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Terry Hooper-Scharf

Friday 29 April 2022

Neal Adams 1941 - 2022

Very sad news.

Images added

Hollywood Reporter

 Neal Adams, the legendary comic book artist who reinvigorated Batman and other superheroes with his photorealistic stylings and championed the rights of creators, has died. He was 80.

Adams died Thursday in New York of complications from sepsis, his wife, Marilyn Adams, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Adams jolted the world of comic books in the late 1960s and early ’70s with his toned and sinewy take on heroes, first at DC with a character named Deadman, then at Marvel with the X-Men and the Avengers, then back at DC with his most lasting influence, Batman.

During his Batman run, Adams and writer Dennis O’Neil brought a revolutionary change to the hero and the comics, delivering realism, kineticism and a sense of menace to their storytelling in the wake of the campy Adam West-starring ’60s ABC series and years of the hero being aimed at kiddie readers.

He created new villains for the rogue’s gallery — the Man-Bat and Ra’s al Ghul as well as the latter’s daughter, Talia, who became Batman’s lover. The father and daughter, played by Liam Neeson and Marion Cotillard, were key characters in the trilogy of Batman movies directed by Christopher Nolan.

The Batman run also revived some villains who had grown stale, none more so than the Joker, who became less comical and more the homicidal maniac that modern readers and moviegoers know and love, truly taking his place as the Caped Crusader’s archnemesis.

“We took a harder edge. We decided that Joker was just a little crazy,” Adams told Abraham Reisman for a 2019 Vulture article that made the case that without that classic story, 1973’s “The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge” in Batman No. 251, comics such as The Killing Joke and portrayals by Jack NicholsonHeath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix would not exist.

“It was no secret that we were doing Batman right,” Adams said during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con in 2010. “It was as if the memory of DC Comics went along with the statements that both Denny and I were making, that we want it to be more realistic, more gritty. And that’s how we remember — whether it was true or not — that Batman should be. And when we did it, everybody went, ‘Ah, that’s it. We don’t need comedy anymore.'”

Adams, also with O’Neil, came up with a then-controversial turn for Green Lantern/Green Arrow that tackled social issues such as drug addiction, racism and overpopulation and introduced the Green Lantern hero John Stewart, who became one of DC’s first Black icons. Their 1971 two-part story “Snowbirds Don’t Fly” remains an important milestone in comics’ evolution toward attracting more mature readers.

It was at this creative height in the mid-’70s that Adams quit drawing for the Big Two, as DC and Marvel were known, and launched Continuity Studios, an artists studio that produced comics, commercial art and storyboards, among other services. The comics division created indie characters such as Bucky O’Hare and Ms. Mystic.

He also proved to be an influence on generations of artists, giving many a boost or break into the industry. He acted as mentor to Bill Sienkiewicz, who would draw an influential run of Moon Knight and New Mutants, and Frank Miller, who would go on to reinvent Batman himself with The Dark Knight Returns.

“It wasn’t until I sat at tables at conventions next to the same people I would watch treat my father with such reverence that I understood: He was their father, too,” his son Josh Adams said in a statement to THR. “Neal Adams’ most undeniable quality was the one I had known about him my entire life: He was a father. Not just my father, but a father to all that would get to know him.”

Adams also worked tirelessly to promote better working conditions and, radically at the time, creators’ rights, especially for their work. He early on recognized the value of creators and was a thorn in the side of publishers, demanding compensation for himself and others when their characters were adapted off the page.

He, along with Stan Lee, formed the Academy of Comic Book Arts, hoping to start a union that would fight for benefits and ownership on behalf of writers and artists. Lee wanted an organization that was more akin to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the two parted ways.

In the late ’70s, when a new federal work-for-hire law was being enshrined, Marvel and then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter distributed contracts that stated freelancers could not assert copyright over their creations. As detailed in Reisman’s 2021 Lee biography, True Believer, Adams sent around a copy of the contract, scrawling on top, “Do Not Sign This Contract! You Will Be Signing Your Life Away!” While it caused a ruckus and awareness, the effort didn’t have its intended effect as Marvel flexed its muscle and threatened anyone who tried to unionize with a drying up of the freelance well.

Adams had more luck in taking on corporate overlords in two other areas. He helped change the practice of comic book publishers keeping the original art by artists or even shredding and tossing it, influencing companies to establish policies of returning the art, something that allowed artists to enjoy a second income stream. The biggest case in point: Marvel returned pages of art to Jack Kirby, the co-creator of Fantastic Four, Thor, X-Men and Hulk.

He also proved to be a champion of two writer-artists who laid the foundation for DC, Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. When he learned of their plight — one inciting factor was hearing that they could not attend a Broadway musical featuring the Man of Steel — he led a lobbying effort that eventually led to greater recognition for the pair, a creator tag in comics and other media that continues to this day, plus a pension.

Adams was born in New York City on June 15, 1941, and attended the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan. He set his sights on comic books early, and while he kept getting rejected from DC in the late ’50s, he did humor gags for Archie Comics. He also worked in commercial advertising, bringing a comics art style to his efforts, which would later influence his DC and Marvel work and help him stand out. Adams also worked for several years in the ’60s on a daily comic strip featuring Ben Casey.

