Friday, May 22, 2015

The Grooviest Covers of All Time: No DC for Neal!

Hey, hey, hey, Groove-ophiles! Y'know, there was a time during the Groovy Age when DC's fave artist, Neal Adams, was on the outs with them. He was trying to make the comics industry more fair and employee friendly, mainly by taking on the cause of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who felt--and Neal agreed--that DC (and the upcoming Superman film) were gypping the creators out of their fair share of what would be a multi-million dollar proposition. Of course, while Neal was crusading, he had to make moolah, so he turned to Marvel, Charlton (!), newcomer Atlas/Seaboard, and once, even a "ground-level" publisher, Sal Quartuccio for some income. He did mostly covers, while he and his cohorts at Continuity Associates took care of whatever interiors needed taking care of. But it's Neal's covers we're celebrating today! One could imagine Neal finishing a piece and thinking, "Look what you're missing, DC!"














10 comments:

  1. All of these are absolutely fantastic. The Charlton covers are such a trip, though, just because, for some reason, I simply don't associate Adams with Charlton.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember the shock I felt when I saw Six Million Dollar Man # 2 (comic) on the stands with its Adams cover. Charlton was experiencing a bit of an upswing in quality with a bunch of new talent (Byrne, Layton, Staton) and some good titles such as Eman. The Adams cover made it look like it had arrived.

      Delete
  2. This I didn't know. glad to know Adams is a decent dude.
    The last one is wonderful, and "Man-gods from beyond the stars" must have been one hell of a magazine in a "Von Daeniken" style.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was okay. Didn't really care for the Nino art. The real prize was the backup story "Good Lord". It was Marv Wolfman doing an EC type sci-fi tale with art by Cockrum/Adams and associates.

      Delete
    2. As for Marvel mags in the early 70's, I can only remember Horror and Kung Fu stuff in Italian version. I guess those were the big hits back then :)

      Delete
  3. Fantastic post. I was besotted with Neil Adams' art in the Groovy Age. I knew about his standing up for Siegel and Shuster but this is the first time I've ever seen those Charlton covers.

    Have you seen him on Tac au Tac? It's well worth a watch.

    https://goo.gl/GLBImn

    ReplyDelete
  4. Neal Adams seemed to be the first comics artist of the Silver and Bronze Ages who was not afraid to work for rival companies---even at the same time! In the '60s he drew the Spectre, Deadman, Elongated Man, Batman, and a slew of Superman covers for DC---and over at Marvel he drew the X-Men, Avengers, and a short story for TOWER OF SHADOWS #2, besides doing comics stories for Warren's CREEPY and EERIE magazines. This carried over into the '70s with the same clients, and additional comics stories for NATIONAL LAMPOON and BIG APPLE COMIX #1, besides album cover art (and comics - see The Mighty Groundhogs, e.g.), advertising work, and book cover illustrations (TARZAN in particular). Busy fellow!

    I suppose the real question is: when did he bail out on DC, or did he altogether? I know that Continuity Associates was off and running by 1973 (it was a carryover from Johnstone Cushing, an ad agency Neal had worked for in prior years before assuming the mantle), but Neal's last BATMAN story was in #255 cover dated March, 1974 and a final GREEN LANTERN story appeared in FLASH #226 cover dated April, 1974.

    A little over a year later in DC's HOUSE OF MYSTERY #236 cover dated October, 1975 a short story appeared with Paul Kirchner pencils and Neal Adams inks. Kirchner shared the following in an interview with THE COMICS JOURNAL:

    " I really admired the thinking Steranko put into his comics–the symbolism, the match cuts, the graphic effects, his striking style of storytelling. I tried to emulate him in my work–an example would be in the story “Deep Sleep” I penciled for Neal Adams for House of Mystery (#236, October 1975). There was an interesting story behind it. Neal had fallen asleep on the subway and when he woke up his portfolio had been stolen (believe it or not, this has happened to him more than once). There was a lot of irreplaceable original art in it, including a penciled story that he was supposed to ink. Since he had lost it, he was responsible to make good on it. Neal figured I would re-pencil the story cheaply and he could rectify any shortcomings in my work when he inked it. He did a beautiful job on it, of course, though I can recognize some problems in the underlying drawing. He graciously gave me the originals, which I still have."

    The next job I see of Neal's at DC was for the 1976 Super DC Calendar, followed by THE AMAZING WORLD OF DC COMICS #6 featuring 6 pages of unpublished SUPERMAN pencils, then the "Justice for All Includes Children" #1,2, 6, & 7 public service announcements. The 1978 SUPERMAN VS. MUHAMMAD ALI treasury edition seems to be his most sustained effort for the company of his entire tenure there.

    He did work for numerous other clients in 1974-76, yes, but it seems the gap for DC work in particular was for a year and a half in 1974-75. I never knew there was any kind of falling out; I thought Neal was merely being smart by working for a variety of competing companies which would only elevate his page rates as they each sought his services.

    Chris A.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent, well-researched essay, Chris. I really don't disagree with a thing you say. I do feel with a certainty that there was a (admittedly short) span of time in which Adams focused on Siegel and Shuster's plight and did no work for DC. I get that feeling from a variety of articles and interviews I've read over the years. Here's a quote from one such article (http://www.jns.org/latest-articles/2013/6/10/superman-saving-his-jewish-creators#.VWOy49JViko=): "Siegel and Shuster needed a strong voice—someone from inside the industry who could also reach out beyond the comics world. Adams, who was the most popular artist at DC and the cover artist for Superman, became that voice. Even though it meant going up against his own employer, Adams launched a series of media appearances, press conferences, and meetings to drum up support for the Superman creators.

      “It carved four months out of my life,” Adams recalls, “but they were pretty good months.”"

      Wouldn't it be cool if Mr. Adams himself would chime in right about now? :D

      Delete
    2. Yes, I do remember Neal being the tireless defender of Siegel & Shuster who did cause some public embarrassment to DC which subsequently resulted in the Superman creators getting an annual fee of $30,000. Not a lot considering the millions their character brought in for DC, but if you adjust for inflation they had a decent retirement for the '70s era.

      Neal also fought for creators' rights, the return of original art, higher page rates, royalties, etc. Today's industry pros have a lot to thank him for!

      Chris A.

      Delete
  5. I remember the Six Million Dollar Man covers in particular. I had all of those books back in the 70's! I was really excited when he did the black and white Six Million Dollar Man magazine interiors for a brief time. I wish he was story boarding the effects for the TV show. Perhaps the creators of the new Six Billion Dollar Man movie will use some of these stories as a springboard for the new film.

    Oh and before I forget........ Neal is making a three day appearance in Connecticut at the Mohegan Sun Comic Con! On August 14, 15, and 16th! The very first of it's kind in the area.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!