Comic Con: Neal Adams on ‘The Dark Knight’ and the comics industry

July 26, 2008 | 8:38 p.m.

Bats241_2Who is the greatest living comic book artist?

As I’ve said before, my vote is for Neal Adams, so it was a real treat to join him and his family for a big pasta dinner at Buca di Beppo in downtown San Diego last night. Before we even got to the table, I had to ask him if he had seen “The Dark Knight.” “I did and I thought it was great,” Adams told me. But he did have some reservations about the body count in the Christopher Nolan film and the fact that, in his view, the villains seem to triumph in the film. “Batman fails and fails and fails,” said the artist who drew the Batman so definitively in 1970s. 

Adams is a champion of artist rights through the decades and we talked a lot about the wear and tear of the comics industry on creators through the years. Adams, who is a portrait of clean living, also talked about the casualties of drinking and drugs in the business, such as the late Marshall Rogers, who “just got eaten up” by his addictions. A brighter note was a great yarn he told me about a trip to Spain with his wife, Marilyn, and sitting watching the setting sun with the late Will Eisner. “It was such a great moment, a great day.” Adams talked about a book he wants to do with Batman, Deadman and the Joker crossing paths in an intriguing way. After way too much food, we walked over to the DC Comics party, where I got to introduce Adams and his son, Josh, to filmmaker Zack Snyder. The two immediately hit it off and talked intently about motion-capture technologies and the state of CG special effects in Hollywood. It was a real treat to listen in and inspiring to hear two guys so passionate about their crafts. The brawny Adams is a locomotive guy and he expects others to keep up. The last thing he said as he headed back to his hotel: “Work hard.”

– Geoff Boucher

Neal Adams cover for "Batman" No. 241 (1972), courtesy of DC Comics.

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