Happy birthday to commercial artist turned comic book penciling legend Neal Adams, who turns 73 today! Adams was born June 15, 1941 on Governors’ Island in New York City and would go on to become a legend and statesman in the comic book industry.
After graduating from the School of Industrial Art in New York City in 1959, Adams’ first gig was with Archie Comics, where he hoped to get in on the ground floor of their new superhero line. After a very brief but largely unsuccessful stint on Adventures ofThe Fly, he was put to work penciling, inking, and coloring Archie’s Joke Book Magazine. His career at Archie Comics would be short-lived, however, and he entered the world of commercial advertising. But Adams would officially kick off his comics career writing the Ben Casey comic strip, due to the strength of his comic book style advertising experience.
When Ben Casey wrapped, Adams would spend the rest of his comics career making marks in the comics industry. He did the art for horror comics Creepy, and Eerie, and for DC Comics’ line of war comics. He would eventually do his first superhero work with the cover of Action Comics #356, finally breaking ground in Detective Comics #369, where he drew an Elongated Man story in a backup feature.
Adams would continue to take comics by storm with his work on Marvel’s X-Men, essentially saving it from cancellation, and Avengers.He would return to DC and team up with writer Denny O’Neil, who would become as popular a team in comics as Marv Wolfman and George Perez, to revitalize Batman by taking him to his darker roots, creating the version of Batman that fans are familiar with today. And it would be the team of Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil who would turn DC’s Green Lantern into the down-and-dirty, hard-travelin’-hero book Green Lantern/Green Arrow, for which Adams, as well as O’Neil, would win several awards.
In 1985, Neal Adams was named as one of the Fifty Who Made DC Great, a publication from DC celebrating their 50th anniversary, as well as being inducted into the Eisner Awards’ Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Harvey Awards’ Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1999.
Adams and his wife Marilyn live in New York and they have three sons, Jason, Joel, and Josh.
We at SCIFI.radio wish Neal Adams a happy birthday, and humbly thank him for the amazing work he’s done for comic book fans.
Cover Art by Neal Adams. April 1970
Cover Art by Neal Adams and Tom Palmer. April 1969