Very sad news: Pioneering and iconic comics artist Neal Adams, best known for bringing Batman back to his grim and spooky roots in the 1970s, died this week at age 80. We will put together a suitable tribute(s), showcasing his groundbreaking art, soon.
In the meantime, some details from the Hollywood Reporter:
Adams jolted the world of comic books in the late 1960s and early ’70s with his toned and sinewy take on heroes, first at DC with a character named Deadman, then at Marvel with X-Men and The Avengers and then with his most lasting influence, Batman.
During his Batman run, Adams and writer Dennis O’Neil brought a revolutionary change to the hero and the comics, delivering realism, kineticism and a sense of menace to their storytelling in the wake of the campy Adam West-starring ’60s ABC series and years of the hero being aimed at kiddie readers.
...Adams, also with O’Neil, came up with a then-controversial turn for Green Lantern/Green Arrow, tackling social issues such as drug addiction, racism and overpopulation and creating the Green Lantern hero, Jon Stewart, who became one of DC’s first Black icons. Their 1971 two-part story “Snowbirds Don’t Fly” remains a watermark in the evolution to more mature readers.
...Adams also worked tirelessly to promote better working conditions and, radically at the time, creators’ rights, especially for their work. He early on recognized the value of creators and was a thorn in the side of publishers, demanding compensation for himself and others when their characters were adapted off the page.
...He also proved to be a champion of two writer-artists who laid the foundation for DC, Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. When he learned of their plight — one inciting factor was hearing that they could not attend a Broadway musical featuring the Man of Steel — he led a lobbying effort that eventually led to greater recognition for the pair, a creator tag in comics and other media that continues to this day, plus a pension.