My favorite articles to write are when I can provide readers some insight on comics. Many readers learned some new facts concerning Frank Frazetta after I talked with his granddaughter, Sara Frazetta. The only connection I had with Mr. Frazetta was my love for his work. It inspired me both as a fan and in my profession. Now, on this Father’s Day, I wanted to share some facts I learned about another living legend, Neal Adams, as told by his talented son, Jason.
Jason Adams… Tour Guide
I was lucky to have a friend who connected me with Jason Adams. Jason is the son of legendary comic book artist, Neal Adams. During my interview with Jason, I mentioned how I stood in silence at a convention where his dad was in attendance. Here I was, watching the man who drew so many iconic covers, and I got to see him creating more art. He was awe-inspiring. Now, I had the privilege of talking to his son and hearing tales that I can relay to you this Father’s Day.
Our readers deserve more than the basics on Neal Adams. Jason realized this would be more than asking simple questions like ‘what was his favorite character to draw?’ Jason kind of joked and said his dad would probably answer that his favorite is always the next one that he draws. The greats like Neal Adams and Tom Brady always look to their next challenge and never rest on their laurels. Jason is talented in the way he tells stories, yet sadly, I have only a small space to share those golden nuggets. I will do my best to paint the picture he did for me on his father…
Neal Adams…The Man
Jason humanized his father in his stories. That is important on Father’s Day because it made him more personable. I learned that Jason Adams is an artist and creator like his father. He once drew a simple character called Armor as a teen who fought martial arts based upon animal fighting styles. What fascinated me was that his dad took that unique idea and developed it into a Continuity Comics issue with many of the original elements still in the final version. I enjoyed hearing this tale of how a simple cover sketch from a son could turn into work by his dad. Jason then revealed to me some insight into his father.
Jason wanted to make one of his creations more into the anti-hero mode. Mr. Adams would have none of that. He would assist in helping flesh out his son’s creations, but he would not violate a rule of his even for his son. That rule was that Neal would not let heroes kill. Jason’s insight into his dad’s view made me realize why Neal was able to create such characters as John Stewart, tell such sagas as the Speedy drug story, and make Batman cool. Neal Adams views heroes as the best that mankind can be even under the most trying of times. Maybe this is one reason I have observed many people from different political ideologies and views admire the work of Mr. Adams. Deep down, he told stories that were meant to inspire and make readers think of what could be rather than what is.
Neal Adams…The Myth
Jason shared another story that kind of shocked me. Neal Adams is well known as a regular comic book convention guest. In this story, Jason shared that a person who purchased a work of Neal’s felt slighted when the artist asked the guests in attendance in front of him to tell him some stories as he worked. Apparently, this individual felt that Neal Adams was demanding to be “entertained ” by the guests. I then was given insight into the man revealing why this attendee’s view was off base. Neal is a storyteller. He did not want people like me to put him on a pedestal and sit there in silence as he worked. Mr. Adams wanted to tell stories because that is who he is as an artist. He did not just want to draw in silence, he wanted to tell stories to his fans.
Neal Adams is comic book royalty. Generations have appreciated his work. There is no need for him to go to comic book conventions and spend countless hours in bad-fitting chairs drawing countless sketches to qualify him as a comic book legend. Many do not realize this, but he has a rule where he and his family must work out a minimum number of times a week. Eating comic convention food while sitting for extended periods probably does not help him with his healthy lifestyle goal. Mr. Adams does it because he wants to engage with his fans. He does not want to be admired from afar but instead wants to share with his fans. He is an artist who gives part of himself to us the fans even though he does not have to do so, and that should be appreciated.
Neal Adams…The Legend
I had the pleasure of sharing with Jason a personal story involving my own work. I told him that Frank Frazetta art in an estate helped me assist an elderly woman find a better life through the court system. Next, I shared with Jason how his dad’s artwork also assisted me in another case that deeply impacted me. On my bookshelf, I had a photocopy of the famous Superman #233 cover created by his father. I had learned that comic art helps a child relate to adults, so it filled my office. One child related to that cover and shared a story with me that was painful to hear. I did not want to hear it, but I needed to for that child’s sake. But for that piece of work, I would have never heard that story. It changed a life for the better.
I wrote previously how Neal Adams was a hero of mine. His Speedy drug story probably saved many lives because it was the first time comic book readers may have been exposed to the dangers of drug use. Jason then revealed a story that made me realize how this comic book legend impacted his son. A teacher once said that comic books were not the best thing for young students to read. Jason then stated why his dad believed comics were important to young people, revealing his true brilliance. Neal Adams believed that comics were important because they were one of the few things that kids would pay their own money for that they would read. I had never thought of that before, but he was right. Where would many of us be without comics?
Perfect for Father’s Day
I wish had more time to write about facts Jason shared about his father. He reminded me of how important a good father can be in a child’s life. For Jason, one of his first paying jobs was for a Superman toy that his father worked on that never was produced. I also enjoyed listening as Jason revealed one of his dad’s proudest accomplishments was not in his artwork, but rather in keeping people employed in the art field through his company. If you want to learn more about Neal Adams please visit the Official Neal Adams Appreciation Page. Here you will find stories about Neal told by Jason and others who appreciate his work. If you want to ask about a commissioned work please email Jason at email@example.com .
GoCollect investors and fans should also sign up at Neal Adams Crusty Bunkers Comics and Toys. Here you can find Neal sometimes talking before his work is sold at auction. I have seen comics and original artwork at this site so you never know what treasures you will find. I have seen things come up on this site that I had never seen before, so it should be a must-visit for our readers. You may find the perfect gift for the dad in your life. You can also visit nealadamsstore.com for other works by Neal Adams.
I want to thank Jason for the time and photos he gave me access to for this article. I also want to thank all the dads in the world who influence children in a positive way. Even if you’re not labeled a dad but are there for a child, you also should be celebrated this day. I also want to thank both my mom and my dad who helped nurture my love for comic books and other collectibles.
Neal Adams was right, I spent many of my hard-earned dollars on comics. I am lucky my parents encouraged me to buy the books I loved to read. Comics were a part of me then and still a part of me now. You both are the best and I am glad you are part of my life because I am better for that.