Movies & TV / Columns

Thoughts on Rob Liefeld’s EKO 92

April 22, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Rob Liefeld EKO 92

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.

Previously on…

Last week we discussed our First Comic Book Memories. Here’s what some of you had to say:

Gold Any Ranger: “One of my uncles on my Mother’s side had a copy of Fantastic Four Annual #1, with Namor invading the surface. Every time I looked through it, I would focus on the cutaway of the Baxter Building. I wasn’t even in kindergarten yet, so I couldn’t read the words, but I enjoyed the pictures.”

redraptor: “I had intended to start with the Death of Superman, but it wasn’t in stores so I settled for The Adventures of The Thing #1 with a cool looking cover. It was a reprint of Marvel Two in One #50 by John Byrne. Still one of my favorite stories. I own my reprint, which is falling apart, and I got myself the original a few years back. Mr Fantastic creates a cure for The Thing that only would have worked when the Thing first mutated. So Thing goes back in time to cure himself and ends up fighting…himself. He finally ends up winning and curing his past self. He returns to the present and wah-wah he’d only created an alternate reality.
Fantastic primer on comics, continuity, FF, everything. From there it was FF (Issue 363) to Infinity War, then 90’s Ghost Rider. Still ended up getting into Superman, but I was a Thing and F4 fan for life by then.

I got into GI Joe much later on and those books are really well written and mature for a series intended to sell toys. I was expecting something similar to the cartoon and wow. The names are the same, but the similarities end there.”

Steed: “The Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #318 – AKA the day my love for comics started all the way back as a little kid in 1989.

I was already familiar with Spider-man from the 60s cartoon, the 80s Amazing Friends cartoon and the live-action TV movie from the 70s (all which I had already enjoyed), but reading the comics and being blown away by Todd McFarlane’s uniquely and beautifully crafted artwork was like no other comic artwork in my life. The cartoon’s animation not only seemed terribly tame in comparison. Not only that but the storytelling along with the artwork was one of the most captivating, mesmerizing and compelling experiences as a reader that changed my life for good and made me a lifelong collector.

The way Peter Parker was drawn, how awesome Scorpion looked and how ridiculously hot Spidey’s wife Mary-Jane was and the fact I was introduced to him as a young married man attempting to juggle life with his daily problems on top of being a super-powered crimefighter in a kick-ass costume is not only my earliest memory but still to this day my most treasured one.”

Ken Wood: “When I was a kid, I was big into collecting baseball cards and there was a comic shop on the corner that sold them. The owner was more of a baseball card guy too and he just happened to carry other stuff.

The first comic I actually bought was Spawn number 1 when I was fourteen. I basically turned my baseball card collection in for a comic collection at that point, although I also got into Magic shortly there after as well. Another comic shop opened up nearby at that point that focused much more on comics, magic, warhammer, D&D, and even had computers for gaming way before it became a thing. I started working there when I was eighteen or nineteen. Worked there a few years. It was bliss.”

Gil: “A friend gave me my first comic in 6th grade. Amazing Spider-Man 328. It was Spider-Man vs Hulk. Spider-Man punched the Hulk into outer space. Then he flew up to save him. WTF!?!. Spider-man is stronger then the Hulk and he can fly? And the Hulk is grey?

Then a few months later I got the first comic I ever bought myself. Incredible Hulk 371. Hulk had a black symbiote or something. Hulk is all kinds of colors! Anyway I got some of the next few issues then I started collecting with Hulk 377.

BTW, I really only found out about the rest of the Marvel Universe through the trading cards which was a few months after that.”

Acolyte Of Glorious La Parka~: “Easy:

Fantastic Four #163 (?) back in the ’70’s.
The Thing AND the Hulk fight the rest of the F.F. on the top of the St. Louis Arch. Hulk & thing were always foes, but this time, Bashful Benji got himself in a little too close proximity to Purple Jeans, and the gamma radiation screwed up his brain into feeling that everybody always gave the Hulk a raw deal. So he teams up wit a confused Hulk (wondering for a few minutes why the rock man who is always hitting him is suddenly now his friend, before accepting it all). During a momentary lull in the story, the Marvel team writing the book take good-natured jabs at each other, endearing the book to me and making me a fan. It wasn’t the FIRST comic I’d read, but the very few I had before were always DC like Superman and such. This was the first Marvel I had ever read, and it made a BIG impression on me. After that, everything was F.F. and Marvel for me. ESPECIALLY if it had Galactus (whom I later
discovered during the Sphinx storyline [with the origin of Terrax the Tamer], and who became my favorite character). I think I STILL have the original somewhere.”

