In Englewood, Comic Con came early this year. Neal Adams, Batman’s premier artist of the 1970s, visited fans Wednesday night at Vision Comics & Oddities. The nationally-renowned illustrator sat for hours signing autographs and taking pictures with customers of the South Federal shop. Ordinarily, Vision would close on a weeknight at 7 o’clock. On this evening, however, the store kept its doors open until 10pm to accommodate everyone hoping to meet the DC legend.
In a trail leading to Adams’ station, Vision sold poster-size prints of many of his notable covers. Nate Plants, who manages roofing projects in the Denver area, got Adams’ signature on the cover of Batman #251, an infamous depiction of the Joker holding Batman trapped on an Ace of Spades card.
“I’m a huge fan of Batman,” Plants said. “It’s the fact that he uses his intellect and his toys…and he has the best villains!”
Following the end of the campy Batman TV series of the 1960s, Adams helped restore the darker tones and edges of the Caped Crusader. He did the same for long-time rogues such as the Joker. However, Adams did more than just refinish Gotham’s canonical figures. He also introduced iconic characters such as Ra’s Al-Ghul and the League of Assassins. Seth Elmy, a Batman reader since early grade school, got Adams to sign his print of Detective Comics #405, which first brought the League to life.
“I’ve always enjoyed his Batman covers,” Elmy said, adding that he first began appreciating the artists behind the comics, like Adams, at age 12.
That idea of drawing attention to comic creators was part of Vision’s goal in hosting the event. On the store’s lower level, the shop organized 20 artists with their own tables for promoting their work and producing custom prints. Stan Yan, a local artist who specializes in the zombie genre, recognized Vision for its effort.
“There’s not too many comic stores around that do what they do,” Yan reflected.
Hosting events, and thereby opportunities for artists to greet consumers, can make all the difference for independent illustrators trying to market their work.
“It can be difficult to sell your stuff when you can’t be there in person,” Yan said. “Otherwise, your book can just be sitting on a shelf.”
Yan also plans to have his own table at Denver Comic Con this weekend. He won’t be alone, either. Yan’s seven-year-old son, Milo, will also be there to take part in the family business. Milo has his own comic story, entitled Milo The Wizard, that he’ll be promoting with his father.
Another creator on hand at Vision, Monte Michael Moore, sympathized with starting out at an early age. Influenced by gaming art as a youngster, Moore easily fell for the dream of being a professional artist.
“By the age of 16, I knew I wanted to go to college to study graphic design,” Moore remembered.
A graduate of Colorado State University, Moore’s most notable projects include Dungeons & Dragons, Judge Dredd and Vampirella. At Denver Comic Con, he’ll be featuring a 25-year retrospective of his career in a collection called “Cover Up.”
And, of course, Wednesday night’s honored guest will be at the Colorado Convention Center as well. DCC is an opportunity to celebrate not only the works of influential artists like Adams, but also their legacies. Many television programs and films, some of which will be represented at DCC, have borrowed from the storylines and characters that Adams innovated. One particular Adams arc, a favorite of this blogger, is the “Green Lantern – Green Arrow” crossover of the early 1970s. In talking about whether those comics might one day see an on-screen adaption, Adams had little doubt.
“They’ll do everything eventually,” Adams assured.
For now, though, I’ll be more than happy with my autographed trade copy.
Submitted by Jody Money