This Wednesday, Comicazi (one of my favorite comic shops in the Greater Boston Area) hosted a very special guest who happened to be in town for this weekend’s Boston Comic Con; legendary artist Neal Adams, whose career consists of some of the most iconic moments in comics history. For Marvel, Adams had a hand in the Kree-Skrull War for the Avengers, an important run on the original X-Men (Including the first appearances for the Living Monolith and Alex Summers as Havok), and created the cover of Marvel Feature #1 which introduced The Defenders. Even greater accomplishments can be seen on the DC side for his work on Deadman, and for his partnership with writer Dennis O’Neil that effectively led the charge into the Bronze Age with a revitalized and highly influential take on Batman, along with their legendary run of “relevant comics” on Green Lantern/Green Arrow, collectively known today as the “Hard-Traveling Heroes” stories.
It’s my affinity for the Emerald Archer that had me excited to meet Neal. While my own collection is roughly 2/3rds Marvel, I actually own more Green Arrow books than any other individual series; only surpassed in totals by combining all of my X-books together, or by counting Thunderstrike as part of Thor (and yes… I like Thunderstrike). Largely this is due to the work of Mike Grell who gave what I still consider to be the definitive take on Green Arrow, although Neal Adams certainly provided a crucial stop along the way. It was Neal Adams who provided Ollie with a sorely needed makeover for a more current audience; complete with some saucy facial hair and (finally) a pair of arm guards for that bow string… safety first, America.
And that’s exactly what I got Neal Adams to sign; my own copy of Brave and the Bold #85 from 1969, where he pairs off with Batman to combat the very relevant topic of political assassination. The cover itself is also a terrific example of why Neal Adams is so important; how in an era comprised primarily of motionless cartoon imagery, his work made use of perspective, shading, foreshortening, and detailed facial expressions to bring characters off the printed page like never before; rivaling only Jim Steranko in terms of innovation for the times (although they each went in very different directions). This issue was a fantastic leap away from Ollie’s goofy Golden Age roots; just look at how different he appears from his previous Brave and the Bold showing in issue #71!
Among his available prints at the store, I picked up a nice Green Arrow sketch which he also signed and dedicated. He talked to me a little about Green Arrow, and asked if I was watching the current ARROW show on the CW. I said I wasn’t, but he seemed to be in favor of it (although I’ve read that he takes issue with a general lack of smiling on the show). While I don’t think I’ll start watching any time soon, it’s nice to hear when comics creators end up with positive impressions when some of their past characters end up in other media.
Anyway, thanks again to Neal, and to Comicazi for arranging the signing!