So everyone has a Hall of Fame and almost every sport’s team has their own individual Hall of Fame or something of that ilk. I can envision a great one for comic books, but right now there is no physical comic book hall of fame. If I’m wrong, let me know where it is, it could be very cool.
I can envision it with a wing for the Golden Age, the Silver Age, the so-so age (or the Bronze Age as it is called by some) and the modern age, which seems to get longer and longer. So how about a modern age and now starting with 2009 the post modern age. I don’t know but we seem to love breaking things down into groups and stuff and the modern age is so long in tooth that it appears to be a silly name for this time frame.
My grand vision has ideas for speaking tours talking about how comic books came about, the pre-WWII stuff, the after WWII stuff, the Comics Code, the Silver Age, the direct market, the creation of Image, the bankruptcy of Marvel, the corporatization of comics, the new creator owned era, digital age and other things. You know lots of stuff, art exhibits, motion comics, comic book movies, TV shows, cartoons, all the toys and it goes on and on.
|Before Neal Adams|
|Neal Adams first X-Men page|
So with that fantasy showplace as the backdrop I we need to have people being inducted into that grand Hall of Fame. In fact I challenge my fellow blog contributors to do a post now and again nominating a person or two. Now the first nominee should either be a twosome like Seigel & Shuster, Simon & Kirby or perhaps Lee & Kirby. Yet I’m going to go with Neal Adams. Not that the other guys are not deserving but lately I have been thinking about what comic books are today and their popularity as movies. I was trying to think who represented a sea change in comics taking them from the province of 8-12 year old boys into a world where comics are written more for an adult crowd that is still heavily dominated by males. For me that guy is Neal Adams.
|Great Page Designs|
Neal’s dynamic art has had such an impact that you can almost credit him with making Batman into the beloved character he is today.
Before Neal Adams hit the scene the photo realism style of art had not been part of the comic book world. Neal made the characters feel like real people. It was a dramatic change and elevated any book that had his art. It was even more then just his style, it was also his layout and design work. Some of Neal’s designs still stand today as the most innovative done in a comic book. Again Neal was not only pushing the envelope on the art he was throwing away the standard book and smashing the barriers of the Kirby four panel grid or six panels which was the standard. Today it is five rectangle boxes down a page. His work on X-Men was stunning and his work on Batman redefined the character and is still the standard for Batman.
|Not a fan of the re-coloring on the Bat collections|
If you look at a lot of Neal’s work from the time it will not appear to be as “adult” as it was when it was published. You have to remember it was an era when comics where just starting to graduate from the province of young boys. It was this transitional time that helped to change everything. Given that Batman is perhaps the most important character for DC comics at this time, none of it would have happened as well as it did without
Adams artwork leading the way.
Neal Adams has also been a champion of creator rights and pushed DC into giving some money to Seigel & Shuster.
|This series made Ras and Talia|
|From Thrill Kill Reproduction of Original Art|
Neal was involved in branching off and doing his own comics.
It was not as big as Image, but Neal launched Continuity Comics. Sadly a misnomer as the books never hung together at all from what I remembered. They all had Neal’s name all of them, but it appears they were produced by committee. That was probably the stable of artists that worked for the ad agency he ran. I’m guessing it was a way to try and keep everyone busy and maybe a way to pay the guys wages for slow ad days. I would love to know what the true deal was because Neal was a creator’s right man as an employee, but appears to be not so much about creator rights as the publisher. Still it was a bold venture and another chapter in Neal’s comic career.
|Another page - the art just shines|
The bottom line for me is that Neal Adams with his work on Batman, Ras As Ghul, Talia, Deadman, Specter, X-Men, Avengers, Green Lantern/ Green Arrow helped to make comics into the industry that we are today. His work had a more adult feel to them then almost anyone else’s work at the time. I believe that it helped to bring Batman back to a creature of the night and was a precursor to the grim and gritty heroes that we have today. In other words Neal led us to Born Again, Dark Knight and Watchmen which would change the face of comics for decades. Heck Batman is still surviving off what O’Neil and Adams did in the seventies.
With that I now inductee Neal Adams as our first member of the Comics And… Hall of Fame.