comic book creator #3

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# A TwoMorrows Publication No. 3, Fall 2013 $ 8.95 in the USA 1 8 2 6 5 8 9 7 0 7 3 4 0 3 also inside: Sean Howe • earl norem • mark waid • leS danielS • JoSHua dySart THE NEW VOICE OF THE COMICS MEDIUM Batman TM & © DC Comics

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COMIC BOOK CREATOR #3 spotlights NEAL ADAMS' BATMAN: ODYSSEY (the recent 13-issue DC Comics mini-series written and drawn by the comics legend), in a unique, comprehensive examination of an artist and his work. We grapple with the question: is the book a masterwork for the ages or an epic fail of mythic proportions? CBC goes in deep with the creator to examine his intent with Adams vigorously responding to critics, as we balance the successes and weaknesses of the quintessential Batman artist's ultimate take on a beloved character — all behind a new Neal Adams Darknight Detective cover and lushly illustrated throughout with a bodacious bevy of Batman art by the master illustrator. Plus we interview SEAN HOWE about his hit book, MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLD STORY; present part one of our MARK WAIT interview; check in on Harbinger writer JOSHUA DYSART; present the final installment of our LES DANIELS remembrance; and, as always, check out HEMBECK!

TRANSCRIPT

Page 1: Comic Book Creator #3

#

A Tw o M o r r o w s P u b l i c a t i o n N o . 3 , F a l l 2 0 1 3

$8.95 in the USA

1 82658 97073 4

0 3

also inside: Sean Howe • earl norem • mark waid • leS danielS • JoSHua dySart

T h e N e w V o i c e o F T h e c o M i c s M e d i u M

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an TM &

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Page 2: Comic Book Creator #3

Comic Book Creator ™ is published quarterly by TwoMorrows Publishing, 10407 Bedfordtown Dr., Raleigh, NC 27614 USA. Phone: (919) 449-0344. Jon B. Cooke, editor. John Morrow, publisher. Comic Book Creator editorial offices: P.O. Box 204, West Kingston, RI 02892 USA. E-mail: [email protected]. Send subscription funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial offices. Four-issue subscriptions: $36 US, $50 Canada, $65 elsewhere. All characters are © their respective copyright owners. All material © their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter ©2013 Jon B. Cooke/TwoMorrows. Comic Book Creator is a TM of Jon B. Cooke/TwoMorrows. Printed in China. FIRST PRINTING.

With superb hues by Continuity coloring queen Cory Adams, CBC is grateful to feature what was the first version intended as the cover of Neal Adams’ Batman Odyssey hardcover collection, though the artist decided on a less “busy” layout. Revised version below. Thanks to Neal, Cory & Continuity Studios!

Fall 2013 • The New Voice of the Comics Medium • Number 3

BAT-W©©dy CBC mascot by J.d. King©2013 J.D. King.

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About Our Cover

Art by neAl AdAmsColor by CORy AdAms,

Continuity StudioS

t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

ye ed’s Rant: Hero worship — the pathetic allegiance of many comics fans ................ 2

CoMiCs ChaTTer sean Howe’s Untold story: The bestselling author talks with Ye Ed about his acclaimed history of “The House of Ideas,” now in paperback ........................ 4

incoming: Kerfluffles & kudos dominate our first letters column .................................. 10

The good stuff: The Fifth Beatle, a new graphic novel about the Fab Five(!), is examined by Jorge Khoury .................................................................. 14

Hembeck’s dateline: Our Man Fred chats with some of the audacious artist’s memorable characters about Hair — we mean, Herr Adams ........................................ 17

Aushenkerology: Complete with gallery, Michael Aushenker talks with legendary cover painter Earl Norem ............................................................... 18

irving on the inside: Part one of a Mark Waid career retrospective by Christopher Irving covering the work of the renowned comic book scripter .................. 22

reMeMBraNCe les daniels, Facts & Fictions: Part two of a look at an amazingly creative life ....... 28

l’Amour, mon Amour: A look at the new Louis L’Amour graphic novel adaptation .... 35

dysart Out of Africa: Michael Aushenker interviews writer Joshua Dysart about his popular Harbinger, visiting wartorn Africa, and working with Neil Young ............... 37

CoVer sTorY

neal Adams’ Odyssey: An epic interview with the fabled artist/writer about his graphic novel, Batman Odyssey, and the man’s response to his critics .............42

Creator’s Creators: The Story & Glory of Gentleman Jorge Khoury ............................. 79

Coming Attractions: Be here next time when we feature a career-spanning conversation with the great artist and raconteur, Russ Heath! ......................................... 79

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words: A remarkable Neal Adams rarity — art you didn’t know he did — Aurora’s 1966 Robin, the Boy Wonder, model kit! .......... 80

Right: Detail from Batman Odyssey. Pencils and inks by Neal Adams.

We kid you not! Every issue of COMiC BOOk CreaTOr includes a 16-page (sometimes more!) PDF bonus section containing exclusive material not found in the printed edition. So go and get your free CBC now!

ComiC Book Creator is a proud joint production of Jon B. Cooke/TwoMorrows

free cbc! free cbc! free cbc!www.twomorrows.com/freestuff

Page 3: Comic Book Creator #3

interview conducted by JOn B. COOKe CBC Editor

[Thank heaven for the Blizzard of 2013, when Casa Cooke was without power in sub-freezing temperatures and the snow was threatening to trap us indoors. Why the gratitude for the second disastrous weather event to hit my region in six months? Because the downtime — no electricity, no computer — finally gave me a chance to read, old-school

style, all of Sean Howe’s finely-scribed history of the House that Stan, Jack and Steve built, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. Sean and I have been in touch for some time and I’m delighted he’s agreed to be interviewed in Comic Book Creator. The Brooklyn-based author’s bestselling tome, now in its seventh printing as hardback, is imminently due for paperback release. We spoke via phone on June 10 and Sean copy-edited the Q&A for accuracy and clari-ty. Steven “Flash” Thompson provided the transcription. — ye editor]

Comic Book Creator: How’d the idea for Marvel Comics: The Untold Story come about?Sean Howe: It was really just a book I was waiting for other people to do. I’d say for 10 years I’d been reading a lot of interviews in publications like Comic Book Artist and thinking that there was a great shadow history of the company that wasn’t really been collected in any one place. Like a lot of comic fans, I grew up reading this different version of what the bullpen was

like, you know? One thing that I’ve said to a lot of people is that learning more about the actual behind-the-scenes events was kind of like learning that your uncle had a second family nobody knew about. I was captivated by the idea that the personalities that I had grown up with functioned a bit differently than I had thought for all those years. CBC: What was your childhood impression of the mighty Marvel bullpen?Sean: I think exactly what Stan Lee intended. [laughs] It was this idea that this place of just laughs and hi-jinks and creative people just pulling pranks on each other while they did these amazing stories. Certainly there is some truth to that at different times in the history: earlier, in the ’40s and ’50s, there were a lot of guys working together and kind of having a lot of fun with each other all under one roof and

then later, other people who had grown up with Stan Lee’s idea of what the Bullpen was kind of willed something like that into existence in the ’70s and ’80s. Under Mark Gruen-wald’s watch [in the 1980s], there were actual practical jokes and crazy things going on. CBC: Ultimately, what was the reality of the bullpen overall?Sean: One major difference, of course, is that there were a lot of people who were doing heavy lifting who weren’t even coming to the office. So that, right there, was a huge gap from what we thought. You didn’t get the idea that people were working from home in Long Island all the time and having pages delivered in or walking them in themselves. You thought it was kind of like Santa’s workshop. Another dif-ference is that there were egos involved. They were actual human beings who were interacting with each other and that is always going to have some drama. Some people get along better than others and some people feel unrecognized and some people get a better deal out of things.

I don’t want to concentrate too much on the negativity. It’s just that there was that schism between what everybody grew up thinking about it and this Utopian community that couldn’t possibly have been real. I don’t particularly think that working for Marvel in 1974 was a bad place to work; I just think there is something that’s thrilling about uncovering the mystery behind… I don’t know about you, but Marvel Comics was one of the first workplaces into which I felt like I had a peek. There was the school where my parents worked and then there was reading about Marvel. I was like, “This sounds amazing! If you grow up and you want to work in a fun place, this is perfection!” So I guess that roots itself so deeply in your mind that you really want to know what the truth was.CBC: What’s your background?Sean: I worked in film. I worked at a DVD company called the Criterion Collection for a few years. So that certainly served me well in terms of having a real feel for archival research.CBC: What movies did you work on?Sean: Only a couple hundred. [laughs] The ones I felt the closest to were the movies of John Cassavetes. I worked for a long time on a box set of five of his films. Everything from old Kurosawa to more recent Wes Anderson movies. And a lot of it was just digging for archival material and finding what had been written about it previously. CBC: Is most of that digging done on the Web?Sean: More and more. In terms of this book, I would say I used the Web a lot in order to find the resources that weren’t on the Web. Does that make any sense?

For instance, one thing that I might have Googled would be to find out, say, where Jim Starlin had given interviews in the 1970s. The interviews themselves wouldn’t be online but I could maybe get a sense of which fanzines he spoke to be-cause, up until very recently, the mainstream media wasn’t really paying much attention to Marvel Comics. You can find a People magazine interview with Stan Lee — you can find a lot of interviews with Stan Lee — but if you wanted to read about what, say, Gerry Conway was thinking in the 1970s, you’re going to have to dig quite a bit harder. The Comics Journal interviews will be pretty easy to find, but a lot of the history is just in mimeographed form and not indexed in any real way that’s accessible. A lot of libraries have started keeping collections of old fanzines, which I think is a really

Howe’s Untold StoryThe author of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story talks about Stan Lee’s House of Ideas

Above: Courtesy of CBC’s own fantabulous photographer

Seth Kushner, his portrait of the author in question, Sean Howe.

