Greg Land Comic Book Cover Gallery
Popular Despite Allegations of Plagiarism (Tracing)
Greg Land has become an increasingly popular cover artist since 2010. His portrayal of Gwen Stacy, for example, on Edge of Spider-Verse #2, is one of the coveted comics of the modern Spider-verse, pulling more than $1500 for a high-grade slabbed copy (at the time of this writing).
Land, however, is roundly criticized for his reliance on sometimes-questionable source material for inspiration. Many simply call it plagiarism, to be politically correct, or downright tracing/copying, if we’re being nice, or outright intellectual theft, if we’re being honest.
Sources include pro wrestling, swimsuit magazines and – gasp! – even porn. Instead of fearful, angry, wounded or driven characters, readers see characters who appear to be more frequently surprised, flirtatious, seductive and orgasmic. Bet you’ll never view Land’s lovely ladies’ – or even some of his male characters – in the same after this fact nugget!
Land borrows from the big silver screen, as well as the purple screen. Actors and actresses whose likenesses have been recreated/traced by Land include Sean Connery; Pamela Anderson; Robert Downey, Jr; and Sandra Bullock to name only a few who have been identified.
Land even borrows from other artists! Without noting their artistic contributions to his own work. To note this theft from his contemporaries would probably take a very long time to accomplish, as he seems to have done a great deal of it.
In a sense, Land in many cases began to collage together comic sequences and covers. Perhaps as a means to better meet deadlines. As a result, Land’s work in a book, for example, loses consistency in the details. The Invisible Girl, for example, might have straight hair in one panel, and in the next, wavy hair. A fact which changes her appearance. If not for her uniform, fans might not recognize it as her. Land’s panels began to stand largely on their own as separate pieces of art. Not a good thing in comics which seek to tell stories through text and visual cues. Some of Land’s covers are sexy, and that’s OK. They are meant to stand alone and be admired. But in the pages of a book – not cool.
Land relies so heavily on reference material, some say, that he may be losing his ability to be creative. Which made him a promising artist early in his career. Within the last decade, the resulting inconsistency – or lack of quality control within himself and industry editors – has turned Land’s young herioines into thirty-something women, disrupting readers’ ability to suspend disbelief. On the contrary, it is far, far easier for readers to disbelieve when stories are told like this. What’s the point of the medium when this happens?
Many critics have without doubt have revealed sources for some of Land’s “inspired” work. A search of the Internet reveals a plethora of instances. Intellectual theft, or plagiarism, in higher education quickly gets one expelled. Many wonder how he continues to find work in the industry. Although no one has said as much, it would seem that Land’s ability to hit deadlines – even by unethical means – is prized by publishers.
It’s not like publishers don’t know about Land’s plagiarism. It is a topic throughout the industry for artists and fans alike. So publishers know. To his credit, Land has been open and unapologetic about his process since the very beginning. He has provided articles in magazines and a chapter in Wizard’s How to Draw: The Best of Basic Training (Volume 1) about the inspiration process he follows. The problem seems to be that he relies on this process too heavily instead of exercising his own creative vision to create something new.
Despite Land’s less-than-questionable ethics, some of his cover work remains popular.
Sources: ComicTropes (“Tracing the Success of Greg Land”); Know Your Meme (“Greg Land Is a Professional Tracing Artist“); JimSmash (“Greg Land: Tracing, Swiping & Recycling“); Women Write About Comics (“Comics and Kink: Greg Land and the (Sexy) Digital Art Debate“); How to Draw: The Best of Basic Training (Volume 1) by Wizard;