An interview with comic book great Neal Adams

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
In the middle of 1970, I was 15 years old and a budding comic book critic who spent (probably too) much time writing letters to the editor. One of my favorite artists —then and now —Neal Adams, was rendering groundbreaking illustrations for DC Comics, especially in stories featuring Batman.

Detective Comics No. 403 was one of the comics that sent me to the typewriter in praise of Adams’ work.

Click for legible image of
the Detective Comics 407 letters page
My fan letter appeared a few months later in Detective No. 407, reading in part:
“The Neal Adams cover was a typically excellent Adams job. But, as so many of Neal’s covers have been, this one’s effectiveness was (at least) halved by those ever-present, ever-ugly word balloons. Allow me to register my dissatisfaction with the present Detective logo. It’s too cluttered and bulky.”
A snotty kid, huh? (But I was ahead of my time. You just don’t see a lot of word balloons on comics covers nowadays.)

Neal Adams, March 18, 2016
So you can imagine how cool it was on March 18, 2016, finally to interview Adams at the C2E2 pop-culture convention in Chicago. Here’s how it sounded on Rivet Radio.

Click for legible image
of letters from Schumer and Brennert
Through the player at the bottom of this post, completists can hear the almost-raw audio of the Adams interview—minus interruptions by fans requesting (and paying for) autographs. (I bought and asked him to autograph a collected edition of what he says is one of his favorite works, Batman: Odyssey.)

Note: In that 1970 fan letter, I was unduly tough on the great Dennis O’Neil and the late Frank Robbins, both of whom did outstanding work over the years. Did I mention I was 15?

Also note: Comic book letters pages were an incubator for creative talent. Also in that issue were letters from future comics (and other media) pros Arlen Schumer, Alan Brennert and Clem Robins.

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