Sean Howe portrait ©

2013 Seth Kushner.

4 #3 • Fall 2013 • CoMiC Book CreaTor

comics chatter

Page 4: Comic Book Creator #3

great thing for researchers and historians.CBC: Judging by the footnotes, TwoMorrows’ publications, Alter Ego and CBA, as you mentioned, were a source for material. Sean: Yeah, because you and a handful of people at TwoMorrows were doing serious interviews with people who are no longer alive. You got in there at a time where, generationally, a lot of important creators were fading away. It’s a real shame that more people didn’t step up and try to find out the stories of people like Morrie Kuramoto, back when they could talk. When did Comic Book Artist start? Ninety-nine was it?CBC: Ninety-eight.Sean: Yeah, and I guess that started around the time that you were starting to see a lot more interviews online, but since you were focusing not on the hot new artists, in many cases, you were the only one who recorded history—as you know.

CBC: Thank you. How many interviews did you do yourself?Sean: I would say close to 150 interviews, whether or not the people are actually quoted in the book.CBC: The company started as Timely, came from pulp origins, and Martin Goodman was at the top of it. What in the general assessment is your view of Marvel Comics as it started and perhaps the copycat tradition that it had for a period of time?Sean: I guess if you’re talking about the ’40s and ’50s versus what came later, I would say that doing the book gave me a much, much stronger appreciation of the stuff that Timely was doing in the ‘40s. The variety of styles! If you go through, like, Mystic Comics or one of those anthology comics from the ‘40s, you really get a lot more of the artist’s sensibility than you would see peeking through post-Jack Kirby. Some of that stuff feels like something is just shot straight from somebody’s Id; it’s almost a kind of outsider art. There’s an amateurishness that I find to be kind of refreshing.

Below: This Marie Severin mon-tage of Marvel characters actually appeared in an advertisement appearing in the 1982 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, though we found the Mirthful One’s black-&-white line art gracing CBC friend Trina Robbins’ book A Century of Women Cartoonists [1993], and thought it’d be a lark to have our colorist jazz it up with his Technicolor hues and to have Ye Ed Photoshop in the trade paperback cover of Sean’s book.

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by JORge KHOuRy CBC Contributing Editor

Right this way! This is your invitation to the greatest story never told behind the most mammoth musical act of the 20th century: the Beatles! This November make a reservation to be swept away by the new graphic novel entitled The Fifth Beatle by writer Vivek J. Tiwary and artist Andrew C. Robin-son, with a special sequence drawn by ever-present modern master Kyle Baker. The lavish novella earnestly captures the triumphs and tragedies behind the shortened life of Brian Epstein: manager, discoverer and champion of the Beatles.

The story behind this book began more than 20 years ago for Vivek Tiwary, way before his great successes as the pro-ducer of popular Broadway shows like Green Day’s Amer-ican Idiot and The Addams Family, with an epiphany that came to him during his business school days. Remembering back, Tiwary recalls, “I was in business school and I couldn’t believe that I couldn’t find out more information about this guy [Epstein] so it became like a mystery to uncover. You could find out anything about the Beatles, why was there so little information about their manager? So I went about doing this research, tracking down old newspaper articles, contacting people who knew him, and this was long before

I was writing screenplays or graphic novels or anything like that! I was just a young man looking for research for a business blueprint, something for inspiration. I certainly got what I was looking for initially which was the business side of things — the story about how he managed them initially, how he got them a record deal when no one wanted to sign them, how he convinced Ed Sullivan to book them when Sullivan wasn’t interested, how he put them in their suits and suggested the haircuts. All of that is in the book and that’s a wonderful story in and of itself but it was really the human side of his story that deeply connected for me.”

To the public, much about the inner workings of Brian Epstein is pretty much a mystery. Like the Beatles, he was a Liverpudlian, but unlike them he came from an a success-ful business-oriented family, served in the army, studied in boarding schools, and even trained to be actor at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. In typical un-derachiever fashion, he quit acting to fall back managing the music section of North End Music Stores, his family’s depart-ment store. He proved himself to have such a great knack for retailing music that his family soon opened a second store for young Epstein to manage. On Nov. 6, 1961, Epstein’s entire word changed upon seeing the Beatles perform at

the now legendary Cavern Club. Pretty much from the first sight and sound of the band, he was a believer of the tremendous talent and charisma projected from the lads. By Jan. ’62, Epstein — having never managed a band before — became the Beatles manager, one deter-mined to take them to the top of the stratosphere.

Various Beatles comics have been done before but never one with the amount of passion and energy that’s been given to this project from its creators. For writer/entrepreneur Tiwary, this is a personal project with decades of research, one that began before the notion of ever creating a proper book took place, which simply started as a look at Epstein’s incredible success with the Fab Four. As a fan of the comics medium, Tiwary knew he could tell his story in the manner he saw fit with artistic eloquence and without any constraints.

Tiwary explained, “When I first started thinking about

The Beat Goes On! A Look at ‘The Fifth Beatle’

Khoury talks to writer Vivek J. Tiwary & artist Andrew C. Robinson about the Fab Five

Below: Wraparound cover art by Andrew C. Robinson for The Fifth

Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, conceived and written by Vivek J.

Tiwary and illustrated by Robinson with Kyle Baker. The graphic novel,

published by Dark Horse, is avail-able in stores on Nov. 19. Courtesy

of Tiwary Entertainment Group, Ltd.

© 2013 Tiw

ary Entertainment Group LTD.

14 #3 • Fall 2013 • CoMiC Book CreaTor

the good stuff

Page 6: Comic Book Creator #3

by miCHAel AusHenKeR CBC Associate Editor

Imagine the great master artists Jacques-Louis David, Leon-ardo Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, and Michelangelo Buonarroti applying their realist aesthetics to the Marvel universe.

This might be an exaggerated notion, but that’s kind of what it felt like as a kid when artists such as Bob Larkin, Har-old Shull, Luis Dominguez, and Joe Jusko took to characters such as Shang-Chi, Conan the Barbarian, The Incredible Hulk, and Moon Knight with a painter’s brush. King among these Marvel magazine cover artists was Earl Norem.

Today, talented guys such as Dave Johnson (100 Bullets), Arthur Suydam (Marvel Zombies), Michael Komarck (Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom), and, most famously, Alex Ross (Kingdom Come) have made painted covers on standard format comics a routine event. But in the 1970s, there were less than a handful of artists tackling such assignments. You had the Larkins and the Norems painting characters on the covers of the Marvel magazines (which escaped the comics code and suggested more adult — sexual and violent — fare) and paperback reprints. Back then, when you saw one of those magical covers, it was more novel, more special.

With his enchanted paint brush, Norem brought to life an array of characters that graced the covers of magazines such as Planet of the Apes, Monsters Unleashed, Drac-ula Lives!, Rampaging Hulk, Tales of the Zombie, Marvel Preview, Savage Sword of Conan, and, in the 1980s, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

He first hit The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu with the Dec. 1974’s #7. Within those covers, writer Doug Moench and art-

ists Mike Vosburg and Al Milgrom worked on the interior. But it was the Norem wrapper, a Bruce Lee nunchuk scene, that hinted at the spectacular covers to come, which depicted Shang-Chi (starting with #9), the White Tiger (#27) and Iron Fist (#29) in colorful, hyper-realistic, fully rendered glory not seen within the pen-and-inked pages of Marvel Comics. Norem took to Deadly Hands following a few issues each by cover artists Neal Adams and Larkin.

On the fifth of May in 2011 (when this interview was con-ducted by phone), through the window of his country home in the Northeast, Earl Norem can see a wild turkey running up the hill. Norem, 88, has made Connecticut his home for many decades, first in Wilton (“For 11 years… It got to be a bedroom town for New York commuters and got really expensive”), then New Milford, where he lives today with his wife of 62 years, Margaret (whom everyone calls “Peggy”). Norem’s daughter, Andrea, is a teacher, and his grandson, currently attending Western Connecticut Univer-sity, aspires to be an art teacher. He no doubt learned a lot from his gramps.

Born in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, New York, Norem grew up in Bayside, Long Island, where, he tells us with a laugh, “I always drew everything. My dad used to say, ‘Hey stop that drawing and do your math.’”

“I used to copy these super-heroes and things and then make up my own super-heroes. I was pretty good at figures.”

Norem majored for a year-and-a-half in engineering at University of Vermont before he entered the military during World War II. It was during this time that he met his wife of seven decades.

“The guy that I roomed with at University of Vermont, he was an [agriculture] student but he stayed on the farm,” Norem says. “He rented a farm in Vermont from people from New Jersey. They had a paint factory. He needed paint. We went to this fellow’s house and there was Peg. She was staying with her aunt and uncle, going to secretarial school. Our eyes met and that was it.”

Throughout his conversation, Norem, upbeat and good humored, punctuates the end of every other sentence with a rheumy laugh (he had recently come down with a bad cold). Norem no longer takes professional as-

signments. In fact, he rarely picks up a brush these days. Cataracts and arthritis have caught up with him and robbed him of the artistic gifts of his youth. These days, he observes his professional career through the rear-view mirror.

Yet Norem delights to hear that he still has many fans out there in the world who delight in what he has achieved. His thoughts about fame, punctuated with a chuckle: “When I needed it, I didn’t have it.” — m.A.

The Deadly Painting Hand of Earl Norem

Long before Alex Ross, the painter endowed super-heroes with hyper-realism

inset right: Earl Norem’s sombre Rampaging Hulk #9 [June 1978] cover painting features the orig-inal “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” Below: Poster from Masters of

the Universe Magazine #1 [Winter 1985]. Art by Earl Norem.

Below: Photo of Earl Norem in his Connecticut studio in 2007. We’re

unsure of the origin of this pic, so if you know the photographer, please get in touch with Ye Crusading Editor.

18 #3 • Fall 2013 • CoMiC Book CreaTor

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aushenkerology

Page 7: Comic Book Creator #3

by CHRisTOPHeR iRVing CBC Contributing Editor

“It is the luck of the draw and I haven’t the foggiest notion,” Mark Waid admits. “I wish there were some secret I knew to pass along, but you just keep slugging away. Any piece

of ‘wisdom’ or advice I can give about how to stay in this business, you could point out a dozen other people who used to write comics and don’t anymore who did the same things and are now working at Chick-Fil-A. You have to be somewhat affable, understand what an editor needs without sacrificing what you need to do… By working on both sides of the desk, I understand how all sides of publishing work. I know that as a freelancer, my first job is to tell a good story, but my second job is to make my editor’s life as easy as I can. I don’t know if that helps. Everything moves in

cycles. I’ve been telling very hopeful and uncynical stories throughout my career, and maybe it’s just that there seems to be a place for that in comics right now.”

