American Neil Adams wasn’t just a superhero comic creator, the amazing comedian between Superman and Muhammad Ali or one of the most important Batman artists of all time. He also fought tirelessly for the rights of comic book authors. Now the pioneer, pioneer and fan favorite has passed away at the age of 80.
Adams was born in New York in 1941. After graduating from the Industrial Arts School in Manhattan, the young Adams tried to set foot in the superhero comedy industry, but was not immediately successful. So he initially hired himself as an animator in the advertising industry and artist for newspaper comics for the American TV series ‘Ben Casey’.
With the legendary horror magazines Creepy and Warren Verlag’s Eerie, Adams found his way into the burgeoning comic book of the late 1960s and finally made his DC debut in 1967, creating covers for horror anthologies, the “House of Mystery” series examples and stories helped The first is about Deadman, Specter, Batman and Co. to achieve a breakthrough.
In the late 1960s, Adams worked as a Marvel artist and illustrator with writer Roy Thomas on the X-Men. Its photorealistic poses and ultra-visually dynamic page layouts have pushed American comics into a new era.
In the early 1970s, Adams worked his magic on the Avengers missions, creating the still moving story of The Kree/Skrull War. Adams also recognized the emergence of the dinosaur villain Sauron for Marvel publishers and helped develop the character Bobbi Morse also known as Mockingbird.
In DC, Adams eventually collaborated with writer Dennis O’Neill on several groundbreaking works during the height of his career.
Back to Batman’s dark roots
In the 1960s, the colorful, bizarre and funny Batman TV series dominated the Batman legend starring Adam West. It’s made the not-so-Dark Knight a pop culture icon, but the comics are getting weirder, weirder, and funnier as a result.
At the beginning of the seventies, the boom ended, sales numbers fell, and what remained of the strange and supportive characters of Batman.
Adams, O’Neill and editor Julius Schwartz have taken it upon themselves to return the Midnight Detective to his dark roots as a crime fighter. They brought Two-Face and the Joker back into a killer psyche and introduced the immortal Ra’s al Ghul to the Bat-Knight’s rogues show after Adams actually created the tragic monster Man-Bat with writer Frank Robbins.
The new realism of superhero comics
With their stories about the duo Green Lantern and Green Arrow, the whole superhero theme has matured. Adams and O’Neill take ultra-rich liberal archer Oliver Quinn and cosmic-ringed space cop Hal Jordan on a pilgrimage across 1970s America as “firm” heroes grapple with real-world issues like racism, drugs, environmental degradation and capitalism. Not to mention that Adams and O’Neill actually introduced the African American Green Lantern to John Stewart in 1972 before sending the heroic duo of green on tour.
In 1978, Adams illustrated the thriller comic Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, also written by O’Neill – a fan favorite to this day, as Adams drew many familiar faces from society, politics, and culture to the audience for combat.
In 1984, he founded the Continuity Graphics Associates studio with Dick Giordano, along with the subsidiary publishing house Continuity Comics.
Additionally, Adams provided advice and support to emerging artists such as Frank Miller early in their careers. Adams also spoke about the Holocaust in comics, books, and talks.
Since the late ’80s, he has campaigned extensively for copyrights to comic book makers—not least because he made sure that Superman creators also capitalized on the success of the first film based on their comics with Christopher Reeve.
In recent years, Adams, who has been accepted into all the comic halls of fame during his lifetime, has written and drawn new stories with Batman, Superman, Ra’s al Ghul, Deadman, Harley Quinn, X-Men, and The Avengers as an illustrator and often also as the author and protagonist, Blood.
The world of comedy owes him a lot, which was also revealed by the first reactions from colleagues and companions on Friday night.
Author Tom King praised Adams on Twitter, calling him “a towering giant in the world of illustrations, comics, and copyright.” Artist Alex Ross also tweeted, “Neil Adams has had a seismic impact on how life is portrayed. His dynamic interpretation of realism combined with energy has shaped generations of artists. People like me wouldn’t be here without him.”