Rob Liefeld Quits Mighty Crusaders Comic Over Spoiled Story Detail
Rob Liefeld is leaving a reboot of Archie’s Mighty Crusaders comic after a variant cover actually revealed a major twist intended to be hidden.
Rob Liefeld announced that he will be departing the reboot of the Archie title Mighty Crusaders after a variant cover spoiled a plot detail Liefeld had intended to keep under wraps. As the creator of characters like Deadpool and Cable as well as a co-founder of Image Comics, Liefeld remains one of the most prolific comic book creators in the industry. He’s also no stranger to controversy.
The Mighty Crusaders are a superhero team who first appeared in Fly-Man #31 back in November of 1965. The team includes the likes of Black Hood, the Comet, Fly and Flygirl, Shield and many others. There have several attempts to reboot the title for modern audiences, with Rob Liefeld’s take being the latest in 2021 in the form of a four issue mini-series.
Recently, Liefeld took to Facebook to explain his departure over leaked plot details on a variant cover he didn’t authorize. As he explains in the post, “When the key plot point/element is revealed on a retail variant cover – it’s probably time to exit the stage on this one…. like seriously? UPDATE – Archie informed me they did not grant permission for this to be posted and shared, much less tagged to my page. Anyway, it would have been great, but this was kind of the back breaker. Really dumb. It was fun while it lasted… on to the next!”
Variants are alternate covers to a standard comic book’s front. The interior issue remains the same, and the alternate cover is usually released in limited quantities to help drum up sales and interest in the comic. Variant covers have been around for decades and are often cited as a primary factor in the comic book crash of the ’90s. It seems they have become no less controversial in this case.
Liefeld further explained his feelings on the variant covers in another Facebook post,
“…You see the variant cover game is such, and the margins so delicate, that everyone wants to one up the next guy in making their product “more valuable” “more HOT” to have the ability to say “1st appearance of….” on their cover. The variant game is so expensive that each player in the game wants to have more skin in the derby so as to stand out. This has become the challenge of the day. A story or twist can pop up on a Saturday afternoon on some Facebook feed and you see it for the very first time as you have been tagged in it. And it has the big twist you’ve been secretly hiding. Had this been shared with me, as with IDW, I’d have killed it, on the spot.“
He also went on to add, “…Everyone is trying to one up the other guy because the shelf life on these comics is so small. Publishers need to do better.”
Though variant covers aren’t nearly as prevalent as they were in the ’90s, it seems they are still having unforeseen impacts on the comic book industry. There are certainly parallels between the use of variants in the past and now – as both are seen as a way of capitalizing on the momentum of public interest. However, a key difference in the present is that, while superheroes are bigger than ever, the profile of comic books is flagging behind. It also seems that poor communication has caused these latest variant to potentially put an end to a major Archie reboot.
With Liefeld’s departure, the future of the Mighty Crusaders reboot looks in question, though the book has yet to be canceled. As for Liefeld, it doesn’t appear that he’s slowing down despite this sudden departure, as he promises big things in the future. It’s also unknown if Liefeld’s next project with be with previous publisher IDW, who did his Snake Eyes: Deadgame project, or another company entirely. Time will tell what project Rob Liefeld tackles next.