Stop Buying Greg Land Comics

October 21st, 2009 by | Tags: , ,

Greg Land is a bad artist. Stop buying his comics.


No equivocation, no wishy-washiness: he’s terrible and supporting him is even worse. Comics should be more than just trademarks moving around on a page, acting out the latest episode of soap operas that began when our parents were young.

Put even plainer: Greg Land is a symptom of the poison in mainstream comics.

What I said before still stands. Get this lazy scrub out of here, and put somebody good on his books. Do better.

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26 comments to “Stop Buying Greg Land Comics”

  1. I could tell that the Iron Man was traced from one of the movie posters. And the Iron Patriot was one of Hitch’s Ultimate Iron Man drawings. But that one of Osborn looked familiar but I just couldn’t place it…

    Holy crap. Stay classy Greg.

  2. It’s tougher to stop buying a comic because of a bad artist than because of a bad writer. A book like Guardians of the Galaxy, for example, they could put nearly any artist on, but as long as DnA were still writing it and kept it at the same level of quality story-wise, I’d probably find a way to put up with it.

    That comic, however, doesn’t look like anything I should have too much trouble avoiding, if I can remember to avoid the Land of Greg.

  3. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Spider-Woman’s disembodied torso somewhere before as well. Same for BullsHawk.
    (Then again, if any of those characters at all were actually drawn from scratch by Land I’d be surprised)

  4. @Jordan: Spider-Woman feels like a Power Girl or Supergirl pose to me.

  5. It doesn’t bother me much.

    If he steals from anyone other than himself, that sucks. Otherwise, I only care if the art’s good or bad.

    Most times, I wouldn’t get the reference without help, anyway.
    The porn example from the linked post’s comment section is pretty low-rent but I still barely care. Maybe if I could draw worth a damn, I’d feel differently.

  6. @West: That’s exactly why I hate traced art like this. I can’t draw(or do any art besides making junk from toothpicks and Elmers school glue), but even I can trace pictures of the president and porn stills like Land does. I wouldn’t presume to do it for money though, that’s completely disingenuous.

  7. Yeah, I agree. It’s intellectual property theft, and it’s disturbing that Marvel condones and even rewards it. And on a purely personal level, Greg Land makes it virtually impossible to enjoy a comic that he’s ‘drawing.’

    But in a weird way… I kinda get it. When he really drew, he was an unremarkable, semi-competent artist, and did fill-ins and had runs on Birds of Prey and Nightwing. Then he went to CrossGen and Marvel, he started tracing, and he just exploded. He got high-profile books like Ultimate Fantastic Four, Supreme Power, and now Uncanny X-men. It has to be tough between doing what’s right and going nowhere, and doing something reprehensible and being very succesful.

  8. I’ve been playing a little game every time a Brian K Vaughan comic comes out where I spot the stuff he’s ‘appropriated’ from other sources in much the same way I used to with Mark Millar (Ultimates 2 was where I stopped because he’d stopped trying to pass stuff off as his own and just wrote hisself a Darth Maul vs Captain America fight), yet the last time I checked, Vaughan was some kind of comics demigod in the eyes of the internet.

    How come when an artist steals other people’s stuff he’s the worst, but when a writer does it, he’s a genius? Seems like a double standard to me.

  9. @AlLoggins: Okay, fill me in on Millar’s and Vaughan’s supposed plagiarism, with concrete examples if you please?

  10. That Osborn pose is NOT traced from that Obama photo. Anatomically speaking, Osborn’s arms are folded across his chest while Obama has his right at the level of his diaphragm. That’s not to say that Land didn’t trace 15 bajillion different things in that image, but in this case, you’ve got your comparisons wrong.

    Yes what Land does is blatant and terrible, but here’s why he gets work: His work is serviceable, and he makes deadlines. Those two things will keep editors happy until the end of time.

  11. @A.o.D.: There’s a gif floating around that fades from Obama to Osborn. I’d be willing to bet that if you scale Obama down about 10% horizontally, it’ll match up pretty well.

  12. The positioning on the elbow is wrong, too. Osborne’s left elbow is pointing more or less directly at the viewer, which is consistent with crossing ones arms that high up. Obamas elbows are pointed more or less directly at his sides, again consistent with that manner of arm folding.

    I’m not saying that Land didn’t trace, I’m just saying that he didn’t trace from THAT photo.

