Batman and X-Men comic book artist Neal Adams dies at 80
The Marvel and DC films are some of the most popular franchise heavyweights these days, but that wouldn’t be possible without decades of comic book source material to draw from. Countless writers and artists have left their mark on these properties, and among the best-known names is Neal Adams, whose many accomplishments include memorable stints with characters like Batman and the X-Men. Sadly, it was revealed that Adams passed away at the age of 80.
Neal Adams’ wife, Marilyn Adams, told THR that her husband died Thursday in New York from complications from sepsis. Born on June 15, 1940, he was just under two months away from his 81st birthday. Besides Marilyn, Adams is survived by their three sons (Jason, Joel and Josh), as well as his daughter Zeela from his previous marriage to comic book colorist Cory Adams.
After his early work with Archie Comics, Warren Publishing, and Ben Casey comic book illustration, as well as commercial art for the advertising industry, Neal Adams made his DC Comics debut in 1967 with issue #182 from the anthology series. Our army at war. It wasn’t long before Adams was assigned to work on superhero titles like action comics and Detective comicsand among his early successes he illustrated Deadman in the pages of strange adventureswith Adams’ work helping to propel the supernatural character to heights of popularity (Deadman also came close to getting his own TV series over a decade ago).
Beginning in 1969, while still a freelancer for DC Comics, Neal Adams also began working for Marvel Comics, where he was paired with writer Roy Thomas on nearly ten issues of the X-Men series. Adams then worked on The Avengers‘ The ‘Kree-Skrull War’ storyline, and his other Marvel work in the years to come included interior art on titles like Conan’s Savage Sword and Thorand pouch for strange doctor, ghost rider and the 2015 Secret Wars miniseries, among others.
Going back to Neal Adams’ time with DC Comics, the artist will arguably be best remembered for his run with Batman over writer Denny O’Neil (who died in 2020). The two of them have previously worked together on x-men #65, and during their time on the main Batman title and Detective comicsAdams and O’Neil moved the Caped Crusader down a darker path to distance its comic book adventures from the campy tone of Adam West and Burt Ward. Batman TV series that aired from 1966 to 1968. During this time, the duo also created villains like Ra’s al Ghul, Talia al Ghul, and Man-Bat, as well as revamped classic adversaries like The Joker and Two-Face.
We could spend all day talking about the accomplishments of Neal Adams, including Superman vs Muhammad Ali and Batman: Odyssey, as well as helping to form the Comic Creators Guild. However, I would be remiss if I did not mention the work he and Denny O’Neil have done on the The Green Lantern book from 1970 to 1972, where Hal Jordan was paired with fellow Justice Leaguer Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow. With Adams having already redesigned Green Arrow’s costume and given him a distinct goatee in The brave and the daring #85, the Green Lantern/Green Arrow run commented on issues such as overcrowding, racism, and drug use, the latter of which was explored in the two-issue “Snowbirds Don’t Die” arc, where it was revealed that the sidekick of Green Arrow, Roy Harper, aka Speedy, used heroin. Adams and O’Neil also debuted John Stewart, the third human member of the Green Lantern Corps, in The Green Lantern #87, who was one of DC’s first African-American superheroes.
We at CinemaBlend express our condolences to the family and friends of Neal Adams for their loss. He was a talented creator whose work at Marvel, DC and elsewhere will be enjoyed by generations to come, and he will be missed.