El Atomico: “Oh, man….

DC Comics All Star Squadron in 1981.

I don’t remember exactly how I got it, but my Dad likely picked it up for me. It has been popular in Montana for families or friends to simply go for drives up and down all the rural routes and back routes, and since I am an only child, often when we’d stop at a gas station to fill up and get snacks and drinks, Dad would come out and hand me a “funny book”, a soda pop and a beef jerky.

I remember being enthralled and amazed at this particular comic. It had everybody in it: from the top guys like Superman, Wonder Woman, Shazam, and such to ‘underneath’ guys like Hourman, and others–hell, I was able to find it on Wiki by googling “The Red Bee death”. Looking back, it was a perfect introduction for me, as the bad guys were largely Hitler and the Nazis; my favorite toys at the time were little green army men and such and I was very patriotic, it was right up my alley!

The artwork was so cool, and I especially grew to love The Spectre, Dr. Fate, and Hawkman, those guys looked awesome!

The only thing I didn’t love about that one was the use of Uncle Sam as a character and a superhero. I mean, I get it, he’s a symbol of America, it just look silly seeing an old man in a tophat kicking ass when there were all these other cool guys around.

Great topic, Gusto, thank you!”

Thank you to everyone who commented! Too many last week to run but check it out if you missed it. 
This week we discuss…

Thoughts on Rob Liefeld’s EKO 92

How’s everyone doing out there? Hopefully keep your heads on a swivel and not getting too down. 

I thought we’d talk about everyone’s favorite comic book personality, Mr. Robert Liefeld. If you’re not aware, Liefeld no longer has control over Youngblood thanks to Andrew Rev. 

To catch you up, Liefeld posted a lengthy explanation about the situation currently surround his creations a few months back and while it’s long, it’s worth a read:


This is the question I get asked repeatedly, at every store signing or comic convention I attend. Inquiries about Youngblood as a film, a comic book, all of it. The truth is they are in the midst of an ugly custody battle and I currently don’t have any interaction with them for the first time in over 22 years.

In 1997, at 29 years of age, I took on an investor named Scott Rosenberg, he of Malibu Comics. I had a previous relation with him but this was different, Jeph Loeb brought him to the table as a potential partner and after a few discussions, the time felt right to make this move. We made a fancy press announcement and we birthed Awesome Comics. It was meant as a temporary adjustment, If I did not find another partner, Scott would foreclose and own everything, I eventually found another partner, a gentleman named John Hyde and he stepped in to finance Awesome Comics until he and Scott had an issue and Awesome went into freefall and I shuttered the label permanently in 2000.

Scott, John and I agreed to a split of my Extreme catalogue in 1999, we each received 8 titles and could exploit them in media. The environment at the time was not kind to comic book material and I wasn’t selling any of my catalogue picks and neither were John and Scott. Through it all, I maintained publishing rights, bringing you the comic adventures of my creations with different and various creatives under my oversight and until now there were no hiccups whatsoever.

Long story short, after failing to come to terms on 2 movie deals in recent years, including a movie deal in 2017 that I was so certain was moving forward, I contacted Hank Kanalz and informed him that he should expect some participation, Scott informed me last summer, during 2018 comic con, that in order to raise capital he had sold or partnered with someone for Youngblood comics and toys. I was stunned but not surprised, these are the most important assets that Scott possesses and he needed to raise funds. The man he partnered with is named Andrew Rev, someone unknown to me and he informed me a number of times over the past year that he could make me a big success in comics, the next Todd McFarlane even, and told me I could audition for producing Youngblood comics. You can imagine how well that went over.

So, I currently have questionable access to Youngblood characters, characters I created and shepherded for nearly 3 decades. As a result, I shut down the storyline that would take Youngblood to issue #100 and beyond. A decidedly new approach is necessary, which I believe is paramount in this post-Avengers: Endgame world we find ourselves in. Youngblood will no longer be published by Image Comics or with my involvement at this time, a first in the 27 years since it launched. It’s all really weird but I’ve settled into the realization that this is the way it is going to be. I held it together for 23 years since doing the deal, until now. A film company rang me up last week seeking the rights to Youngblood but it required my involvement and I cannot at this juncture go forward.

Thankfully, my other partner, John Hyde has chosen to go a different path as he realizes the value that I bring to my creations and we have partnered on his selections with Prophet going forward having just set up the feature film and we are currently pursuing Glory in all media. 2/3 of my catalogue receive my involvement and participation.

