Neal Adams RIP

Losing our legends… again. 

This is a tough one. 

When I learned that Neal Adams passed away Thursday it was a punch in the gut. 

We weren’t friends. For most of my career I don’t think we even liked each other. But I wouldn’t have had a career if not for Neal.

In 1970 I was an illustrator in the US Air Force stationed in Saigon when a guy named Ed Savage arrived in country with a stack of his favorite comics, including GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW by Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. I instantly knew the kind of work I wanted to do. 

When I broke into comics three years later it was because I had learned to draw in something resembling Neal’s style, which had come to dominate the industry like Jack Kirby a couple of decades earlier. 

I was fortunate to be in the DC offices in 1975 when Denny announced he was going to resurrect the GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW title and I stepped into my dream job. I don’t think Neal ever forgave me for that, but I told him I would never have been in this business in the first place if not for him. 

Many years later we achieved a kind of peace because of an act of kindness by Neal’s son Joel. Watching me and my wife Mary struggling to set up a display at a convention, Joel stepped in and volunteered his own display and even helped us set it up. 

I went to Neal and complimented him on having raised a fine son with so kind and generous a heart. Joel learned that from his dad who always fought for the underdog.  From that moment, my relationship with Neal changed. Not a lot, but enough. 

Later, I was able to publicly thank him for everything his body of work had meant to me and I think our relationship changed again. 

When I learned of his death, I  was stunned. I still am. The thing I hate about getting old is having to write obituaries for all the people who have touched my life. 

We are losing our legends. The Hall of Heroes is filling up too fast. 

So, off you go, Neal.  Ask Denny and Dick to save me a seat.

 

Life is drawing with no eraser

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