  13. Also, you can see most of both of Obama’s hands while the only thing Ozzie is showing off is a whole lot of cuff.

  14. Could it be that it’s an intentional parody? That’s a fairly well-known photo of Obama (it was his Wiki photo for a while, and gets used a lot as a ‘generic Obama photo’); could be an attempt at deliberate political comparison.

    A STUPID attempt, but all the same.

  15. @Illvillainy: I hope your comment was meant to highlight that Land’s plagurism is more or less a given (while the average writer can cite influences that predate what they’re accused of ‘homaging’), as taken at face value, it seems the kind of defensive argument raised by fanboys when anyone dares criticise their idols, and while I mention Millar and Vaughan specifically, they’re hardly the only writers to recycle the work of others.

    However, if you want specific examples of Vaughan or Millar’s ‘influences’, I’ll just mention – again – Ultimates 2, whose finale features a deus ex where the Riders of Rohan ride out to save the day from an Arabian chap with a staff made of lasers and Hawkeye helpfully quips “Darth Maul wants his lightsaber back, motherfucker!” and if you can’t see what Millar was hanging a lampshade on, there’s nothing I can do for you.

  16. @AlLoggins: I’ll agree that I thought Hawkeye’s line about Darth Maul was incredibly stupid considering how obviously the character’s weapon was based off that. I thought it just made anyone who didn’t see the obvious reference go, “oh, yeah, that is really unoriginal.” But I don’t see the rest of the scene as a total rip-off. I don’t think the cavalry arriving to save the day is a plot point that anyone, even Tolkien, would claim as anything groundbreaking or original, so accusing Millar of stealing seems to be making too big a deal.
    I think I also let the rest slide because of that excessive 6(?) page splash that followed. And they were actual gods, so Deus ex Machina seems more allowable.

    But I’ll admit I’m totally unaware of accusations of Vaughan’s ripoffs. Maybe it’s a big message board thing, and I’m just ignorant.

  17. @AlLoggins: I would imagine that it’s more because of the difficulty involved in proving a writer plagiarised unless they are directly taking the text – which in comics is virtually impossible to prove because we only see the dialogue. And not many of us are willing to convict someone of plagiarism based solely on circumstantial evidence, particularly when they are limited examples in a larger work. Wearing your influences on your sleeve is not necessarily stealing, and taking many influences and integrating them into something new is hard for me to see as stealing.

    For an artist, a single panel in a comic can be much more easily seen as a single piece of work, as it is one illustration. As such, it is much easier to prove out that you just took this specific picture of the king of Spain or that picture of the president of the United States and traced it in there, and that is clearly stealing someone else’s work.

  18. seriously, why does Fraction tolerate this guy? I mean maybe he’s thinking he can get him to turn his art around like he did with Larocca (compare the art in IIM #1 to IIM #19, almost incredible how much better it got). but Land is beyond help.

  19. I already don’t buy his comics, I just hate his tracings apart from being cheap they don’t help you understand what are you reading at all… ughh

  20. @CasinoGrande: It’s not that the line was stupid as such, more of a ‘hiding in plain sight’ thing that modern screenwriters now do so much that they’ve actually given it a name: “lampshade hanging” or “hanging a lantern”, which is basically where a writer directly references what he’s ‘recycling’, either as means of displaying genre-awareness, or just admitting it so the audience can move past something whose origins are glaringly obvious (Smallville and Supernatural are good examples of this). Yes, we may groan at how they’re rubbing our faces in it, but at least it’s honest. Sort of.
    The only writer I can think of who makes no bones about where he gets ideas from is Alan Moore, and if you haven’t been exposed to the near-hysterical levels of venom directed at the bearded one on the net because he doesn’t deny it, you’ve thus far been lucky – but it’s a good example of why most sensible non-wizards don’t flaunt their originating premise.

    For vaughan crit, I suggest you dig into one of the funny-farm messageboards where they discuss DC or Marvel with the traditional restraint that’s made the internet such a respected vendor of public opinion, and if you want a more detailed examination of what Millar has reused from elsewhere, fans of Scotland’s 2000AD anthology can point you in the correct direction (you should ask about a strip called ‘Silo’).

  21. @AlLoggins: Your definition of lampshade hanging as an indication of copying from a specific other work seems to be at odds with every other definition of the term I’ve ever come across (for instance here and here).

