|While I was wandering the aisles of Wizard World Austin Comic Con I stumbled across the rather large booth of legendary comic book artist Neal Adams. There he sat, visiting with fans and simultaneously sketching. Surprisingly enough, there was not a large crowd around his booth and I took some time to look it over from one end to the other. Among the items for sale were a number of prints by Adams, some recreations of classic comic book and magazine covers, while others were portraits of the super-heroes (DC and Marvel) that he has drawn over the years. The prints were selling for twenty bucks and I knew that a signed Neal Adams art print was something I absolutely had to have.|
The first comic book with Neal Adams artwork (both cover and interior) that I bought was BRAVE AND THE BOLD #79. I was only vaguely aware of the Deadman character (I'd seen ads for his appearances in STRANGE ADVENTURES but I'd never sampled the series) but I sure knew who Batman was and this cover really reached out and grabbed me. I loved it and made a point to start buying B&B on a regular basis, especially if the same artist (I didn't know Adams name at the time) drew it.
I kept buying B&B on a regular basis and Adams work continued to knock me out. Then came BRAVE AND BOLD #85 with a new look and character redesign of Green Arrow and a political assassination story ripped from the headlines (as the saying goes). I absolutely freaking loved this comic and to this day, B&B #85 remains in my personal top ten comic books of all time.
And I vividly recall buying X-MEN #56 off of the stands and seeing on the splash page this blurb: "And introducing the penciling wizardry of Neal Adams". At last, I had a full name to go with this incredible artist. I was more hooked than ever before.
Neal Adams quickly became one of my all-time favorite comic book artists and the number of great books he drew are legion. I have many, many fond memories of buying and reading Adams illustrated books brand new off of the spinner racks and being completely spellbound and overwhelmed by the power of his art.
So there I stood in front of this man whose art meant so much to me. I purchased the Superman print that adorns this blog, an image from ACTION COMICS #419. I had him sign it and inscribe it to me. I shook hands with the gentleman and then I became a twelve-year old kid. I started babbling, literally babbling, about how great his art was and how much it meant to me and how it blew my mind the first time I saw it.
Adams, with great and deliberate patience (as I'm sure he's heard such rants many, many times over), simply smiled at me and said, in a conspiratorial tone, "it was my job to blow your mind."
You did your job well Mr. Adams. Very well. Many thanks for the memories and for an unforgettable encounter that brought out the exuberant fanboy in me.