The comic book artist who helped reshape characters like Batman, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow, Neal Adams, died today at 80 years old.
Adams also fought for creators to get their rights, did regular Q&A sessions with fans on social media, and created or co-created numerous beloved characters, such as John Stewart, Ra’s al Ghul, and Man-Bat. According to his family, Adam’s died because of complications from sepsis.
Neal Adams, with writer Dennis O’Neil, helped with reshaping the public’s perception of Batman in the 1970s by establishing the dark, revengeful character that we know today. Aside from his contributions to the Caped Crusader, Adams will perhaps be remembered most as the artist who drew Green Lantern and Green Arrow, again with O’neil, revived both of the characters, and helped with refining them for the new generation.
Neal Adams was born on June 15, 1941, in New York City, and he would live and work in New York for most of his life. He also travelled a lot as a child due to his father’s military career, living on bases around the world. As for his school career, Adams attended the School of Industrial Art high school in Manhattan, and graduated in 1969, and then, within a few years, he was beginning to make a mark in the comic industry.
This started in 1960, when Adams started drawing superhero comics and gag pages for Archie, under their editor, Joe Simon. Fast-forward to a few years later, in the early 60s, after he left Archie, Adams would work on comic strip at places like Bat Masterson and Ben Casey, as well as working in the advertising industry, where his photorealistic style made him very popular.
He would also work on The Adventures of Jerry Lewis and The of Bob Hope, and then, in late 1976, Adams landed an opportunity to work on a pair of Superman covers and drew an Elongated Man backup story for Detective Comics. Then, from 1967 to 1969, Adams and writer Arnold Drake worked together on Deadman, Adam’s first commercial success. Adam would then become known for that character throughout most of his career, so much so that he would revisit it in 2017. At the time, he said that he wanted to return to Deadman the most.
“Deadman is, in a weird kind of way, number one,” Adams told ComicBook.com at the time. “Deadman, I didn’t get to finish the story. When I did Deadman…I didn’t tell anybody the rest of the story. all we did was introduce the character. Nobody knows who Deadman is and what his relationships are and what’s going on with him and his real story. You just got to see the beginning. So when I ended, other people picked it up. They started to do ‘The Adventures of Deadman,’ like any other comic book superhero…but no, that’s not what it’s about It’s about Deadman. He’s got a story to tell, and he’s dead.”
Neal Adams is survived by his wife Marilyn and his son Josh, who is also a comic book artist, as well as his other sons, Jason and Joel, his daughters Kris and Zeega, his grandchildren Kelly, Kortney, Jade, Sebastian, Jane and Jaelyn, and his great-grandson Maximus. May he rest in peace and let his characters live on forever.