This is the funny thing about Mark Waid: his uncyn-ical super-hero comics have never come when there was a time or place for them in comics. That’s probably the secret to their success.

He first made waves as the writer of The Flash in 1992, when the “grim and gritty” catchphrase was fast on its way to becoming the cliché it is today; conflict was replaced with baseless angst, and superhuman feats were replaced with splash page sized ass-kicking. Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns, for all their virtue, ignited the trend towards “darker” heroes that still sprouts up in the minds of less creative talent. Waid’s Flash argu-ably paved the way for more inspiring super-hero works to happen, like writer Grant Morrison’s take on Justice League, or Kurt Busiek and painter Alex Ross’ Marvels and Astro City (with the fantastic art of Brent Anderson). Waid and Ross’ Kingdom Come is a commentary on the “post-modernist” age of cynical heroes in a classically wrapped narrative package.

So why isn’t he a washed up has-been grousing about how the market changed too much around him? That Waid found a way to change with the evolving comics market and culture is as good a guess as any. The truth, from his own admission, is that he just doesn’t know how he’s kept going.

Mark Waid, even going back to college, hasn’t always known what the hell he was doing — but that’s likely what’s kept him learning throughout his life and career, and able to keep coming back for more.

Mark Waid majored at a bit of everything at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in the late ‘70s. One semester it was broadcast journalism; another English; or chemistry — or even physics. His one stability (and the one bit of college he always comes back to) was as a disc jockey at WVCW (820 am). His handle was Captain America. This Alabama-born kid quickly learned the chief industry of the former capital of the Confederacy: tobacco.

“One night, two guys just show up at the station like the Men in Black. I was expecting them to talk into their sleeves,” Mark remembers. It was an offer he wouldn’t be able to refuse — at least not at first. “They wanted to talk to the radio personalities, and were from RJ Reynolds with a marketing plan: They were looking for volunteers to go around from hotel lounge to hotel lounge in the area, doing a little nightclub act, sing a few Bobby Darin tunes, and extol the virtues of Lucky Strikes (or whatever it was they were selling at the time). It was half nightclub act/half Tupperware party, because you were supposed to gin up enthusiasm from the boozers by doing tricks and party stunts with cigarettes. I was in college, and they were offering $200 a week for a few weeks, two to three nights a week. That was good money in college. They hooked me up with this cranky old man who said all of six words to me the entire time, and we’d drive to a Holiday Inn or Ramada on the outskirts of Richmond and he’d play the piano and I’d do some tunes. I was Bill Murray doing his SNL lounge-lizard act.

The Wild Ride of Writer

Mark WaidPart 1: The scribe talks with Chris Irving about murder, mischief, and heroes remade

inset right: Mark Waid made a splash in Flash back in the early 1990s, focusing on the multiple manifestations of the character

and with emphasis on the, umm, heroics of being a super-hero.

Cover art to Flash #0 [Oct. 1994] by Mark’s frequent collaborator, the late Mike Wieringo (pencils) and

Jose Marzan, Jr. (inks).

Above: Mark Waid as lensed by Anne Petersen, taken at the

2010 Irredeemable first anniversary party hosted by Challengers Comics at C2E2 in Chicago.

Used with permission.

Photo ©2013 Anne Peterson.

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22 #3 • Fall 2013 • CoMiC Book CreaTor

irving on the inside

Page 8: Comic Book Creator #3

by JOn B. COOKe CBC Editor

I’m certain the last time I saw Leslie Noel Daniels III was on Free Comic Book Day, at my friend Rob Yeremian’s Time Capsule shop, in Cranston, RI, when Les pulled up with longtime pal John “The Mad” Peck. Invariably choosing the E.C. and Disney freebies, he asked me to come visit him more often and shared a litany of medical woes plaguing his aging body. But, whether too busy or improperly attentive to the notion of friendship, I never again graced his Benefit Street base-ment apartment and, quite likely on Halloween 2011, the brilliant writer and astute historian died alone, his body left undiscovered for a number of days.

Sad as that demise sounds, Les had an existence filled with achievement and life-spanning friendships. He was admired, to the end and beyond, by those in the disparate fields of horror fiction and comic books as one of the finest minds and writing talents ever in popular culture.

In the first issue of this writer’s short-lived horror ’zine, Tekeli-li!

Journal of Terror [Spring 1991], much of it devoted to Daniels, it was written, “Les is a rare bird. While fame and riches have so far been elusive, he has earned a reputation among fellow professionals as an admired writer and a contemporary master of the [horror] genre. Stephen King says that Daniels ‘tells one hell of a story. His books are rewarding, creepy and fun.’ Robert [Psycho] Bloch recently wrote to say, ‘Les is truly a major force in the field!’ Submitting Living in Fear: A History of Horror in the Mass Media as evidence, Les is also horror’s most insightful (and fun-to-read) historian.”

No less than S.T. Joshi, noted Lovecraft scholar and supernatural fiction expert, in a chapter devoted to the Brown-educated author within Joshi’s 2004 survey, The Evolution of the Weird Tale, wrote of Living in Fear, “The most important thing to realize about Daniels is that he was already a thorough student of the field before he began to enrich it with his own novels. Living in Fear, although on the surface a ‘popular’ and non-scholarly ac-

count, is a remarkably comprehensive history of horror in all its forms — literature, drama, film, comic books, even rock music — from antiquity to the present. It is encyclopedic, accurate, and written with obvious relish… it could virtually serve as a sort of 50-year update of Lovecraft’s Supernatural Horror in Literature [1927] — if, of course, one can imagine Lovecraft discussing E.C. Comics and Alice Cooper.“

Living in Fear was Les’s 1975 follow-up to his first book, the study Comix: A History of Comic Books in America, pub-lished in 1971. “[It] was based on the fact this was something I was interested in,” Daniels told the Australian horror ’zine Tabula Rasa in 1995. “In a way, it’s dated and superseded now, there were fairly few books even on horror films back then. But what makes it more unique now is that, in addition to discussing most of the significant English language horror films made up ’til that time, it also tried to deal with the literature, going back to the Gothic novel and so on.” To that end, Les not only featured a number of prose short stories by authors that included Poe, Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, and Richard Matheson, but he also reprinted the Al Feldstein and Jack Davis comic-book tale “The Model Nephew” [Haunt of Fear #22, Nov.–Dec. 1953], giving E.C. Comics equal stature to the work of the greatest of supernatural fiction writers.

A companion volume, Dying of Fright, appeared the next year, an anthology of horror stories exquisitely illustrated (by Lee Brown Coye, whom editor Daniels called, “[P]erhaps the most important living American illustrator in the domain of the macabre”). Les’s longtime friend and horror anthologist Bob Booth said, “If you had to

Les DanielsFunnybook Facts & Frightful FictionThe conclusion of CBC’s examination of the Twentieth Century Renaissance Man

Above: Les Daniels’ finest achievement, the 1978 horror

novel The Black Castle: A Novel of the Macabre, which introduced

his vampire (anti-)hero. Horror writer Chet Williamson said, “His

leading vampire, Don Sebastian de Villanueva, is one of the few

tragic heroes of late 20th century fiction, and with him Les pulls off

another splendid trick, which is to make us feel repelled by him

even as we identify with his dark grandeur.” The undead protago-

nist would star in all of Les’s five novels. inset right: It’s Plastic Les! As depicted by artist Tim

Estiloz, the cartoon portrait of the author — in the guise of Les’s

favorite comic book character — originally appeared in a Boston

Phoenix profile by Tamara Wieder in Feb. 2002. Coloring is by CBC’s

coveted Clandestine Colorist. Special thanks to Mr. Estiloz for

its appearance here. Portrait Photography by Beth Gwinn28 #3 • Fall 2013 • CoMiC Book CreaTor

Plastic Man TM

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DC Comics. Art ©

2013 Tim Estiloz.

©2013 the respective copyright holder..

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35ComiC Book Creator • Fall 2013 • #3

chatterbox

by JOn B. COOKe CBC Editor

I’m in Southern California this past summer, moseying down artists’ alley at Comic-Con International 2013, and I’m a sad, sombre hombre. This here’s my first San Diego in a few years and the aisles might as well have been the dusty dirt roads of a ghost town. Oh yeah, there are plenty of creators there, but few I knew from the good ol’ days and most of ’em not but young greenhorns. I was one lonely desperado.

Suddenly I hear a “Hey, you!” and yonder there’s my pal from cons of yesteryear Thomas Yeates waving me over to his booth. Thomas is one of the finest comic book artists I know, an expert delineator of Swamp Thing, Tarzan, Zorro, Timespirits, and — yee-haw! — current artist on maybe the most revered Sunday strip, Prince Valiant. And he’s also one of the kindest, most warm-hearted dudes I’ve ever met; compassionate and a nice guy. Well, cowpokes, he wanted to know if I knew of any mags who might help promote a new graphic novel he had just finished drawing. “Well now,” says I, tugging at my whiskers and eyes roaming up to the hall rafters, “let me chew that one over a bit, Thomas…”

Tales of the old West, whether dubbed Westerns or, as the late legendary author Louis L’Amour pre-ferred them called, “frontier stories,” have been a staple of the American comic book since the dawn of the form. Particularly popular during the 1950s, when cowpokes and gunslingers abounded on black-&-white televisions nationwide, Westerns are still, at present, a viable if somewhat scarce category. Today, it’s apt to be a mash- up with other genres, as with East of West (science-fic-tion), High Moon (horror) or “Jonah Hex” (weirdness). Rarer is a straight story of those frontier times, straight in setting, with the charac-ters and in the telling, with no dystopian landscape or lycanthropic howling or hy-per-violent weirdness… But suddenly there comes along Law of the Desert Born, the first graphic novel adaptation of a Louis L’Amour story, an authentic, understated and, well, dignified comic book story of posses and rustling and lingering resentment.

