Adam Hughes: Good Girrr….Ahem, All Around Artist

by Patrick Bain

111921A-300x157 Adam Hughes: Good Girrr....Ahem, All Around ArtistIs it a compliment or an insult to refer to Adam Hughes as a ‘Good Girl’ artist?  Not to say Wikipedia is the Encyclopedia Britannica, but Wikipedia describes Hughes as best known for “his renderings of pinup-style female characters”.  And further, Hughes is “one of comics’ foremost cheesecake artists”.  So, let’s explore some of Hughes’ works and recent art sales to decide for ourselves.

Adam Hughes Artist Bibliography

Wonder-Woman-600-2010-Adam-Hughes-Variant-191x300 Adam Hughes: Good Girrr....Ahem, All Around ArtistTo decide if Adam Hughes is a full-course meal or just cheesecake for dessert, let’s start with the early independent works in Hughes’s bibliography.  I’m not talking household names like Wonder Woman and Batgirl.  His first published comic work appeared in Eagle #6, published by Crystal.  The 1987 comic included his one-page illustration, but that hasn’t moved the investor meter.  eBay prices range from about ten to twenty bucks for Adam Hughes’s 1st appearance and I found the complete 23-issue set available for $50.  It’s a pass for me, but maybe it’s one of those undervalued independents Joe Overaitis was talking about.  Other issues feature original art from Matt Wagner, Ron Lim, and Bill Willingham.

Maze-Agency-1-from-Comico-1988-197x300 Adam Hughes: Good Girrr....Ahem, All Around ArtistThe Maze Agency from Comico/Innovation with cover and interior art by Adam Hughes is probably a better independent play.  Lightly slabbed and available in raw grades–it’s cheap.  Maze Agency 2 cover art sold for under $1,000 in 2019.  This series makes a lot more sense for Hughes fans.  It boasts Adam Hughes’s cover and interior good girrr… ahem, all-around art.

Hughes paid his dues working for Apple Press, Adventure Publications, and First before getting the nod to illustrate Justice League America.

At DC: Justice League America

Justice-League-America-42-198x300 Adam Hughes: Good Girrr....Ahem, All Around ArtistIn 1989, Hughes joined the big dogs at DC.  He debuted in Justice League America #31 as the regular artist.  Though the prominent JLA members at that time were Guy Gardner and Blue Beetle, Hughes flexed his artistic muscles to quickly gain a fan following.  I’m not confident that these late 80’s/early 90’s JL titles will ever be on the GoCollect Hottest Comics list.  However, Hughes’s cover and interior art from the series do reasonably well.  Justice League America #42 cover art sold in September for $8,100.  Not bad considering no Wonder Woman…but speaking of.

Adam Hughes and Wonder Woman

Wonder-Woman-139-195x300 Adam Hughes: Good Girrr....Ahem, All Around ArtistHughes came up huge when DC gave him the role of Amazonian Princess cover artist beginning in Wonder Woman #139 (second series 1998).  All around good artist Adam Hughes illustrated about fifty Wonder Woman covers.  CGC sales numbers spike for the early Hughes WW issues compared to the prior issues.  Many average roughly $70 for CGC 9.8s.

Wonder-Woman-170-cover-art-by-Adam-Hughes-190x300 Adam Hughes: Good Girrr....Ahem, All Around ArtistThe Adam Hughes variant for Wonder Woman #600 (2010) pictured above has outperformed the other versions in sales and average price ($400 in the last 30 days).  Likewise, original cover art for WW is outperforming.  Art from Wonder Woman #170 sold in September for $20,400.  Compare that to art from WW 177 also by Hughes that sold for less than $3,000 in 2009.

From DC’s number one good girl to DC’s most wanted bad girl, Catwoman.

Enter the Cat

Catwoman-63-original-art-by-Adam-Hughes-212x300 Adam Hughes: Good Girrr....Ahem, All Around ArtistEnter Adam Hughes on the cover of Catwoman #44.  Similar to the Hughes debut on Wonder Woman, CGC sales jumped markedly when he took over Catwoman cover duties.  Issues 45 and 46 lead the way on volume and price, roughly $100 average for high grades.  Jumps like that in price and volume are good indicators that the original art will fare well, too.  Cover art from Catwoman #63 recently fetched $26,400 at auction.  That’s the top sales price for Hughes art at Heritage Auctions.  However, if cover art from issue 45 or 46 comes to auction, I’m confident it will sell even higher.

Here’s a question for the Adam Hughes fan.  Is Catwoman his most iconic character?

Adam Hughes Good Artist Wrap-Up

Betty-and-Veronica-1-cover-art-by-Adam-Hughes-e1636996670115-262x300 Adam Hughes: Good Girrr....Ahem, All Around ArtistIn Riverdale, the two most iconic girls are Betty and Veronica.  I’m not sure if there’s a Ginger vs. Mary Ann debate with these girls.  But, with the advent of the TV series, Archie’s gang has undergone an extreme makeover.  The 2016 Betty and Veronica #1 featured cover art by Hughes.  I think the girls are finally having a showdown about who gets Archie.  Either way, the original art sold in 2019 for $9,000.

So with the evidence presented to the jury, is Adam Hughes just a ‘Good Girl’ artist?  Or, does his body of work suggest something more?  I’m not going to enter the debate.  I freely admit that this blog has been a research assignment for me.  So, Adam Hughes fans… stand up and make your case.

Meanwhile, for those that enjoy artists from the Silver and Bronze ages, you may want to read about the breakout I’m seeing in Doctor Strange art.

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Ruben Rivera November 22, 2021 - 1:44 pm

Adam Hughes is one of my all time favorite comic book artists. Nice article. Hey, how about: Dirty Pair Run from the Future #1 Adam Hughes cover is stunning.

Patrick Bain November 22, 2021 - 5:48 pm

Thanks for reading Rubin! As an Adam Hughes fan, I defer to you. Anyone else love this cover that Ruben is touting? What else do you guys love?

George C November 23, 2021 - 11:44 am

Maybe it’s me, but I think his definitive character is Power Girl. His cover to Power Girl #2 is my favorite cover of all time. It is stunning!

Patrick Bain November 27, 2021 - 12:47 am

Thanks for reading, George. I would say Power Girl is a favorite subject of many artists.

ABaer November 23, 2021 - 4:34 pm

Patrick, good timing here…. that B&V piece is currently up for auction and has already surpassed that price with three weeks to go! You’ll find that and two others of his on ComicLink.

Patrick Bain November 27, 2021 - 12:38 am

Thanks for the tip. Of course there’s probably some bidders on ComicLink cursing you right now! LOL.

Dave Stevens November 24, 2021 - 9:50 am

Hughes is clearly a good girl artist but that is a tremendous compliment.

Patrick Bain November 27, 2021 - 12:44 am

There’s definitely an audience, Dave. I think Hughes talent is evident. I hope he doesn’t limit himself by his reputation.


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