Sunday, September 17, 2006

Reasons I Love Comics (issue#7):Kneel Before Neal!

At the end of what is now known as 'The Silver Age', Marvel had come from virtually nowhere to becoming undisputed market leaders. They had the most popular artists- Kirby, Colan, Ditko and Steranko. DC needed their own superstar to battle with Marvel's artistic hegemony. They found one in Neal Adams.
Marvel's artists approach to superhero art was exaggeration and larger-than-life depictions of action and anatomy. Adams' approach was different, almost the opposite. His work treated the fantasy worlds of the superheroes in a realistic way. Adams has fantastic command of anatomy, and this mixed with his photographic realism made the superhero world visually believable. Adams is responsible for the definitive versions of many of DC's superheroes: First on Deadman, then on to Green Lantern/Green Arrow and then his unsurpassed work on Batman.
Adams was also a master of expression, his characters actually looked like they were saying what the scriptwriter wanted them to say. His heroes had a grace to them, their movements had a kind of flow to them. His style led to a change in the kind of stories that could be told in comics, more dramatic, emotional and topical stories were now achievable, especially in the stories he did with Denny O'Neill in Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow . Also worthy of a mention is the short run he did with Roy Thomas on Uncanny X-Men just before that title was cancelled. Adams' page composition was outstanding also: his page layouts and panel sequences are up there with Steranko's.
He was years ahead of his time and a direct influence on most of today's different styles of modern comic book art. Adams influenced and is still influencing generations of artists, as he was one of the first to realise the potential of the comics medium.

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