I have BLOODSTRIKE, BRIGADE, BERZERKERS, BLOODWULF, Re:GEX, KABOOM, AVENGELYNE and others in my portfolio, completely under my domain. As I informed everyone last year, I walked away from Netflix because I felt it was not the best opportunity at this time in our ever changing world. I’m a finicky cat.

I share this with you now following an unexpected conversation with the Andrew Rev guy about publishing. In short it was very disrespectful and I had to put distance between me, these people and my creations which were now in a foreign domain. I had to convincingly wash my hands of this corner of my imagination. I have a pretty fertile mind and many new projects yet to advance, many making the media rounds that will be known soon enough. This was a much needed update and hopefully explains the current situation.

Youngblood represented some of my finest work, I’m proud of all the work that was produced. Sadly, film companies will be reluctant to invest the time and money in a venture without the support and blessing of its creator.

Upwards, onwards! To the Extreme!

Rob Liefeld”

A number of you are probably asking yourselves, “Who is Andrew Rev?”

I’ve been looking into him and surprised that I haven’t noticed him more over the years. In 1990 Rev, a financier, bought indie comics publisher Comico who promptly turned around to fire the staff and making plans to relaunch the company.

Rev lost the rights to Matt Wagner‘s Grendel, with the ensuing court battle holding up any new comics for Grendel for years. Rev went on to establish ownership of the rights to Bill Willingham‘s eighties’ superhero series The Elementals.

A quick word about The Elementals. Probably one of the most underrated comic books out there. It dealt with a more serious themed superhero before that became cool and the norm. Find it and see for yourself.

After getting The Elementals, Rev simply republished the series until 1995. Several attempts have been made to bring back The Elementals, most notably by Dynamite, but Rev is a hard guy to find, making business matters next to impossible to conduct.

Now Rev is back in the picture and has his hands on several of Liefeld’s creations. He started up a new publishing company called Terrific Production LLC but outside some random tweets, nothing is really happening. 

While Rev is moving ahead publishing Youngblood without Liefeld, we have to wonder how Liefeld will deal with losing some of his cherished properties?
Create new ones of course! 

Which brings us to EKO 92. Posted by Liefeld on April 17th, we get a look at a team that looks more than a little familiar. Liefeld writes, “Long form is EKO Squadron 92. Also known as EKS92. Quick glimpse of something new I’ve been cooking up in #quarantine Always be creating.” 

We get a little big about the team, like Bo. The archer. Liefeld says, “Meet Bo. Bo knows archery.” Not to be confused with Shaft from Youngblood, who also uses a bow without strings. We also get a few other characters that look…similar. Like Diehard/Deadpool and Badrock similar. 

Liefeld also said, “If you happened to walk into a comic store on April 17, 1992, chances are you encountered an all new comic book from an all new comic label. This was the day that YOUNGBLOOD was launched and Image Comics officially arrived. 28 years ago today, y’all showed up in overwhelming droves, to the tune of 1 million copies, we even sold out early that morning! I was stunned at the reception. The morning started out with me preparing for a singing at @gapplecomics to launch the book and it ended up with me on a talk show later that evening. A whirlwind of a day that I’ll always remember as if it was yesterday afternoon. Youngblood was born of true love, pure passion for comic books and an evolution of all that I’d started at Marvel with Cable, Deadpool, Domino and a whole bunch of characters you had never heard of before I created X-Force. It was time to share more of what was in my notebooks and control the creative destiny of all those ideas and concepts. There was no animosity with Marvel, I will always be gratefully for the folks I worked with who let my young ambitions fly free. I just had an instinct that this was a time to let all the ideas fly. Youngblood selling a million copies without a single variant or specialty cover or gimmick of any kind. Can you imagine that in today’s market? There was no Youngblood before April 1992, it was fresh out of the gate, we were the gimmick that drove sales, the talent that fans rallied around. Youngblood was the incubator for an entire universe that followed, PROPHET, BRIGADE, BLOODSTRIKE, BERSERKERS and so many more. I viewed it as my Fantastic Four, which birthed Black Panther, Inhumans& Silver Surfer. Thank you to all of you that showed up in 1992 and stayed all the years that have followed. While the rights to Youngblood are a hot mess, the result of a bad deal I did with people who are not terribly bright some 2O years back. Thankfully the rights to the rest of these are safe with me. The feeling of that day and the fun of those days was beyond electric. The impact of Image Comics cannot be measured.”

Thoughts on the latest from Liefeld?

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!

article topics :

EKO 92, Rob Liefeld, Steve Gustafson