This writer, prompted by a desire to help out a good pal

and terrifically impressed with the book, set out to talk with the famous author’s son, Beau L’Amour, who was intimately involved with the project since its inception.

“My father wrote the short story, ‘Law of the Desert Born,’ in the late 1940s and it was published in a pulp mag-azine,” Beau said. “I think it was the third Western he’d ever written.” After Louis’ phenomenal success — with over 200 million copies of his novels in circulation! — it was decided to produce audio books as if they were oldtime radio plays, and that was when the junior L’Amour came into the picture. “I was producing and writing the scripts to some of these and I had several writers working for me who were doing even more,” Beau explained. “I had handed Law of the Desert Born off to Katherine Nolan but, although she was a really competent writer, she wrote a script that was quite a bit too long. At first we were sure we could cut it but, ultimately, the two of us had to recreate the entire story in a completely new adaptation. It was a very exciting process because we had very little time before we had to be in the recording studio. A few years later, we decided to try the story as a screenplay… it was only years after that, long after the program where Kathy and I worked together had been scaled back, that I rewrote it as a comic book.”

Okay, Westerns have been a longtime staple in comics, but L’Amour had never been adapted, so why now? “To start with, we hadn’t done one,” said Beau. “It’s one of the mar-kets that my dad [who passed away in 1988], so far, hasn’t appeared in. Also, the marketplace for comics seems like the paperback book business did in the heyday of genre fiction, the 1950s through the ’80s. That sort of bookseller enthusi-asm and customer feedback is infectious. A great deal of the rest of today’s entertainment landscape is very jaded. On the aesthetic side, I like telling stories in pictures. I was trained as a filmmaker and worked in the movie business on and off for quite a few years. Law of the Desert Born was a film script at one time and I wrote it with a great deal of care as to how it would be shot… making the switch to a graphic novel was really not at all like laying out a movie, but there are similarities. It’s still telling a story in pictures and I find the efficacy and subtlety of that appealing. In many ways, I now like comics better than film; once you have accepted the realities of the medium, the compromises are far fewer.”

L’Amour, Mon AmourA New Medium for the Old WestThomas Yeates & Co. present the first graphic novel adaptation of Louis L’Amour

Above: Thomas Yeates’ cover art for the new graphic novel — the first adapting a Louis L’Amour story, Law of the Desert Born. Ye Ed calls it a perfect coupling of artist to story. The humanity and sensitivity of Thomas Yeates shines through the expert storytelling. inset left: Thomas’ pencils to a panel from the book, courtesy of Beau L’Amour, Louis’ son and a major creative force behind the project.Below: Louis L’Amour [1908-88] as painted by Fred Pfeiffer.

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the art of darkness

Dysart Out of AfricaThe Known Writer Soldiers OnOur associate editor sits down for a chat with the acclaimed Harbinger scripterby miCHAel AusHenKeR CBC Associate Editor

[The following interview was conducted at the Venice, California home of comics writer Joshua Dysart on March 13, 2013, a week before his latest title in those late winter days, Harbinger #10, made it into the hands of readers.]

He saw it coming… and he tried to warn me.Writer Joshua Dysart didn’t have to be Peter Stanchek,

the telekinetic psiot star of Harbinger, his current gig at the resurrected Valiant Entertainment, to know that penciling in a discussion of his diverse adventures in comic book writing was going to be a bitch.

Dysart’s a busy man, and even after it took a solid two months of message tag to nail down a sit down with the writer, there was no abating of his priority and goal: writing great comics eschewing current trends in “mainstream” (translation: super-hero) comics.

That said, there was one industry-wide trend he could not escape and that’s the intra-company crossover. Nearly a year into writing Harbinger, Dysart found himself in the midst of coordinating a cross-title storyline called Harbinger Wars, pulling together storylines from his book and Valiant’s other two series, X-O Manowar and Bloodshot. He co-wrote the four-issue mini-series, which launched on April 3, with Duane Swierczynski, and Clayton Henry and Clayton Crain on art.

On March 30, at Wondercon Anaheim, Valiant an-nounced Dysart will be writing exclusively for the Los Angeles-based publisher.

Sure enough, the moment when I entered his Venice bachelor pad, a stone’s throw from the internationally known and trampled on Venice Beach Boardwalk (think “Hollywood Boulevard by the sea”), Dysart was fielding calls from his editor and his artist, going over the fine points of a Harbinger story. One line of debate: some character dialogue about “going crazy,” as opposed to “going mad.” “Nobody really says they’re going mad, do they?” Dysart asks.

After some back-&-forth between him and his Valiant peeps, Dysart carved a couple of hours out of a very busy day to discuss an eclectic and multifarious career that, in roughly two decades, has included everything from DC’s Swamp Thing to a Mike Mignola-supervised Hellboy spin-off at Dark Horse to DC/Vertigo’s re-imagined Unknown Soldier. Although his body of work so far has consisted of an amal-gam of hired-gun gigs, Dysart has made a name for himself as a writer who can breathe a personal voice into these assignments. Always charming, conversational, jocular, blunt, and as opinionated as a film critic, Dysart sat down to discuss his diverse career –– including his interesting detours writing comics based on concepts by musicians Neil Young and Avril Lavigne (!!) — before making another call coordinated with East Coast time and jumping back into the busy ether....

CBC: From what I understand, you are an “accidental comic book writer” who kind of stumbled into the field.Joshua: My first love is documentary films. But, yeah, I accidentally became a comic book writer. And once it got

its hooks in me, I couldn’t stop. I’m still struggling to be a great comic book writer now, every time I sit down, so somewhere along the line, I fell in love with it. I think that when it’s all said and done I’ll feel remiss, or re-gret, if I don’t feel I’ve managed to achieve something of meaning in comics. I do have the desire to write in other mediums, but comics is first.

As far as documentaries go, I like the old school form, like the Maysles Brothers. People who were artists and journalists. I’m not a big fan of Michael Moore or Morgan Spurlock, or film that puts its filmmaker at the center and doesn’t struggle for contrary meaning. The documentary form is almost sacred to me, so I’m pretty opinionated about how it should be done.CBC: What about screenplays? Are you interested in writing movies?Joshua: I will write a screenplay someday. I’m very interested in it. But comics come first. And I’ll never leave comics, even if I do write scripts. You know, I also want to write a novel. But I’ve struggled too hard to get to a certain place craft-wise in this medium. Plus, there’s just nothing like the feeling when a beautiful comic page comes in.CBC: So, growing up, were you more into movies and music than comics?Joshua: I never really wanted to be a writer at all, but I was always writing. I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. As a very young kid, I was a total cinephile. Back then I had to special order VHS tapes in the mail if I was going to watch Juliett of the Spirits or something, and my mom had a VHS top-loader, the kind with the remote control teth-ered by a thick cord, the very first VHS recorder on the block. I had a cousin from Austin, Texas, he was my introduction to foreign cinema. He came down with stacks of VHS tapes and I’d watch them all week-end long. Now the tools to both find older films and make movies are the price of pen and paper… which is crazy. As I look back, I see it was all training for comics.

Don’t get me wrong. Comics are not cinema, and I’ve worked really, really hard to make sure my comics aren’t just movies on paper. But actually thinking in pictures. Being visual first. I did learn that from films and comics. Think about what I do. I take an image that’s in my head, I codify it into text, I give it to my artist, the artist decodes it through his/her filters, through his/her experience, and then it comes back to me decoded through that artist’s own filters and

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Above: One of the hot books at the moment is Harbinger, scripted by our interview subject, Joshua Dysart. Here’s the cover art, sans trade dress, of Harbinger #1 [June 2012], sporting art by Arturo Lozzi. Overlap is a detail from #9’s cover [Feb. ’13], by Khari Evans, featuring Zephyr, an unconventional hero.

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eal Adams is, by nature, a fighter. Born and bred in New York City, he hit the sidewalks of Manhattan to break into the comics industry during a time when the field wasn’t hiring

young talent. So, after going a few rounds in the advertising arena and upon winding up a career as the youngest cartoonist to work on a nationally syndicated newspaper comic strip (Ben Casey), the tenacious artist finally gained entry in comics, and he settled in at DC, where he soon emerged a celebrated artist. During those early years, he also rocked the House of Ideas and,

at both DC and Marvel, he sparred for more innovative production techniques. Then he jumped into the fray for creators rights, whether through the Academy of Comic Book

Arts, battling for better treatment of freelancers, or for the benefit of two creators down for the count — a pair of Cleveland mugs who started the whole blamed super-hero genre, Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster, the originators of Superman.

By then Neal was back in advertising, only now with his own art agency, and also became a comics publisher himself with Continuity. Lately he’s decided to again lend his two-fisted talents as artist-slash-writer to the “Big Two,” having recently drawn a X-Men mini-series and made an ambitious return to a certain Darknight Detective.

With Batman Odyssey though, Neal has taken a pummeling by remarkably vicious critics on the Internet, and, lacing his rhetorical boxing gloves, he invited

CBC to visit for his pugilistic, scrappy retort. — ye ed.

42 #3 • Fall 2013 • CoMiC Book CreaTor

Interview Conducted by Jon B. Cooke cbc editor

Transcribed by Brian K. Morris with steven thompson

Portrait Photography by Seth Kushner

SPOiLer WarNiNG! For those readers who have not

yet read Batman Odyssey in its entirety, it behooves you to read

it thoroughly to get the maximum pleasure out of Neal’s analysis and explanation, though that’s

obviously not a prerequisite for the adventurous among us.

Many details, including the graphic novel’s sensational

denouement are discussed at length herein… so don’t say you weren’t warned, folks!

Photo ©2013 Seth Kushner.

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Comic Book Creator: It’s a quarter to eleven and we’re at Continuity Studios in New York City. It’s a slushy Friday morning in early March and we’re here to talk to Neal Adams about his 13-issue series, Batman Odyssey.Neal Adams: People have been asking at conventions, “What’s the best project that you ever worked on?” Or “What’s the best thing you ever did?” And it actually doesn’t take me long these days to find the answer. I apologize and say, “I don’t want this to sound like an ego thing, because there are some things that I am a big fan of. I like Batman: The Killing Joke. I like Batman: Hush (but I don’t know if Hush is as much a novel, a continuous story, as much as it is a series of “incidents” Batman goes through).

