Monday, May 02, 2022

Neal Adams 1942 - 2022


Renowned comic book artist Neal Adams passed away in New York on Thursday due to complications from sepsis. He was 80 years old.

Adams' dynamic photo realistic style brought a newer, more serious version of Batman in the 1970s. He paved the way for later incarnations, like The Dark Knight, and more adult, darker comic book stories.

Neal was the co-founder of the graphic design studio Continuity Associates. He was a creators' rights advocate who helped secure a pension and recognition for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

The official Twitter account of DC Comics tweeted that “the modern comic landscape would not be what it is today without the incomparable work” of Adams. “Neal portrayed heroes as both super and human in equal measure. His work on Batman, Green Lantern, and many more was revolutionary. DC joins the world in mourning his loss." 


There is a lot being written about Neal online. The tributes from other comic book artists, talking about his influence on them, are particularly touching. 


Joe Jusko:

A lot is going to be written over the next few days about the impact of Neal’s work on comics and illustration, his impact on creators’ rights and his personal impact on the careers of many artists who pepper our industry. To say that all of it will be well deserved is the greatest of understatements.
I knew Neal only casually, enough to chat for a while whenever we saw each, so I cant say that he had any personal impact on my career.
His work, however, certainly did.
I was a junior at NYC’s High School of Art & Design when Neal’s TARZAN covers were released. Needless to say, their impact was immediate and everyone I knew had copies, whether they intended to read the books or not. I was amongst them.
My appreciation for the art went beyond mere admiration, though. I primarily knew Neal as a comic book artist and knowing how prestigious an assignment those covers were, I wondered how one got to a position where they were even considered for it. I loved those books and the subject matter and dreamed of one day, should I be lucky enough to actually break into this industry, to be considered worthy of that selfsame assignment. They definitely lit a fire in me and were actually the impetus for me to start painting.
Neal’s Tarzan covers became the standard and the benchmark and except for a couple of different editions here and there over the years, remained so for over 40 years.
I find myself today in the honored position of painting all new covers for those same books. Despite all the work I’ve done over the years, my end goal was always this job, and Neal’s covers were the spark that ignited that desire and I cannot express that strongly enough.
Attached is a showcase of those covers and they are every bit as awe inspiring and intimidating as they were when I first saw them all those years ago.

Enjoy, and thank you, Neal



His work in the ephemeral world of comic books, made a bold mark. 

Ron Kampeas, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency's Washington Bureau Chief, tweeted about the above:

I was 10. Standing at Georgie's, five and dime. This validated my visceral love for comics. It took my breath away. And awakened me to a reality. That is what art does. The memories Neal Adams created still breathe. They will forever be a blessing.

These are but two of the many, many stories that people who knew Neal or just loved his work, that are out there. A legend has passed away.


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