Neal Adams at Comic-Con International.
|Born||June 6, 1941
Governors Island, Manhattan, New York City
|Area(s)||Penciller, Inker, Writer, Editor, Publisher|
Neal Adams (born June 6, 1941, Governors Island, Manhattan, New York City) is an American comic book and commercial artist best known for his highly naturalistic style of illustration and helping to create some of the definitive modern imagery of the DC Comics characters Batman, Green Arrow, and others.
Early life and career
Adams attended the High School of Industrial Art in Manhattan, and shortly after graduation began working in the advertising industry. Interested in comic books, he unsuccessfully submitted art samples to DC Comics, but did find uncredited freelance work drawing Bat Masterson and Archie Comics. In 1962, Adams began his comics career in earnest at the NEA newspaper syndicated, working as an anonymous assistant on such comic strips as Peter Scratch, Rip Kirby, and The Heart of Juliet Jones before being given his own strip, Ben Casey, based on the medical drama TV series. This comic strip ran from 1962 through 1965.
Silver Age splash
After Archie Goodwin, editor of Warren Publishing‘s black-and-white horror-comics magazines began running his work, Adams reapproached DC. In 1968, nearing the end of what historians call the Silver Age of comic books, but an exciting time for the industry, Adams made an immediate splash with the feature “Deadman” in Strange Adventures, and quickly became the company’s premiere cover artist.
This led to a stint at Marvel Comics, where Adams teamed with writer Roy Thomas on X-Men, then on the verge of cancellation. Though the duo failed to save the title (which ended its initial run with #66), their collaboration on issues #56-63 (May-Dec. 1969) — and on the “Kree-Skrull War” arc of The Avengers #93-97 (Nov. 1971 – May 1972) — produced what comics historians regard as some of Marvel’s creative highlights of the era. He also collaborated with Stan Lee on two issues of The Mighty Thor.
Continuity and creators’ rights
In the early 1970s, Adams and frequent writing collaborator Dennis O’Neil did a celebrated and, for the time, controversial revamping of the longstanding DC characters Green Lantern and Green Arrow, teaming them in a long story arc in the former’s title in which the two undertook a social-commentary journey across America. Adams and O’Neil revitalized Batman with a series of noteworthy stories reestablishing the character’s dark, brooding nature and taking the books away from the campy look and feel of the 1966-69 TV series. Adams’ pencil drawings were frequently inked by artist Dick Giordano, with whom Adams formed Continuity Associates, a company that primarily supplied storyboards for motion pictures. In the early 1970s, Adams was the art director, costume designer, as well as the poster/Playbill illustrator for Warp, a science fiction stage play by Bury St. Edmund and Stuart Gordon that had had some cult success in Chicago, and which played on Broadway from Feb. 14-18, 1973, at the original Ambasasador Theatre.
During the 1970s, Adams was politically active in the industry, and attempted to unionize its creative community. His efforts, along with precedents set by Atlas/Seaboard Comics‘ creator-friendly policies and other factors, helped lead to the modern industry’s standard practice of returning original artwork to the artist, who can earn additional income from art sales to collectors. Adams notably and vocally helped lead the lobbying efforts that resulted in Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster receiving decades-overdue credit and some financial remuneration from DC.
Also during the 1970s, Adams illustrated paperback novels in the Tarzan series and did some film work. With the independent-comic publishing boom of the early 1980s, he began working for Pacific Comics and other publishers, and founded his own Continuity Comics as an off-shoot of Continuity Associates. His comic-book company’s characters include Megalith, Bucky O’Hare, Skeleton Warriors, CyberRad, and Ms. Mystic.
Adams won Alley Awards in 1967 for Best Cover (Strange Adventures #207); in 1968 for Best Full-Length Story (“Track of the Hook” in The Brave and the Bold #79, with writer Bob Haney); and in 1969 for Best Pencil Artist. He was inducted into the Alley Award Hall of Fame in 1969.
He also won Shazam Awards in 1970 for Best Individual Story (“No Evil Shall Escape My Sight” in Green Lantern #76, with writer Dennis O’Neil), and Best Pencil Artist (Dramatic Division); and in 1971 for Best Individual Story (“Snowbirds Don’t Fly” in Green Lantern #85, with O’Neil).
Harlan Ellison: “There are artists who come along who do wonderful work, innovative work, even stylistically seminal or germinal work, but they don’t change the face of the craft or the social conscience of the industry. Neal did that”.
Bob McLeod on breaking into comics in 1973: “Pat [Broderick] told me I really ought to meet Neal Adams, whom he had met at DC. … At that time, Neal held a position of respect in the industry that no one in comics since then has achieved. He was the single most respected artist in the business. … Neal looked at one of my samples and asked me what kind of work I was looking for. I said ‘Anything that pays.’ (By that time, I was down to my last $10….) He just picked up the phone and called the production manager at Marvel and said, ‘I’ve got a guy here who has some potential as, well, some potential as an artist, but I think he has a lot of potential as a letterer.’ I was immediately hired at Marvel in the production department on Neal’s recommendation, and they still didn’t even want to see my portfolio. If I was good enough for Neal, I was good enough for them”.
