Neal Adams: an obiturary (1941-2022).

April 30, 2022 | By | Reply More

It’s with a heavy heart that I have to report the death of comicbook artist Neal Adams.

I first came across his art when he took over the X-Men with issue # 56, being blown away with his depiction of the Angel gliding above his team-members in a flying vehicle. You could really believe a man with wings could fly. Not to denigrate the other artists on the book but Neal Adams took the art one stage further.

In the 9 issues he had on the X-Men, inked by Tom Palmer and written by Roy Thomas, they introduced Alex Summers and his all black Havok costume, the largest Sentinels ever and they stayed that was ever since, Sauron and in a visit to the Savage Land, a little matter of showing Magneto sans his helmet, surprising everyone at the time. They also revived Professor X with a valid reason, even if it meant the demise of the Changeling, who we didn’t really see after Factor Three. Said tales have been reprinted many times over the years and regarded as legendary.

It was much later that I picked up his Avengers and slowly accumulated work over at DC, starting with the Green Lantern/Green Arrow comics and in more recent years, picking up on his Batman and Deadman material in reprints. Even in my younger days, acquiring the original issues would have been expensive, although I do have some in my collection. He did more covers than interiors since he was constantly in demand to do them

Learning about Adams background as I went along, I also studied his fine art technique. In one of his more recent interviews, he said it was important that every panel had a dynamic that propelled the story along. No one just standing around doing nothing. The fact that he also drew realistically, giving a dimension to his characters brought them to life in a way that few artists at the time could emulate and other learnt from afterwards.

His accomplishments outside of art are a matter of public record. He made sure that Sigel and Schuster got adequate pensions from DC Comics for creating Superman. Argued and won the case that comicbook artists got their original art pages back. Together with Dick Giordano, they set up Continuity Associates and broke a lot of artists into the comicbook industry. A note from him to any editor to give an artist a chance was a high recommendation.

When you read about his problems breaking into comicbooks at DC Comics, even after a long run on the Ben Casey newspaper strip, he had to literally wiggle under the door with some editors but his covers sold. He took on ‘Green Lantern’ to boost sales of the comicbook doing least well, as he did with the ‘X-Men’ at Marvel and made history.

Not all of his time was spent in comicbooks, much of his career was spent in advertising with, according to interviews, knew nothing of that work and made a lot more money. Neal Adams had the magic touch with his art wherever he drew and we are poorer for his passing.

GF Willmetts

30 April 2022

 

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Category: Comics, Culture


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About UncleGeoff

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.

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