  22. @AlLoggins:

    I’d honestly like to know what Vaughan has ‘appropriated’ because I don’t think I’ve ever thought that while reading anything he’s written. I’m not trying to pick on you about it, it’s just that the only source you’ve pointed to is a message board (where information is hardly reliable) & I’d genuinely like to see if I could make the connection to someone else’s work.

    Also, I think there’s a distinction between what a writer lifts from other sources & an artist tracing over something he found on the internet or outright using someone else’s art. A writer would almost have to copy an entire story or idea, word for word, to be accused of plagiarism. Something that references a popular movie, book, or whatever really can be considered a homage (at worst, it could be called lazy or just bad writing like Millar’s shitty Darth Maul reference) & I don’t think that’s a double standard. Writing tends to be largely derivative of other work for sure (for a comics comparison, isn’t the upcoming Necrosha just Blackest Night set up in the MU?), but I don’t see theft as long as the idea is expanded upon (Blackest Night is an Alan Moore idea) or changed into something entirely different than what the original writer intended (see that book that incorporates zombies into Pride & Prejudice). An artist who copies an image, places said image in the context of his own work, & calls the image his own is miles away from someone who thought a nod to Phantom Menace would be awesome. If Land had decided to draw one of the X-Men in an iconic pose (like Cassaday did with Kitty Pryde in AXM) in his own style, I’d be OK with it. But Land is using traces of porn stars & sometimes other people’s art.

    I would think that breaking into comics is spirit breakingly hard even if you are particularly talented. If all you need is google image search & handy tracing skills to be a star in the industry there wouldn’t be as many comic artists breaking their asses to put together decent portfolios, drawing backgrounds for years before they get their own books, or doing charicatures at Bar Mitzvahs. I’m not trying to be a jerk to you about this (I honestly try to respect other people’s opinions), but I don’t think Land deserves anyone defending him considering the evidence against him.

  23. “Stop Buying Greg Land Comics”

    why? its fun to play spot the actor [or president, or drawing].

  24. @edc:

    Why would you need to actually BUY the comic to do that?

  25. @Ptrack: Those links point to encyclopedic descriptions of the term, not its latter-day usage in the context of hanging a lampshade on mercilessly-recycled idioms, tropes or plots, which is unlikely to appear in Wikipedia given the subjective nature (POV-pushing) of such a definition – but that’s nonetheless the context in which some commentators use the term.

    @Kenny: only the other day the Invincible Super Blog (a funny and good-natured site) comment section made note of a Superman/vampire-related death scene that later appeared in Runaways, a book I once stopped reading (for a bit) when I got to Spidey’s witty “I’m Batman!” splash-page remark on account of it being recycled from an issue of Spider-Man – nothing on the level of Lightsaber Motherfucker, but cumulative little ‘borrows’ can build up, take me out of the story and make me stop reading for a while, though they don’t necessarily diminish the work.

    “Writing tends to be largely derivative of other work for sure”

    Not arguing with you there – just look at pretty much anything on Sy Fy. TV Tropes has an entry for Runaways that is basically a catalogue of material that’s been recycled (or inspired) from somewhere else, but – and this, to me, is the most important part – it’s not done with any malice. The lengthy list of tropes is put together by what appears to be a knowledgeable but affectionate collection of fans of the book, and I don’t think you should automatically draw an equivalence between thinking something has borrowed from elsewhere and disliking it – popular culture has been eating its tail for a while now and the only thing that matters is a story well told. Fair enough I sometimes get distracted by thinking something is familiar or lifted outright, but it rarely gets in the way of an objectively entertaining story, and even with Lightsaber Motherfucker in there, Ultimates 2 is still one of the biggest, dumbest, funnest superhero books you’ll read and I’d reccommend it to pretty much anyone.

    Oh, and I’m not defending Land, I’m playing devil’s advocate much as I am when I sling mud at Millar and Vaughan, two writers whose name pretty much guarantees I’ll buy something even if it’s Buffy, WHICH I HATE.
    Personally, even though his fully-original work was a little ugly, I do find lifting stuff from other artists without their consent ethically indefensible, though don’t really care much about porn-tracing. Land did ‘break his ass’ like everyone else, changing his style later after he was already an established artist, but his continued work would suggest that this was with the full encouragement of his employers.

  26. But his girls have big boobies! Granted, they all look identical, but they all have big boobies!