When I consider everything I’ve done, I thought, up to now, Superman vs. Muhammad Ali [All-New Collectors’ Edition #C-56, 1978] was the best comic

book/semi-graphic novel that’s out there. Superman vs. Ali was a contrived project that [editor] Julie Schwartz threw at us that he wanted to do.

Even though Denny [O’Neil] started the writing, I ended up doing the whole job. Denny wrote some pages — they were good and I kept as much of what he did, as I could but, essentially, I did the job. It was my plot. Julie chose mine, which was similar to Denny’s.

Because I did a syndicated strip [Ben Casey] before this, before comic books, I did projects while working at Johnstone & Cushing [shop specializing in comics for advertising and magazine clients] that were full-out stories (like for the National Guard and clients like that), I was

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inset left: The cover of All-New Collector’s Edition #C-56, better known as Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, Neal Adams’ 1978 masterwork that, until Batman Odyssey, the artist/writer considered his best work. The oversize comic book edited by Julius Schwartz, also contains the talents of Dennis O’Neil (sto-ry), inks by Dick Giordano, Terry Austin and Steve Mitchell; colors by Neal’s then-wife Cory; letters by Gaspar Saladino. And, oh yeah, knock ’em out of the galaxy artwork and scripting by some guy named Neal Adams….left: Vignette (and flopped) detail of the super-hero in question, taken from Batman Odyssey

#1 [Dec. 2010]. Art, of course, by Neal Adams. Colors by

Continuity Studios.

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BATmAn Odyssey, the 325-page graphic novel written and illustrated by Neal Adams, returns the author to a character with whom he is deeply associated. During his 1960s–’70s tenure, Adams had snatched the Caped Crusader from his TV camp persona and returned him to his roots as a menace on crime, only now endowed with feral masculinity and depicted with panache. The book examines whether the crimefighter would ever kill an opponent and why he refuses to wield firearms, and it features a plethora of characters from Neal’s earlier years on the series — Ra’s al Ghul, Talia, Deadman, Sensei and his League of Assassins, Man-Bat — and, of course, Robin and the Gotham regulars… never mind the usual Arkham Asylum gallery of villains, and a surprise guest or two. Batman’s quest takes him literally into an underworld and plot elements include such diverse subjects as peak oil and imperialism. By Neal’s admission, it is a dense and complex story. To some, it is confusing. To us, it is nothing if not ambitious.

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mentally used to the long-form and not used to the short story form (not that I haven’t done short stories).

But even when you con-sider “Deadman” that I did [in Strange Adventures], it’s actually all one story and it’s about Deadman in the end and not about these little incidents that you usually find in comic books. Even though certain writers got into it early on, like [Bob] Kanigher and Arnold Drake. As I took over, I was doing this long, continuous story about Deadman, which I considered was what the book was about and probably why people liked it… or not.

Previously I had done The Spectre for Julie Schwartz. I assisted Mike Fried-rich to get his story through by extending the story a little bit. Then I got to write

Spectre.

My first scripted story [The Spectre #4, May–June 1968] has become a bit of a classic and contains a theme that has been used by other writers. It’s called “Stop That Kid… Before He Wrecks the World.” Then I began a double-length story that had to do with a character called the Psycho Pirate. Then I was given the choice to go on to “Deadman” or stay with The Spectre, I chose “Deadman.”

I grew up with these six-page and eight-page comic book stories that drove me nuts as a reader. I never got enough story. So when I did Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, I was already mentally ready to do a long story. It was a little short, but essentially, a story in which I got to introduce Muhammad Ali as a comic book char-acter while still being the Champion of the World. I got to reintroduce Superman, Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, an intergalactic war, a threat to our universe. I got to reintroduce Superman, kind of, because his powers were taken away and then suddenly his powers burst back. I got to do that. In the end, that comic book, for me, is a really terrific comic book that came out of the ashes of Julie Schwartz’s insane belief that we can do a Superman vs. Muhammad Ali that everybody laughed at when he first proposed it.CBC: Right.Neal: When Julie mentioned it to me, he’d expected me to laugh — and I guess I did — but it tickled my fancy to take something that seemed so insane and actually turn it into a story. So I did it and I think,

because of that and because of other reasons, it turned out to be such a good read; people bring it to me all the time now at conventions.

Whitman licensed the right to print and sell hundreds of thousands of copies in their stores, and elsewhere. Now, currently, DC Comics has reprinted it in a small form and a medium-large form. (The small form is of course silly… It’s meant to be big.)CBC: Oh, they reprinted it in a large form?Neal: Oh, yeah. It’s really nice.CBC: [Notices it in bookcase] I think it’s right there.Neal: You have a good eye, kiddo. [Jon retrieves a copy from bookshelf and thumbs through it]CBC: It looks nice.Neal: That’s it. Okay, flip through it. It’s a gorgeous product and it’s a good story. And there are so many things in there, all these things that, as a fan, were great fun. This is the only Superman project I ever did and I think it’s maybe one of the best. (Jim Lee just revisited the Superman blasting through an alien spaceship in a four-page foldout in Superman Unchained #1, a theme that we find in Superman vs. Muhammad Ali.)CBC: Well, you know me. I devoted two major pieces to this [in Comic Book Artist Special Edition #1 and CBA Collection #1]. Arlen [Schumer] and I came to Continuity to talk to you about this specifically.Neal: Right.CBC: And I think it’s the best thing you’ve ever done.Neal: And notice stuff that people have revisited since then? How many times have you seen that kind of a scene [pointing to the opening city street spread] by many artists in the field? You know, never been done before, there you go, first time. For example, a massive alien armada headed to

invade the Earth in Superman vs. Muhammad Ali for the first time. How many times have we seen scenes

like this since then?There’s a joy to it, you know. But it’s also a

good story and when you see the two, [Super-man and Muhammad Ali] shake hands at

the end, you go, “Well, that’s kind of hokey, but you know, I like it.” It’s a

very warm-feeling thing and for other reasons, for example,

in terms of racial relations in America. [Kris Adams Stone, Neal’s daughter, comes into the room]CBC: Right.Neal: People weren’t doing it that much by then. And Ali was considered by some Americans to be a hero and by some, to be not so much of a hero; except the rest of the world outside of America considered this to be a fantastic project.

CBC: Was it translated?Neal: Oh, into many lan-

guages.CBC: That’s wonderful.

Neal: Every country made a spe-cial deal for it. [Points to spread]

Look at that. Look at all the work that Terry Austin did in the background.

That’s maybe the greatest piece that Terry Austin ever did in his life. It’s just fabulous.

There are guys on the roof with pigeon coops and all these vegetables I only roughly indicated, but he

does it all.CBC: Yeah, Terry really cares.

Kris Adams Stone: That’s the truth. He cared.

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Above: In this issue of The Spectre, #4 [May–June

1968], Neal contributes his first comic book script, “Stop That Kid… Before He Wrecks the

World,” a pyschedelic, cosmic trip worthy of Ken Kesey and his Merry

Pranksters! This comic book also contains scathing attacks on Neal the artist as letter hacks flood the

LOC pages with “dump Adams” demands: “If you keep Neal Adams

on as regular Spectre artist, The Spectre is dead”; “I am sorry, but

Neal Adams does not have it”; “Neal Adams artwork was just

terrible”; and “Neal Adams is okay — but compared to Murphy

Anderson, nothing.” Yikes!

inset right: Deadman, under the scripting and artwork of Neal

Adams, was a grand epic during the characters run in Strange Ad-

ventures… and beyond. Here’s the creator’s artwork for the slipcase

of the hardcover edition of The Deadman Collection [2001].

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Neal: And so, when people ask me, I have to say it’s the best read. It’s the best comic book, it’s the best story, it’s not esoteric, it’s not overly in-tellectual, it’s just a get down and get crazy comic book. Perhaps it’s the best comic book ever done. I thought that until Batman Odyssey.

Batman Odyssey, you have to read it. It’s a book. I told people at the beginning, you know. Now that I’m coming back, I’m going to be doing a book. I’m not going to be doing a series of stories, or you’re going to read the first story and then wonder, “Am I going to like the sec-ond story as much as I did, or didn’t, like the first?”

It’s the first chapter of a book and you’re not going to know what the book is about until you get to the last chapter. And then, when you get to the last chapter, you’re going to have to read it all over again because I set all these plot strings up from the beginning. Every single thing that’s in there, ends up being resolved at the end of the book. When Robin is handling a gun with just a little too much glee and he’s saying, “I’ve gotta tell ya, this really feels cool in my hand...”CBC: Power of the gun.Neal: ...at the end of the story, Batman hands him the gun back and Robin doesn’t want it because he’s just seen — or at least thought he saw — the result of using the gun. Ah-ha, maybe guns are not so cute and fluffy.CBC: The character changed.Neal: Batman had Robin look at the consequences of his attraction for the weapon. [Points to Robin] You have to hold the gun, so your body is connected to that gun at some point. Then you throw it to me and then I seem to kill somebody. Now, for the first time, you see the result of your action. Now you don’t want it back, don’t want to touch it. That’s a little thing that I set up right at the beginning of the story and resolved at the end. What was the plan? Was Batman ever out of control? Did Batman ever consider using a gun? Did he ever consider killing somebody? Never! Never for one second throughout the story.

Batman is Sherlock Holmes. Bat-man is the best detective in the world and he had a problem to solve. So for everybody around him — for even us, the readers — he may actually be considering being a revenger. Doing it. Killing.

So I set up a story where he really has no choice. If he’s going to live, and Robin and Talia and Ra’s al Ghul are going to live, Batman must kill. Sensei has a thousand assassins out there everywhere in the world who will one day get revenge on Batman if

he kills the Sensei. How do you solve that problem? How do you get past that without deciding to kill somebody? Batman would never decide to kill somebody. That’s what the story is about. That’s the odyssey that Batman is on. And for people who didn’t read it all the way through and see that last book and go, “Oh, my God. He did it,” and then realize he didn’t do it and he pulled out of it — that he never would have done it — it was a plan between him and the Sensei.

