DC Universe Illustrated By Neal Adams Volume One (graphic novel review).

November 26, 2016 | By | 2 Replies More

When I spotted Forbidden Planet UK selling ‘DC Universe Illustrated By Neal Adams Volume One’ at such a low price and the opportunity to see his early work before he hit the spotlight with ‘Batman’ and ‘Green Lantern/Green Arrow’ titles. Reading the introduction and had National Periodicals had taken on the 18 year-old artist earlier, they might have started an earlier revolution in bringing in new talent. Granted, this might have pushed the older artists into touch a lot earlier with other younger talent, too, but just flicking through this book, you can’t help but spot the vitality Adams brought to every story he touched.


It’s rather odd that after his first work for DC, drawing an Elongated Man story, there is a three year leap to three Teen Titans stories, both written and drawn by Adams. For the knowledgeable ones amongst you, Adams wasn’t idle during that time away, having drawn the X-Men, Inhumans and Avengers at Marvel.

There are then the pages from ‘Justice League Of America’ that he contributed to and a ‘Clark Kent’ story before some promo work and samples before going back to 1967 and his war comics work for Bob Kanigher and the realisation why they were left to the second half of book. Even Adams says the materials was not written at the best of times. DC Comics were not allowed to show people being shot or killed because of the Comic Code Authority crackdown that was going down at the time which made it difficult to create war comics realistically, so there was a stronger emphasis on character action.

I’m not a lover of the war comics when I was young let alone at my time of my life now but it does give an opportunity to look at the Neal Adams version and you would have to recognise his star quality even then. Close-up poses balanced with distance but all done to propel the story along give emotions to characters you would otherwise not even care much for. These are an example of how to earn your bones in the comicbook industry by working your way up from the bottom. No wonder he took on the least selling comics and that does include the ‘Batman’ and ‘Green Lantern/Green Arrow’ titles at the time and showing what a difference he could make to them.

You do have to wonder why DC Comics haven’t released Volume Two in the past 8 years. As Adams mentions in his introduction, these would have to include his work on the ‘Bob’ Hope’ and ‘Jerry Lewis’ titles but he did other work at the time as well and it seems a shame that we aren’t going to see them. It isn’t as though Adams doesn’t have a following.

Even if you’re not caught by the stories, certainly all the extras in here are mouth-watering in their own right. Seeing the original price for volume one might have been a contributing factor but many of these books from them are just too expensive for the average fan hence my disclosing where I found a sale price. This doesn’t mean I think this should be the price these books are sold at but, essentially, they are reprints so even if the price was £20/$20 cheaper, they would still make a decent profit if they sold in bigger quantities.

One last puzzle for you to ponder on. Neal Adams drew many covers for DC Comics. Why haven’t they ever considered doing a book of these yet?? After all, he did draw all the characters they had to offer, including the Legion Of Super-Heroes, and it would probably answer your question of did he ever draw such and such?

GF Willmetts

November 2016

(pub: DC Comics, 2008. 192 page graphic novel hardback. Price: a bargain price of £ 6.99 (UK) if you know where to look. ISBN: 978-1-40121-917-8)

check out websites: http://www.dccomics.comand https://forbiddenplanet.com/?q=DC+Universe+Illustrated+By+Neal+Adams+


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Category: Books, Superheroes

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (2)

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  1. Julian White says:

    Amazon.com lists a Volume 2 (currently unavailable) from 2011 – and also a volume subtitled The Covers dating from 2010 (one used copy at $295); the cover illustration used is the same as the one you use in your review.

    • UncleGeoff says:

      Hello Julian

      I checked. It never came out. Even the comments on some of the places I looked said just because it was announced on Amazon didn’t mean anything. ISBN codes are allocated long before a book is released.
      The book with the name ‘The Covers’ is also a bit of a misnomer as that is the cover of the book I reviewed and looks like wires were crossed a few years back. The different cover shown on Amazon also had nothing to do with Volume 1 neither.
      Funny world, isn’t it?

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