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Adams, Neal

Entry updated 30 April 2022. Tagged: Artist, Comics.

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(1941-2022) Influential and remarkably prolific US Comic-strip artist specializing in the Superhero and Horror genres, with a strong, gutsy yet sophisticated (and often-copied) line style. His continued claim to fame probably rested largely on his ground-breaking personal reinterpretation of DC Comics's Batman, which kicked up what has been called the Silver Age of Comics. He attended the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan, then worked for Archie Comics 1959-1960 (see Archie Adventure Comics) before establishing himself in syndicated newspaper strips with a strip version of the television series Ben Casey, which he drew for dailies and Sundays 1962-1966. He assisted on other newspaper strips including Bat Masterson (1961), Peter Scratch (1966), Secret Agent Corrigan (1967) and Rip Kirby (1968). He began working for National Periodical Publications (DC Comics) in 1967, drawing Deadman (Strange Adventures #206-#216). Other characters to benefit from his innovative touch included The Spectre, Superman, Batman (in Detective Comics, nine issues between #369, November 1967, and #439, March 1974, and nine issues in Batman between #219, February 1970, and #255, April 1974, as well as in other associated titles), Flash, Green Lantern and the X-Men. He drew the team-up title Green Lantern-Green Arrow continuously from #76 (April 1970) to #89 (May 1972). #85 ("Snowbirds Don't Fly") and #86 ("They Say It'll Kill Me, But They Won't Say When") of this title featured a story about the Drug scene and won an Academy of Comic-Book Art Award for Adams and writer Denny O'Neill. His output for DC, Marvel Comics, Warren and other leading publishers was prolific throughout the 1970s and early 1980s; in addition he produced book covers, film posters, advertising art and the set and costume design for an unsuccessful sf play, Warp (1973) (see Theatre).

In 1987, Adams formed his own publishing company, Continuity Comics, a division of his advertising-art company, Continuity Associates. The most notable project coming out of Continuity Studios was Bucky O'Hare, an anthropomorphic rabbit in outer space. Created by Larry Hamma, the series was adapted to Videogames, an animated Television series, and, most recently, a computer-animated online video produced by Adams himself.

Much of Adams's work in the ensuing decades was in the advertising fields, although he remained close to comics, with covers, pin-ups and short stories contributed to most of the major publishers. In 2010, DC Comics announced that Adams would write and illustrate a 10-issue limited series, Batman: Odyssey, Adams's longest work in many years. Adams also spent several years promoting what he calls the Growing Universe Theory, which he has expounded upon in several animated online videos. Through it all, he has remained active in advertising, with Continuity, producing storyboards and animations for a variety of clients.

Adams also had a high profile as a campaigner for comics creators' rights, notably in connection with the financial recognition by DC Comics of Superman's creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Adams was involved in the setting-up of the Academy of Comic-Book Art (ACBA) in 1970. He was inducted into the Eisner Award's Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Harvey Awards' Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1999. [RT/JP]

Neal Edward Adams

born New York: 15 June 1941

died New York: 28 April 2022



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