Out on that battlefield where they were fighting each other, they were talking quietly, when nobody could hear them, they were making the plan. And it wasn’t so much they were making the plan, Batman was telling him what he had done, and the Sensei knew what he was doing because this was the only place where you could go to the source of the Nile, that place where Ponce de Leon

was looking for the Fountain of Youth, and find that

thing. And that’s the real reason that Batman was there. He was going to give this old bastard his life back and let him live it over again.

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Above: Opening spread of the legendary Neal Adams written-&-drawn epic, Superman vs. Muham-mad Ali [1978], with backgrounds stupendously inked by Terry Austin. From the original artwork.

inset left: The closing spread of Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, words and picture by Neal Adams. Colors by Continuity.

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tunity to ink my stuff for many years and now they got the opportunity. And they succeeded or failed according

to their own basic decisions and judgment, not mine. Yes, I broke their knuckles, but I wanted them and

that’s what I got. In all cases, I got them, okay? And it made me look and say, you know, it’s not such a bad experience when you have really talented people out there who can actually add something to what you do. So I consider it an addition, not a

subtraction in any way. All these guys did the best kind of job you could possibly expect.

CBC: Was that the original plan, to have multiple inkers?

Kris: Yes.Neal: At some point, I said I would do the first couple of issues and then I would start handing pieces off to people. I wanted them to handle these areas they could do well. It turns out that Sienkiewicz was so good that I gave him much more than I would have normally given him, based on my original interpretation. I think he’s got like three or four issues that he’s done. He’s done a fantastic job.Kris: Yes, if you were to say which one did the majority of inking, I would say he did.Neal: And it was hard on him and it was hard on me because when I would get let down, I would get angry at him and I would tell him. And so he would come back up because his style allows a certain kind of sloppiness. But in this, he had to have the sloppiness, which is technique, and he still had to be slightly religious in that you needed to see the story being told, so he couldn’t just slough over something. In this case, we kept on reining him back, but we never, ever said, “Don’t do what you do.” We want “what you do.”Kris: “Where’s the grit, Bill?” We kept yelling, “Where’s the grit?” [laughs]Neal: That’s right. “Where’s the grit? Yes, what I did has to

be there, but we want your grit to be in there.” So we’re giving him what seems like opposing directions, but we’re not. Yes, even though we’re criticizing him by saying he has to put all this stuff in there, at the same time, we want the grit that he puts in there, that stuff people love. So he has to do both at the same time. It was terrible. I’m sure he went though all kinds of hell to do it, but you know what? That’s art. That’s just the way it works.Kris: Then we had Paul Neary do like five pages.Neal: Right.Kris: Because that’s all Paul had time to do.Neal: Yeah, that’s what we had avail-able to do.Kris: I think he wanted to be part of it.Neal: Where does he start? He starts here. [points to Batman Odyssey #7] But this is a perfect sequence for

him because you’ve got these little, subtle events going on in a hard line technique.CBC: Oh, yeah, you can see there, yeah. That’s nice.Kris: So they’re like hidden gems, artistically. [chuckles]CBC: This is great stuff. Were you the only one who really knew the entire story? How did you pitch it?Neal: It wasn’t really pitched.Kris: [To Neal] Can we tell the truth about it?Neal: We started with Bob Schreck.Kris: I wanted Neal to be a true freelancer so we started this without knowing whether they were going to buy it. [to Neal] And you were, what? Two books in, I think, by the time we showed it?CBC: You had two books before you had a contract?Kris: Before we even discussed it with DC. We knew it was a gamble, but we also knew we could probably sell the originals even if DC didn’t buy the story. So it wasn’t a huge gamble.Neal: I don’t really gamble.Kris: And then [DC publisher] Paul [Levitz] got upset and said, “Well, we can’t do this. This goes against the rules.”CBC: The “Batman rules” or …?Kris: Any rule. Like they don’t want a freelancer coming in because then you are truly a freelancer and that starts fighting, “Work Made For Hire.” So Paul said to do this, “We really have to get a contract now before you end this. Otherwise, we can’t buy it.” And then at that point —Neal: Then we had Bob Schreck.Kris: Because Schreck was doing the off-the-main-course books. He was doing those Elsewhere books.Neal: And Schreck has a reputation that if he believes in you, then he just lets you go.CBC: Oh, a good editor. [chuckles]Neal: Yes, what you call a good editor. I do have some experience and reputation. I mean I could have gone senile or something, but apparently I didn’t.Kris: But Schreck also deals with the high-end creatives and gets good work out of them.Neal: Right.Kris: It obviously works. Look where he is now, Legendary!CBC: Shades of Archie Goodwin.Neal: Yeah, right. Exactly. So it wasn’t so much I had a specific outline with everything blocked out. I had enough to begin the story and I probably had more than most writers in comics have because I don’t have the same standard that comic book writers have. I know what the standard is because I’ve been in editorial sessions. At Marvel, they’re starting to get that, but they’re constraining themselves in many ways by getting too tied down and not leaving some flexibility. I like the idea of being able to know everything myself, give an overall synopsis to the editor, and then loosening myself up as I go through the story, and then tightening it all together. That way, I can have everything locked up in my head. I can give enough to the editor for the editor to be happy with the story and he likes it, and then I can go back and finesse it. I like that. And when you’re doing 13 issues, obviously — for example, a really good example is it was intended to be 12 issues. And I realized as I got to the end of the story, I could never jam it all in, in the last couple of issues. So I asked for a 13th issue, which they were able to give me. I don’t think it would so easily work without the 13th book and I was only on the tenth at that time and I’m going, “I can’t put this together. I’ve already jammed too much.” I should make this 15 books, but at least I can ask for one more book because as you go through this, what you’ll discover is there’s a lot of info on each page.Kris: There’s no easy page.Neal: Yeah, there’s no easy page. These are hard-working pages.CBC: There’s no easy issue, right.Neal: No.Kris: There’s no coasting. [laughs]Neal: And there’s also these subplots that I don’t tell you.

#3 • Fall 2013 • CoMiC Book CreaTor

Above: Hey, Ye Ed knew Josh Adams, Neal & Marilyn’s son,

when he was a mere rapscallion! Now Josh is all grown-up and

has become an amazing talent in comics all by his lonesome! The

artist also contributed inks — and a pin-up — to Batman Odyssey.

Below: Look what we found at Heritage Auctions’ website (www.

ha.com)! Unfinished Batman Odyssey page, intended for #10,

featuring Deadman and Robin, partially inked by Bill Sienkiewicz

(who autographed the original art) over Neal’s blue pencils.

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I don’t like to ring a bell and go, “There’s a subplot going on here.”Kris: Well, that’s in the next edition we put out. We’re going to have to put out “Here. Pay attention here. Get on the Internet. Google now.” [laughs]Neal: “Pay attention,” with little asterisks. “Google this.”CBC: You didn’t give a synopsis on the opening page of each issue. That’s a way of playing catch-up with the reader, because it’s such a dense story. You did it through the narrative of Bruce Wayne talking to the biographer.Neal: Well, I don’t think I could easily give a synopsis because I noticed that that’s what Marvel does and I don’t like it. I never read that first page. I just throw it away. Does anyone read that page? And I realized, well, it’s one thing to give a synopsis and another thing to give a kind of re-tell-ing through the characters’ point of view. Bruce is sitting and — reflecting on what’s happening, and gives you a little synopsis. He also does it from his own point of view, from his heart.

So he says, “You know, I was feeling bad about this, but now I didn’t feel so bad, but then I could do this and I could do that and leaving Robin behind, it really bothered me and I was like ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have done it,’ but I knew it was a bad idea to bring him along for this reason or that reason.

And then you’ll hear, as I tell the sto-ry, what happened.” So to give you his reflections of what/where you are up to that point, it’s the perfect medium for doing that. It’s a comic book. It gives you one chapter at a time. I mean you don’t do that in a book because people turn the page. This is a month apart or two months apart so he starts out not by giving you a synopsis, but his reflections. And then you learn more about the character, and what he thinks about it. You’re more likely to read it. You don’t have to read it. You can just go

into the story, but if and when you read it the second time, wouldn’t you like to know that layer of his reflections?CBC: He’s a surrogate for the reader, to some degree, “Wow, a lot’s happened. And that’s this, this, this, and this which is a reflection of what’s happened and what might be coming.”Neal: That’s true. It sets you up for the next story, so you’re getting a little synopsis slid in there without it sounding like a synopsis, but more like reflection. But what he doesn’t do is that he never assumes that you’re an idiot and he has to explain sh*t. So he never tells you about his father’s relationship with Ra’s al Ghul and why it broke apart and what it has to do with that hydrogen car in the middle of the warehouse. He assumes that Clark, who

51ComiC Book Creator • Fall 2013 • #3

Above: Now seriously, Neal. Did you not think us tried-&-true Adams fans wouldn’t recognize your own Vampirella frontispiece (inset center) from that Warren mag’s 44th [Aug. ’75] issue which you pastiched not once but twice in Batman Odyssey #11 [May ’12]? The cover is deliciously inked by Kevin Nowlan. Colors: Continuity. Below: Kevin Nowlan is lensed at the Birmingham International Comics Show, in Feb. 2007. CBC pal Nowlan contributes the pencils, inks and colors to next issue’s cover celebrating Russ Heath!

