Comics creator Rob Liefeld has left the Mighty Crusaders revival project, which was announced last December. He left because he said a key plot point was revealed on a variant cover created by Tone Rodriguez for Camelot Books and Comics.
“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?” Liefeld wrote on Facebook earlier this month. He said he found out about the cover when Rodriguez tagged him in a Facebook post about it.
He later added in another post: “So, earlier this week I posted to one of my groups how I’m trying to keep all the contents of one of my upcoming projects under wraps. I want the reveals and the twists to be fresh and happen organically. I love the story and art and was trying to protect it as best I can. And I had succeeded in doing so. The cover with the big twist being publicly shared as I’m walking out the door to a farewell party for friends was like the big gut punch. All the wind goes out of the sails and the enthusiasm with it. It’s this practice … that needs better management. Everyone is trying to one up the other guy because the shelf life on these comics is so small. Publishers need to do better.
Archie followed up today by announcing that The Mighty Crusaders: The Shield #1 will still be released on June 30, as previously announced, using the artwork that Liefeld already turned in. They said that a new writer would be brought in to script Liefeld’s pages.
Rodriguez’s cover can be seen below:
“Anyone who knows me well will know I don’t hype or attempt to cause pandemonium… I was asked to do a job, and I did it with the approval of editorial and the great people at Camelot Books and Comics,” Rodriguez posted on Facebook. “The asked me to draw a cover, and I had less than a week to give them thumbnails, wait for approvals on them, and turnaround a finished marketable exclusive cover. I did that, and then we were told it was ok to start sharing the art so that they can possibly sell the 500 copies they were going to have made.”
He added that “no details of this story were brought to my attention, simple put. I have no knowledge of the happenings in this one shot. I designed a cover based on two pieces that I assume are covers and a single page of the book.”
When the book was announced in December, Archie shared several pieces of promotional artwork, which showed both an older and younger version of the title character:
This is likely the artwork Rodriguez is referencing.
After Archie released their statement on Twitter, Liefeld followed up with several tweets of his own:
The Mighty Crusaders: The Shield was the first of four planned one-shots featuring revamped versions of the team. According to the original press release, Liefeld was hired to “reimagine Archie’s vast and iconic library of superheroes, including characters like the Shield, the Comet, the Jaguar, Fly-Girl and more.” This first issue featuring The Shield is the only one to have been solicited.