28 August 2005

Trembling Before Greatness: Comics Legend Neal Adams

This year's Canadian National Comic Book Expo offered the usual embarrassment of riches for fans (insert obvious "geek" joke here) of every possible medium and splinter genre: sci-fi TV and film, fantasy role playing games, Japanese anime, cult horror, and of course, a certain four-colour medium still inching towards respectability. The top draw (rimshot) for your humble narrator was the rare chance to meet the great Neal Adams--probably the pop-culture figure with the most direct cause-and-effect influence on my career, since it was his work and only his work that I shamelessly copied as a youngster and through my student years held up as the penultimate standard of illustration excellence (I didn't say I was as good as Adams, but a mere mortal can have dreams...). The always- outspoken Adams was a young turk who not only revolutionized the look of Silver Age comics with his dynamic realism and experimental techniques, but he became a champion for artists' rights, crusading (and winning!) for increased rates, ownership of original art, reprint fees, medical coverage, and pensions. Thirty years after he stopped drawing "Batman" and left DC Comics to form Continuity Studios, his rendering of the character remains definitive. Click here to see the master in action as he creates the recently famous (even though he first drew him in "Batman" #232 back in 1971) R'as Al Gul step-by-step.