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he’s talking to, is going to go back and look this stuff up and research and figure out what that means and create the author’s reflection on his reflection because that’s what you would do, okay? That’s what happens with conversa-tion. I assume, in all of this, you’re going to look up Hollow Earth Theory,

I assume you’re going to look up a little bit more about hydrogen power —CBC: I’ve got sidebars galore. [laughs]Neal: — because I slapped you in the face with it. So you’re going to have to do it, just like Clark would have to do. And then Clark will come back in the next meeting and then say, “You know what? You were talking about the last time, when you were talking about this and not having Robin come. I didn’t realize at the time that the reason you didn’t want Robin to come is that there were some things that were going to happen that would reflect on him personally, it would hurt him and so it’s better that you just do it yourself and protect him,” which he does all the way through. He protects him all the way through the story. But in the end, he teaches him a lesson and he knows that lesson’s going to come. He knows he’s going to have Robin carry that gun and hand him the gun because right at the beginning of the story, Robin showed too much affection for that gun. And you, the reader, didn’t hear what he said Batman said, but inside his head, he said, “This is a bad thing. This is going to have to be cured. So while I’m doing all this, I will never forget this. And at the end, I’m go-ing to have him carry that gun, and I’m going to have him hand me that gun, and I’m going to kill somebody in front of him (not really) and I want him to know how it felt for me when my parents were killed.” Not all of it because he’s already had his own tragic beginning. “But I want him to understand about guns.” Remember the story I tell right at the beginning? Where Batman is talking to Robin and Robin is up with Man-Bat? He says, “Okay, so you’re one guy and you’re in a room with 20 guys and everybody in the room has a gun, except for you. Now, who’s going to get killed first?” And Robin says, “I’m going to get killed first. I don’t have a gun.” Batman says, “No, you’re not going to get killed first. You’re going to get killed last because you have no gun, because everybody in that room is afraid of everybody else who has a gun. You’re in the least danger in that room.” Then he says, “Who’s going to survive?” Robin says, “Well, I don’t think I’m going to survive because I have no gun.” Batman says, “No, no, you’re going to survive because you don’t have a gun so you have one simple thing to think about: surviving. Everybody else in that room has two things to think about: surviving and killing somebody else, so their mind is split on killing other people because they have a gun, and then surviving. Your mind has only one thought. Survive. And, because of that, you are much more likely to survive.” Very good logic. It takes a long time for that kind of logic to drift in because that’s one of those discussions you have in a coffee shop. You know, you sit and talk about this sh*t. And he does it casually while Robin is out there, having a good time. But Robin will think about it before he goes to bed or the next night because he’s learning from this man who is his mentor.CBC: And importantly, he’s his guardian, and he’s a ward, and Bruce Wayne has a respon-sibility. I mean you seem to bring these characters back to their essence. You really thought of them as human beings. You said, “Well, he’s a guardian, he needs to teach lessons to his

52 #3 • Fall 2013 • CoMiC Book CreaTor

This page: Far left top, Neal’s pencils from Batman Odyssey #7 [Dec. ’11]; near left, Michael Golden’s inks on same; and, below left, Conti-nuity’s brilliant hues on same. Above is a photo of Michael at Chicago Comic Con, 2009, snapped by — and courtesy of — Dave Mathis.

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can happen. As you’re going toward it, you gain knowledge so that’s what you do, you go toward it until you realize what could be the possible result. And then you either act or don’t act. So in those kinds of situations, there’s good advice and bad advice. Now, [chuckles] anybody who has any sense — and there’s a lot of writers who write for comic books, that don’t understand combat at all. Have no idea of what you do and how you take care of events. They don’t understand how you deal with it. They don’t understand all kinds of stuff, but facing guns — very, very bad situation — then you have a gun, worse situation. Pull a gun, let’s say you’re facing two guys on the street and some guy pulls a gun, and so you pull a gun. Guess what? Somebody’s going to get shot. What if the other guy has a gun? You’re dead because two guys can shoot faster than one, so you’re already in a bad situation.

I had three guys attack me one night. I was taking my daughter Zeea and my son Josh home. My daughter was an adult, my son Josh was like six years old, and we got off on Sixth Avenue, we’re going toward the apartment in the middle of the block. Three guys, I saw them on the corner as I passed them and my spider sense didn’t go on. We’re in a cab, we passed them, went to the opposite corner and they were on the first corner. And because I grew up in Brooklyn and Coney Island, I have pretty good spider-sense and I’m supposed to know sh*t. For whatever reason, I missed it. Why would three guys be hanging out on that corner, just standing and talking? So I got out of the car with my daugh-ter and my son, and we’re walking down the street, and those guys come down the other side of the street. I think, “Damn, what’s going on?” So they peeled toward the gutter, to off the sidewalk ahead of us. So I had my daughter grab my son and I told her, “Run to the front door as fast as you can and I’ll stay here.” And so with a little quick glance, my daughter is smart enough to know. She grabs Josh and runs down the street to the front door, which is further down the block. Now these guys have to make a decision. The smart one, the leader, started to veer toward my children because he knew that was the weakness. But they were running too fast — my kids run good — so they were now running too fast and he had left behind the two weaker guys, so he had to veer back some. He came back at me. So I had three guys facing me. I backed up against the wall, put my portfolio down, and I got ready to fight. And now they’re threatening me. You know, “Give me your money, we’re going to beat you up.” And I could see that they were not really tough, they were just thieves. And I’m checking their clothes and one of them had a suit on. They’re threatening. I didn’t know their back-story at this point. I’m holding and said, “Okay, just calm down. If you want to get into a fight, we can fight, but just calm down. Stay calm. Everybody stay calm.” “Well, we want your money. We want you to just shut up,” and then they’re threatening me. “You know, we got a gun. We got a gun,” and, “See, show him the gun.” And one guy pulls a gun out and it’s one of these .22s, a little pea-shooter that women have?CBC: Mm-mm.Neal: [Chuckles] And so he walks in front of me with the gun and in my head, I’m thinking, “You’re going to die. I’m going to kill you… [chuckles] because you’re holding the gun, these guys aren’t.” And one guy’s dancing around, I said, “Okay, calm down. I can take out the money that’s in my pocket and give it to you and you’re gone. We’re okay.” So the gun guy said,” Okay, give us your money.” They were

#3 • Fall 2013 • CoMiC Book CreaTor

This page: Neal Adams and Continuity offered Comic Book Creator three options as cover for this very issue of CBC. At immediate left was the original cover Neal had intended for the debut issue of Batman Odyssey (a detail of these pencils is featured in that issue), but DC higher-ups objected to having the character carry a handgun, on the cover at least. Ye Ed chose the bottom left piece, which was the planned cover for the hardback collection (but the artist deemed it “too busy”). Bottom right looks to have been intended as a cover for #3. Much thanks to all, especially Kris Stone for the help.

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humanity was another thing that killed it. So what was left was Gil Kane and Geoff Johns’ CGI characters. There was no humanity to the character. So while the Batman guys who made the Batman movies related directly to what Denny and I were doing and with all that meat-&-potatoes they made successful movies, the guys who ignored us made a failure. I’m not trying to tell people what to do. I’m just trying to give them grist for their mill… to play with. That’s all I’m doing. That’s all I’ve ever done. Anything I’ve ever done I’ve tried to say, “This is the best I’ve got. If you guys want to go and play with it, go ahead. Here. Play with it. Enjoy.” Or I’ll do it or somebody else will do it and we’ll all have a good time. That’s what this is also about. This is also about presenting all the ideas that got left in the dirt. You should have paid attention to them, now you can deal with it. League of Assassins and Robin? Kind of an interesting topic. Underworld Batman who is a Neanderthal but is intelligent? That’s interesting.

I don’t create things that are light. I create dense things that have pasts and futures. And then I may just show you a piece of it. That’s sort of what happened with Green Arrow. I was given this Brave and the Bold and I said to [writer]

Bob Haney, “Just give me a little thing where he’s gonna change his outfit, that’s all.” And then I took it and turned him into a modern-day Robin Hood. Now you’re seeing him on television.

One thing he doesn’t do on television [in the current TV series Arrow] is smile with that charming grin, and that’s ba-sic to his nature. When that book [BB #85, Aug.–Sept. 1969] came out, fans responded, “That’s all I get? Come on! Do something with this guy! I love him!” Well, that’s what I do.

I did Havok [The X-Men #58, July ’69] and the same re-sponse. “Wow, that’s Havok? Okay, do something with him.” And guess what? They did. I built in the density.

Same thing here. Same thing for everything in — the un-derworld, the scientist, the different characters. If you read through those characters that are in the underworld, I’ve got grays in there — alien grays! There’s jazz musicians who are magicians at the same time!CBC: [Laughs] That magician character is talking in street vernacular. You’re very strange!Neal: No, it was jazz. He wasn’t talking street talk, he was talking jazz talk. So he is a jazz musician, who is also a magician. Maybe they get a little bit of the Lazarus Pit, some of whom are involved in the jazz community because they do drugs, they’re hip, they’re cool… so he’s not alone! He’s not the only jazz musician or jazz hippie who is a magician and part of that culture. There’s a bunch of guys down there. But he is like one of the guys. So when Batman starts talking to him, he totally gets it.CBC: You reached out to TwoMorrows and wanted a place to talk about Batman Odyssey, and I volunteered the pages of Comic Book Creator. What was the reason?Neal: I reached out because I made a mistake. I didn’t answer my critics on the ’net. When I stopped doing comics, we didn’t have all these people discussing things on the Internet. So I come back doing comics, and the first thing that happens is I get the same kind of guys who would send

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Above: Paul Neary’s inks grace the pencils of Neal Adams (seen upper right) in Batman Odyssey #7 [Dec. ’11], the reboot issue.

Nope, we didn’t forget Paul, but apologies to Scott Williams for not having precise examples at

press time. We were also hoping to include comments by the myriad delineators who contributed to the graphic novel, but we’ll try for this

issue’s letter column in CBC #5. Please note that throughout this

feature, we’ve used issue numbers reflecting the chronological place-ment of these chapters, but lest it seem too confusing, we’ve usually

include cover dates, as well. Colors are by either Ginger Karalexis, Cory

Adams or Moose Baumann, or a combination thereof.

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letters to Julie Schwartz back in the day who wrote, “Neal shouldn’t be doing The Spectre. Murphy Ander-son did it perfectly and that’s the end of it.” Julie had a letters page. And then a couple of issues later, people are writing in saying, “No, no, he should do it.” But now there’s a lot of people out there that started writing very nasty things, and of course they were misinterpreting everything that was going on and some of them were idiotic, some of them were just saying, “Why? It doesn’t sound like every other comic I read this month. I don’t know what the hell he’s doing.”