Jim Shooter: “Frank [Miller] was a kid from Vermont who wanted to be a comics artist. He came to New York in 1977, I think, showed samples to his idol, Neal Adams, and got a world-record savage critique. He quit drawing for a while, sucked it up and tried again. Neal savaged him again, but this time he sought a second opinion and actually ended up getting a small job from Western Publishing, I think. Thus emboldened, he went to DC, and after getting savaged by Joe Orlando, got in to see art director Vinnie Colletta, who recognized talent and arranged for him to get a one-page war comic job”.
Advocacy of expanding-Earth theory
Adams has put forth ideas on a new model of the universe in his Growing Earth Theory, a derivative of a widely discredited theory (credited to Samuel Warren Carey) that the Earth and every other celestial body are growing. (See Expanding Earth theory).
Neal Adams established a YouTube channel that features self-produced video shorts propounding his view of growing-Earth theory. Occasionally he replies to negative comments & questions in reaction to the video clips with rebuttals and answers. Adams appeared on the radio show Coast to Coast with George Noory on March 16, 2006, Coast to Coast with Art Bell on August 12, 2006, and Coast to Coast with Ian Punnett on April 5, 2008 to discuss hollow-Earth/expanding-planet theory.
National Periodical / DC
- Aquaman — #50-52 (Deadman backup stories)
- Batman — #219 (backup story), 232, 234, 237, 243, 244, 245, 251, 255
- The Brave and the Bold (Batman team-ups) — #79-86, 93, 102 (pages 14-22 only)
- Detective Comics (featuring Batman) — #369 (Elongated Man backup story), #395, 397, 400, 402, 404, 407, 408, 410
- Flash #217-219, 226 (Green Lantern / Green Arrow backup stories)
- Green Lantern/Green Arrow — #76-87, 89
- House of Mystery (certain stories) — #178, 179, 186
- Phantom Stranger — #4
- The Spectre — Vol. 1, #2-5
- Strange Adventures (featuring Deadman) — #206-216
- Superman VS. Muhammad Ali (All New Collector’s Edition #C-56)
- Teen Titans — #20-22
- World’s Finest Comics (Batman-Superman team-ups) — #175-176
- Amazing Adventures — #5-8 (Inhumans stories)
- The Avengers — #93-96
- Conan The Barbarian — #37
- Savage Sword of Conan — #14
- Thor — #180-181
- X-Men — #56-63, 65
National Periodical / DC
- All-Star Superman – #1 (variant cover)
- Action Comics (featuring Superman) — #356, 358-359, 361-362, 364, 366-367, 370, 373, 375-379, 466
- Adventure Comics (featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes) — #365-369, 371-373
- Batman — #200, 203, 217-218, 220, 230, 240 (DC)
- The Brave and the Bold — #76
- Challengers of the Unknown — #67-68
- Detective Comics — #372, 385, 399, 403, 411-413 (DC)
- Green Lantern — #63
- House of Mystery — #175 – 192
- Justice League of America — #66-67, 70, 74
- The Phantom Stranger — #3
- Showcase — #80 (first Phantom Stranger)
- Superboy — #143, 145-146, 148-153, 155, 157-159
- Superman — #204-208, 210, 213-215
- Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane — #79, 81-82, 85-88, 90-91
- Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen — #109-112, 115, 118
- Tales of the Unexpected – Vol. 2, #1 (variant cover)
- World’s Finest Comics #174, 178
- The Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection — 2000 ISBN 1-56389-639-7
- The Deadman Collection – 342 pages 2001 ISBN 1-56389-849-7
- Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1 — 240 pages 2003 ISBN 1-4012-0041-9
- Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 2 — 236 pages 2004 ISBN 1-4012-0269-1
- Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 3 — 280 pages 2006 ISBN 1-4012-0407-4
- DC Universe Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1 — 192 pages October 2008
- X-Men Visionaries: Neal Adams – 208 pages – 2000 ISBN 0-7851-0198-5
- The Avengers: The Kree-Skrull War – 208 pages – 2000 ISBN 0-7851-0745-2
- Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection Volume One: Hard-Traveling Heroes – 1992 ISBN 1-56389-038-0
- Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection Volume Two: More Hard-Traveling Heroes – 1993 ISBN 1-56389-086-0
- Green Lantern/Green Arrow Volume One – 176 pages – 2004 ISBN 1-4012-0224-1
- Green Lantern/Green Arrow Volume Two – 200 pages – 2004 ISBN 1-4012-0230-6
- ^ Neal Adams Entertainment
- ^ NinthArt.com: “Thumbnail: Neal Adamas”, by John Mazzeo
- ^ BobMcLeod.com
- ^ http://www.manwithoutfear.com/interviews/ddINTERVIEW.shtml?id=Shooter ManWithoutFear.com (July 1998): Jim Shooter interview]
- ^ Wired #9.03 (March 2001): “Master of the Universe”, by Jeffrey M. O’Brien
- ^ [http://www.theskepticsguide.org/skepticsguide/podcastinfo.asp?pid=51 The Skeptics Guide podcast}
- ^ YouTube: NealAdamsDotCom
- ^ Coast to Coast with George Noory site: Guests — Neal Adams
- Neal Adams official site
- Continuity Studios
- Lambiek Comiclopedia: Neal Adams
- “The Rules of Attraction — The Look of Love: The Rise and Fall of the Photo-Realistic Newspaper Strip, 1946-1970 (Ben Casey)
- Ninth Art (March 3, 2003): Thumbnail – Neal Adams (Career chronology)
- Internet Broadway Database: Warp