft aside, Deadpool was popular. It stands to reason, then, that both Death and Pools were popular, right? So we got Bloodpool, the sort of farm team for Youngblood that somehow managed to be even shittier than Youngblood itself.

Liefeld Name BloodpoolAssociated with: Youngblood, sadness

Honorable Mentions: SeaHawk, Task

SPECIAL BONUS SECTION

So, at the height of Liefeld popularity… well maybe not the height of his popularity but at the depths of the industry’s respect for anatomy and composition, Grant Morrison was working on Doom Patrol and orchestrated a sort of parody one-shot called Doom Force. This issue is definitely worth tracking down if you find these names and the accompanying artwork to be ridiculous..

One of the best moments in the issue was when, amid the letters, the editor published a list of trademarked names that Morrison planned to use for characters in upcoming Doom Force stories. Bon Appetit!

photo (2)

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About Biff Tannen

Film Noir, Pulp, Comic Books and Hitchcock.

Posted on July 27, 2014, in COMICS! and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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