“I don’t know what he’s doing” was sort of the big response, “I don’t know what he’s doing.” [Jon chuckles] And I tried to explain in interviews that I’m doing a book. And the response is, “Ah, I want to be satisfied with this issue. I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t know what he’s doing. I don’t get it. He’s crazy.”CBC: It says it’s one of 13 issues on the cover. [chuckles]Neal: Yeah! It didn’t matter to those people. Now, my instinct is to write a letter back, but when I talk to everybody, either people here or at DC Comics, their advice was, “Don’t bother with those idiots.” But that was totally the wrong advice. That was the dumbest advice I’ve ever gotten and I listened to people because I am… what, mellow? First thing I should have done is jump on the Internet and say, “What the hell are you talking about? Guess what?” And I would continue. But I didn’t. I didn’t. I listened to what everyone else said and I just let it become this crashing insanity be-cause, what? I wasn’t living up to their expectations. Truth is, I was living beyond their expectations… as usual.

It’s sort of like when we recolored the Batman and Dead-man stories for the bound collections [Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1–3, 2003–06, and The Deadman Collection, 2001]. You’d get these five people that would write to DC and say, “How dare you recolor this stuff? It’s classic.” “Oh, you can’t do that!” To which my response would normally have been, “Are you out of your mind? Are you going to listen to the tiny vocal minority tell us what we should be doing and reading just because you have this nostalgic insanity for the crappy old coloring, printed on toilet paper that insects eat?”CBC: You were there! [chuckles]Neal: “And you’re telling me that people will choose the bad coloring and bad paper if they have a choice? You’re just going to choose your own damn nostalgic bullsh*t?”CBC: Sentimentality.Neal: Five people’s sentimentality? And I’m having to say, “Oh, well, fine. We should do this for you five trapped in time? Excuse me, we’re not doing it for you. We’re doing it for the readers, the 10,000 people who are going to buy this book and not the five guys who are going to write in to com-plain. Guess what? If you like those [original] comic books, go out and buy them. You can go on the Internet or eBay, or you can go to your local comic book store, and you can buy that primitive junk again because it, what, looks like sh*t.”CBC: And bind it together for your own collection?Neal: And bind it together and make your own ancient tome. Why am I listening to this crap? Even at DC, they got

five letters, or whatever the hell they got, and they told me, “I don’t think we should be doing this, Neal. People are not liking it.”

Not liking it? People are loving it. Not you, not the geek at DC Comics and the geek who writes those letters. These guys should have become extinct with the dinosaurs. Five people or 50 wants to read crap like that; 20,000 people live here today. Nobody wants to see it. Good artists are actually coloring pages so they look like sh*t pages on this nostalgic stuff instead of brightening them up and making them good. And you’re defending that? Fine. Okay, you know what? We won’t colorize movies, just to make you happy, and we won’t do this and we won’t do that, we won’t live in the 21st century. We’ll just let you control the world — No! Okay? The hell with this.

Now when Odyssey came out, people advised, “Don’t bother with these people. They’re just annoyances.” No, they affected sales. They affected other people.

There’s some 13-year old kid on the Internet who did a video, sits in front of a camera, he says, “I don’t understand what’s going on. I just read #3 of Batman Odyssey and it’s great. Maybe it’s not the greatest comic book ever done, but it’s really great.” And I’m hearing all this stuff from people … “I don’t get it. It

65ComiC Book Creator • Fall 2013 • #3

Above: The artist laments some fan reaction to the re-coloring in the Batman Illustrated by Neal Ad-ams three-volume set [2003–’05], which collect the entirety of his Dark Knight work… until Batman Odyssey, that is. These volumes are now available in paperback.

Right: Vignette from artist Neal Adams and inker Dick Giordano’s Batman #238 [Jan. ’72] wraparound cover, providing evidence that Neal made the super-hero’s cape a virtual scene-stealing co-star in the series during the artist’s tenure.TM

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a little respect as you go along. The good thing about thisan editor and all that respect goes away

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a little respect as you go along. The good thing about thisou’ve gotta have. Yan editor and all that respect goes away

spoken out about it then. But I didn’Comics at all, along the way

t support this project. There was no support from DCdidn’, is partially the reason that theyWhich, by the wayNeal:

Ahhh.CBC: was done. And DC became focused on planning for “52.”

I was in motion, so I just continued the project until itNeal: ou were in motion?YYou were in motion?CBC:

moving. So if they had a problem—t matter if they were respectful or not, I wasjob… and it didn’

they assigned to, after they let him go, were… well, it was aMarts] we started with had total respect. The other editors

Batman Odyssey] is the editor [Mikeindicates project [a little respect as you go along. The good thing about this

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s impossiblet. And it’spoken out about it then. But I didn’, for this project. I should haveComics at all, along the way

t support this project. There was no support from DC, is partially the reason that they

was done. And DC became focused on planning for “52.”I was in motion, so I just continued the project until itou were in motion?

moving. So if they had a problem—t matter if they were respectful or not, I was

they assigned to, after they let him go, were… well, it was aMarts] we started with had total respect. The other editors

Batman Odyssey] is the editor [Mikea little respect as you go along. The good thing about this

who I’m talking to. I’m not talking to the dumb heads. Thisdeserves to have good, intelligent readers because that’I’d like it to get the readership that it deserves because it

People who like it should talk about it to their friends.Neal: Right.CBC:

a longer time.and it will make those 50,000 or 100,000 copies. It’ll just takemore they tell other people, I think this will be a perennialthe more we explain it, the more people get to see it, thecopies a month.” But I think this will become a perennial,

, “Had I done it, we would have sold another 50,000and say, you can’ou knowto play catch-up. Y

spoken out about it then. But I didn’

who I’m talking to. I’m not talking to the dumb heads. Thissdeserves to have good, intelligent readers because that’

I’d like it to get the readership that it deserves because itPeople who like it should talk about it to their friends.

and it will make those 50,000 or 100,000 copies. It’ll just takemore they tell other people, I think this will be a perennialthe more we explain it, the more people get to see it, thecopies a month.” But I think this will become a perennial,

, “Had I done it, we would have sold another 50,000t go out after the fact, you can’

s impossiblet. And it’spoken out about it then. But I didn’

example, to watch the interaction of Deadman. I broughtknow what they will have missed… and should see. For

eah, but from the point of view of letting peopleYNeal: s a discoveI mean it’ ’s a discoveryCBC:

t, but I’ll bet we’re gonna!ell, we shouldn’WNeal: t, reAnd we shouldn’ ’t, reallyCBC:

impossible to talk about all the stuff in it.Batmobile is incredible. Because it’

alia that you’d ever want to see, thethe most beautiful Tof it, I want them to know all these positive aspects like it’action and adventure. So I want people to know the densityis a book for intelligent people — and also, it’who I’m talking to. I’m not talking to the dumb heads. This

example, to watch the interaction of Deadman. I broughtknow what they will have missed… and should see. For

eah, but from the point of view of letting people, right? ery y, right?

t, but I’ll bet we’re gonna!. eally y.

impossible to talk about all the stuff in it.s almosts 13 books, it’Batmobile is incredible. Because it’

alia that you’d ever want to see, thesof it, I want them to know all these positive aspects like it’

action and adventure. So I want people to know the densitys got lots ofis a book for intelligent people — and also, it’

who I’m talking to. I’m not talking to the dumb heads. This

es, I think they would. [to see that image? Yes, I think they would. Wto see that image? Yes, I think we can. Wyou really do that? Y

reveals aspects and a certain history of the Jokers the Joker thing. This, by the wayDid I miss it? Oh, here’

searches the graphic novel for the Aquaman sequence[. And I also introduce, or reintroduce, Aquaman.the story

shows up, he makes this great contribution to the flow ofs in, as a side-issue, but every time hecharacter and he’

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points to Richardes, I think they would. [t they likeouldn’es, I think they would. W

t people likeouldn’es, I think we can. W

. And aboutreveals aspects and a certain history of the Joker,s the Joker thing. This, by the way

]searches the graphic novel for the Aquaman sequence. And I also introduce, or reintroduce, Aquaman.

shows up, he makes this great contribution to the flow ofs in, as a side-issue, but every time he

, crazeds this angrybeen trying and perhaps failing to do. He’sDeadman into this and this is the Deadman that everybody’

example, to watch the interaction of Deadman. I brought

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ou know what? That’YNeal: s “Reube And then it’ ’s “Reuben Blades.”CBC:

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Every once in a while you see somebody who’little bit different than us, you knowcoming out of the ocean and this creature that’make a great TV show because you’d get this power

, anything like that, it wouldif they could find somebody.” And I would think visuallyThat is a tough-looking guy

sion where you think, “Oh, man. This guy looks tough.Aquaman that I thought would make that visual impresand all his other fighting skills. So I intentionally did an

. He’d have to depend on ju-jitsumake out quite so easilyget the feeling that if they got into a tussle, Batman wouldn’tougher and stronger than a regular guy

Every once in a while you see somebody who’., a little bit biggerlittle bit different than us, you know

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. He’d have to depend on ju-jitsutget the feeling that if they got into a tussle, Batman wouldn’

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, with all th lives underwater r, with all the pressures involved, should bes a unique-looking charactersize of him. He’

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looks bigger and more massive and able to resistthe characters. I like an Aquaman who suddenly

t see a difference betweenwith pearls and you don’got shiny teeth like they just brushed their teethmade between the characters at DC. Everybody’I threw that in because I feel there’sort of the impression you want to get with Aquaman.they come from another race of people,” and that’and powerful like that and you respond, “God, it’

Every once in a while you see somebody who’

looks bigger and more massive and able to resistthe characters. I like an Aquaman who suddenly

t see a difference betweengot shiny teeth like they just brushed their teeth

smade between the characters at DC. Everybody’I threw that in because I feel there’

sthey come from another race of people,” and that’and powerful like that and you respond, “God, it’

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s not a distinction o get with Aquaman.

s likes b

COMIC BOOK CREATOR #3NEAL ADAMS vigorously responds to critics of his BATMAN:ODYSSEY mini-series in an in-depth interview! Plus: SEANHOWE on his hit book MARVEL COMICS: THE UNTOLDSTORY; MARK WAID interview, part one; Harbinger writerJOSHUA DYSART; Part Two of our LES DANIELS remembrance;a new ADAMS cover, and more!

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