Comic Book Creator # 3 (magazine review).
‘Comic Book Creator’ combines looking at both comicbook writers and artists under one title. With a magazine format, what would be classified as gold will depend on your age or what you find interesting about the medium. This issue focuses way back but if you just like looking at and reading about talented people, you’ll feel well at home. I’m going to pick on two main highlights although there is more in the magazine but as you can see I do have a lot to talk about them here.
One of those gold moments for me was an interview with Earl Norem who painted a lot of the covers for Marvel’s black and white magazines in the 70s-80s. I often wondered who was involved in doing them and for me this was a great find.
The real gold though, as can be seen by the cover, is a thirty-four page interview with artist and sometimes writer Neal Adams. I was wavering about going after his ‘Batman Odyssey’ graphic novel but a third of the way through, I stopped and ordered a copy on-line. There has been a tendency for some of you people reading here to go after something I’ve made mention of and I didn’t want to be left out.
Adams explained the key problem I had pondering over buying ‘Batman Odyssey’ after seeing a picture he had drawn with the modern Batman with guns in his hands so well that I was eager to read it. You can read the full account in the interview, but principally a gun in your hand meant the bad guys would tool up as well which is very much a British attitude. Doesn’t mean you can’t be shot, as it has happened in the UK, but the odds are different than in the USA. I’ve reviewed ‘Batman Odyssey’ so you’ll see what I have to say about it later this month. Even more fascinating is the reveal that DC Comics aren’t actually doing a massive promotion of it or other books he’s drawn for them over the years because, despite making money for them, aren’t prepared to keep copies available out there. I agree with him on the ludicrousness of the situation. It isn’t as though his books don’t sell.
Neal Adams had a big influence on me when he first went to Marvel to draw the X-Men and I didn’t catch up with his DC Comics work until much later. He’s still an icon comparable to and probably a better artist than Jack Kirby. His artwork is expressive, right down to facial detail – even the eyebrows express, to the dimensionality of the figures and one of the few who can draw arm hair convincingly. No detail is left unturned. If you’ve never come across his work, then the samples here will certainly have your jaw dropping.
To us older readers, Neal Adams has always been the top of the business. Some of the insights here about even in old days that he would occasionally doing the odd inking on selected pages and contribute to the dialogue doesn’t really surprise me, although I’d wished he’d talked about this in earlier interviews. Mind you, I still have a few TwoMorrow magazines to catch up with so he might well have done.
He’s certainly been the most influential in getting creators rights for artists and writers in the comicbook business and still knows the industry inside and out. It’s hardly surprising that Adams is very forthright and one of the rare people whom I’d happily read what he has to say on his favourite subject. When you consider that the latest Dark Knight movies were heavily influenced by his early material and from some accounts, even the latest ‘Arrow’ series going hoodie is as well. An interesting shortcoming he admits to changing is not to ignore criticism of his work on the Net anymore. He thought it polite not to say anything and saw it misinterpreted as not caring. Something else I ought to check up on.
I should point out that this issue of Comic Book Creator’ was released in the autumn of 2013 but that doesn’t change its relevancy. These magazines are worth reading because they get behind the scenes and tell so much about the comicbook industry.
(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated softcover magazine. Price: $ 8.95 (US) currently on sale for $ 7.61 (US))
check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_132&products_id=1113
2 thoughts on “Comic Book Creator # 3 (magazine review).”
Neal Adams is undoubtedly a better artist than Jack Kirby but their styles are chalk and cheese. You’re right to say he has iconic status, Geoff. In the seventies nearly everyone wanted to draw like Adams, though people like John Byrne and Howard Chaykin went on to develop their own styles. Some of his early Batman work is available cheaply in Showcase Brave and the Bold and will be in upcoming Showcase Batman – about number 6, I think. It looks great in black and white.
What I found interesting from Adams’ interviews was how difficult he found to get into drawing comics when you would have thought both Marvel and DC would be chasing him and not the other away around. Looking objectively, I do wonder if they thought it would have forced an upgrade in their then talent to match it.
I liked his confidence in taking books that weren’t selling well and turning them around.