Neal Adams is certainly not a fine artist” perhaps not even an artist, whatever that is.” “Neal Adams is a commercial artist, a cartoonist, and of course a comic book artist. “Continues Adams.” I hope in the end I am a skilled drawing artist who can basically do anything that I am asked to do… or want to so.”
A childhood comic-book reader who, after developing his talents, was rejected in 1959 by DC Comics. He was told, “The industry is closed. There is no room for anyone new.”
In frustration, Adams did Archie comics (which he is very proud of), penciling and background work on the Bat Masterson strip, by Howard Nostrand, then took on advertising, storyboard, and comic-strip jobs through Johnstone and Cushing.
Inspired by illustrators Bob Peak, Bernie Fuchs and Al Parker, he developed a top level illustration portfolio. The portfolio was appreciated so much, it was stolen!
He was offered the Ben Casey newspaper strip which he voluntarily ended after 31/2 years of sizable success. The theft of his illustration portfolio lead him to visit Archie Goodwin at Jim Warren’s Creepy and Eerie magazines.
Adams brought a wide variety of illustration techniques to his work for the Warren magazines. He then decided to try D.C. Comics for a second time. Inspired by Joe Kubert, Russ Heath and Mort Drucker, he was originally drawn to DC’s war books.
Though a freelancer, Adams made himself welcome enough to work in-house. The new kid quickly become the whiz kid. In 1968, Adams was illustrating the Sector and followed Carmine Infantino on Deadman in Strange Adventures, which brought him to the attention of the entire industry. In an effort to breakdown oppressive, unspoken “rules” in the comic book business, Neal openly approached Marvel. Stan Lee received DC’s young superstar with open arms.
Neal’s ensuing X-Men equaled Marvel’s premier talents – Kirby and Steranko – and saved the title from immediate cancellation. Adams has consistently worked in favor of creators’ rights in the comics industry and was instrumental in winning much needed royalties for Superman creators, Jerry Seigel and Joe Schuster. As DC’s top cover artist, Neal proved his ability to portray Superman and Batman, he soon moved on to Batman stories. Adams successfully updated the property from the campy ’60s TV-show persona to his revolutionary, modern version of the original dark avenger concept.
His Batman work serves as a prototype and inspiration for every illustrator of the character to this day. The caliber of this work with writer Dennis O’Neil (who also worked with Neal on the award winning Green Lantern – Green Arrow series) is born out as O’Neil remains editor over the entire Batman line to date. Adams topflight work for the two mega publishers continued through the mid-70s when he felt it the time for expansion. Cutting edge advertising animatic work, Tarzan book covers, theatrical costume and stage design, amusement park ride design, and magazine work, including National Lampoon, was part of the expansion that led to the opening of Continuity Studios.
Continuity has developed various properties, of its own and others including Bucky O’Hare, Skeleton Warriors, CyberRad, Ms. Mystic, Nighthawk, etc. for TV and comics. Continuity may be the top storyboard studio in the world!