Greg Land: Legal Trouble?
Toasty Blaire, Chicago
Ultimate Power Pack, the latest miniseries on Marvel's Ultimate line, stars four youngsters who have superpowers and fight crime like their adult counterparts. The mini debuted on the Marvel rack two months ago as a four-parter (with possible miniseries to follow if the book was successful). A four-part mini-series, longtime fans of the comic were excited to see the Ultimate versions of the youngsters. There was some discourse, however, when Greg Land was picked to draw the book.
Controversy is not foreign to Greg Land's work ethic--being mainly the accusation that he uses lightboxes to trace his subject matter (particularly rumored to be that of porn stills, movie stills, and other artists' work). Not only is this considered unethical by many artistic standards, it is also "prohibited" (tracing Marvel drawings is technically not illegal, however, as Marvel retains all rights to the artwork their employees produce for company profit). Morever, all the same Marvel curiously instituted a no-tracing policy for copyrighted material (but not a no-tracing policy) to stop the rumors about Land, and it wasn't until the infamous "Mother Teresa" incident that he was pulled back into the comic book controversy scene as millions of Catholics and a fair number of comic fans were outraged by a Fantastic Four issue. Marvel defended him, however, stating that the woman in a thong costume getting savaged by Dr. Doom's long-lost twin brother was not, as it was claimed, Mother Teresa, and the matter was eventually put to rest.
The Ultimate Power Pack gig was unexpected, especially because of its young subjects. But Greg Land assured fans that he was excited for the project and "jazzed up" to do something different.
Something different, or more than the same? The first issue's artwork was as picture-perfect as always, but many fans and half as many blogs were quick to point out the amount of "kiddie-cake" as it soon came to be known--specifically, they felt that the pre-teens in the book were too "sexualized" (a usual observance and complaint of Greg Land's comic art) and seemed to be taken out of porn stills like his other work. Marvel received a backlash, and, to the surprise of many, the FBI actually became involved with the case, taking Land's photograph collection and laptop from his studio to study the contents.
Greg Land insists that he did not trace from child porn for the book, but the FBI still hasn't released its findings.
Joe Quesada addressed the issue briefly at a small convention last Thursday. "We're totally behind Greg on this," he stated. "Greg is one of Marvel's best artists and a great guy."
However, rumors have circulated that Greg Land is in danger of losing his job. This, combined with the sudden onslaught of porn-stars and models who are claiming that Greg Land stole their likenesses, has kept Land tied up in legal troubles. With the last two issues of Ultimate Power Pack unfinished, it is uncertain whether or not they will come out on time, or at all.