In Memoriam: Neal Adams, 1941-2022

Posted on 5/4/2022

It’s impossible to overstate the contributions that Adams made to the comic book industry.

Certified Guaranty Company® (CGC®) joins the comic book community in celebrating the extraordinary life and career of artist Neal Adams, who sadly passed away on April 28, 2022.

“CGC had such a great working relationship with Neal Adams for many years. I personally will always remember how he would always bring me chocolates at shows,” said Brittany McManus, CGC Signature Series Director. “We are so very saddened by the loss of this amazing artist and an amazing person. He was truly one of the greats.”

Adams began his comic art career in 1960 on Adventures of the Fly by Archie Comics and later worked as a background artist for Howard Nostrand’s newspaper comic strip Bat Masterson. In 1962 he started working on the Ben Casey comic strip, where he often tackled controversial social issues such as drug use and suicide. Adams made his comic book debut in the pages of Warren Publishing’s horror comics, such as Eerie and Creepy.

He made his DC Comics debut in the pages of Our Army At War #182 in 1967, and started providing the artwork on superheroes with Action Comics #356. During his time with DC, Adams made significant contributions to characters such as Deadman, Spectre and Teen Titans. He joined Marvel Comics in 1969, where he contributed to the X-Men and Avengers comics.

Adams is perhaps best known for his work alongside writer Dennis O’Neil to revitalize Batman in 1970, distancing the hero from the bright and colorful stories of the Silver Age and moving toward a darker, more brooding vigilante. The duo followed their success with a legendary run on Green Lantern/Green Arrow that continued Adams’ talent for adapting controversial, real-world issues such as racism and drug abuse.

He created the first black Green Lantern, John Stewart, as well as Batman villains such as Man-Bat and Ras Al Ghul, and revitalized Two-Face and the Joker.

In 1985, Adams was included in the DC Comics 50th Anniversary publication, Who Made DC Great, and he received many esteemed awards, including the Eagle Award, and Inkpot Award. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame and Jack Kirby Hall of Fame.

Adams was also an avid fighter for creator rights and in 1978 helped form the Comics Creators Guild. He led the push for publishers to return original artwork to their creators, including Marvel artist Jack Kirby, and restore creator credits for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Though he may be gone, he will forever live on in the pages of comics that touched so many lives for generations before and many more to come.

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