Via The Hollywood Reporter, legendary comic book artist, writer, and publisher Neal Adams passed away on Thursday due to complications from sepsis. He was 80 years old.
Adams was born in New York City on June 15, 1941, and he broke into the comic industry with Archie Comics in 1960. His first breakout work followed in 1967, when his photorealistic style in Strange Adventures made DC’s Deadman a hit. In 1969, Adams joined writer Roy Thomas for a stint on the X-Men during that title’s late Silver Age run.
However, Adams’ greatest contributions to comics came during his runs on Batman and Detective Comics. In 1970, Adams and writer Denny O’Neil revitalized the Dark Knight just a few years after the campy Batman TV series had overtaken the tone of the comics. Adams and O’Neil brought back the Joker after a five-year absence and reestablished him as both a homicidal villain and Batman’s top adversary. Together, Adams and O’Neil also created Ra’s al Ghul and his daughter, Talia, as well as Man-Bat.
Adams and O’Neil continued their collaboration with a landmark run on Green Lantern/Green Arrow. Their “Hard-Traveling Heroes” arc took an unprecedented look at real-world issues like racism and drug use that were far more mature than other superhero comics for that era. They also introduced John Stewart as another Green Lantern from Earth, and one of DC’s first Black superheroes.
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In 1984, Adams launched his comic company, Continuity Comics, where he published his own creator-owned titles like Ms. Mystic, Armor, Valeria, and Megalith. He also published other titles, including Larry Hama and Michael Golden’s Bucky O’Hare. Continuity Comics ceased publishing new books in 1994, but Adams maintained Continuity Studios for the rest of his life.
Adams was also widely known in the industry for championing creator’s rights. He advocated on behalf of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and helped the pair receive credit for their work and a pension from DC. Additionally, Adams successfully lobbied the major comic book companies to return the original artwork to the artists.
In 2010, Adams wrote and drew the Batman: Odyssey miniseries for DC. He followed up on that project in 2016 with a six-issue miniseries, Superman: Coming of the Supermen. His most recent work for DC was a short story with writer Paul Levitz for the hardcover book, Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman.
Superhero Hype extends its condolences to Adams’ family, friends, colleagues, and fans all over the world. Please feel free to share your favorite Neal Adams memories in the comment section below. Also. However.