By the end of the decade, he finally landed at DC, at first doing covers, then back-up stories, then finally the main stories. When he was assigned Deadman in the title Strange Adventures, he had pretty much established his style, and it was only a matter of time before the industry noticed. Deadman became a surprise hit and earned him an Alley Award for “the new perspective and dynamic vibrance” he brought to the medium.

During the Batman heyday, when Adams was blowing readers’ socks off on a monthly basis, he also was causing a stir in the DC offices with his art.

“In those days, if the work came in early enough, it would sit in flat files in production for maybe three or four weeks before anyone would actually pick it up and do the lettering corrections,” then-editor Paul Levitz recalled at the 2010 Comic-Con panel. “The great books that would always come in, people would come and they would look at it. And when they would come in to deliver their art, they’d stop off in production, [saying,] ‘Do you have Neal’s last job?’ or ‘Let me see what’s in the Detective drawer.’ And that becomes a ‘Can you top this?'”

“My father was a force,” Josh Adams said. “His career was defined by unparalleled artistic talent and an unwavering character that drove him to constantly fight for his peers and those in need. He would become known in the comics industry as one of the most influential creators of all time and a champion of social and creators’ rights. When he saw a problem, he wouldn’t hesitate. What would become tales told and retold of the fights he fought were born out of my father simply seeing something wrong as he walked through the halls of Marvel or DC and deciding to do something about it right then and there.”

The artist also understood the value of fan support and was a fixture on the convention scene, where he was lovable, cantankerous and a repository of comic book history who loved being a raconteur.

In addition to his wife of 45 years and Josh, survivors include two other sons, Jason and Joel; daughters Kris and Zeea; grandchildren Kelly, Kortney, Jade, Sebastian, Jane and Jaelyn; and great-grandson Maximus.

His three sons and Zeea all work as artists in the comic book or fantasy field.

Tempus fugit

Wednesday 27 April 2022


GCD Awards -anyone outside the USA Allowed?

 I have spent over 40 years promoting and pushing British comics and writing on British comic books and especially the more obscure publishers. Two things I can tell you; I'll never get an award for that and secondly -its British and unless you are the hip latest new talent or Alan Moore you never get recognised. 

However, I am willing to break my own rule of "No Awards" announcements and see how this plays out.

In A World Of Chaos The Bearded Publisher Is The Fool!

 Someone on one of my Face Book groups asked what had happened to the seven books I put together at the end of last year.

Well, it was eight books.

I am taking my time with them. If I wanted to I could have them out and published by this coming Saturday. However, there are not crowds of comic fans smashing my door in shouting "I'm buying! I want to buy!" and there are around 200 books at the online store anyway. I still find it hilarious the Black Tower was called "one of the most promising comic companies to watch!" when it has been going since 1984!!

Anyway, I have had to pull together 45 years research on foxes and other canids extinct and introduced to the UK for Red Paper 2022 which will be a massive expansion of the 2010 edition and that all takes a lot of time -often 8-10 hours work a day on top of looking at fox deaths.

So I decided to do what I did last year and leave publishing the new stuff until around June. I also have to take time before that to over-price books so that no one in the United States buys them (sorry but US taxes and the exchange rate means the books bring in no money). The fact that The Green Skies is being bought by more people in the U.S. is not making me rich!

It is not easy in publishing -and not just comics and comic albums/graphic novels but "big boy" books on UFOs, cryptozoology, ghosts and so on.

Also,books that stories have been building up to are SO delayed as I cannot do the artwork on all of them and as I cant pay artists -delay is not going to get shorter!

So, I am still planning on publishing more but just taking my time and, no I am not sending out free review books to the people requested them as I checked the blogs and it seems they are "get free books" cons (always check how often a "review blog" is posting and if not for a year... ).

Stay Chuckling

Sir Terrance Alexander Eustace Hardibrand Hooper-Scharf

Tuesday 26 April 2022

THE BATMAN, but with Goofy Batman

Just A Few Thoughts -Comic Fans

 I tend not to look at stats because when the "I need to get 1000 views a day" starts -you've lost the fun. The blog makes no money and gets no support from the millions around the world (never thought that my musings would reach a world wide audience). I've seen live streams on You Tube when the YTer actually says "If I do not get a thousand likes on this stream **** it I'm stopping!" -the almost infantile foot stamping is very sad.

No one has the right to demand that 1000 people click like or that's it. There used to be a Like button on Blogger years ago but it vanished so all I have to go by are the daily stats. It's odd that Yahoo 360 blog and others used to get reader comments if only to say "I enjoyed that" but Google+ where I accrued 4 million views within two years also had no Like button and comments were rare (still more than on CBO though!).

Is it because people are in fear of being name called or otherwise abused if they respond to blog posts these days? CBO has always had a zero (and I mean absolute zero) tolerance of that and is the safest comic blog you can comment on. Why are comic fans interested in reading posts but not commenting -if they are fans then they should be allowed to enjoy chatting about their love of the medium.

The Justic League of America Megapost has had a couple thousand views but about 4 comments. The same with the Avengers Mega Post. Why?

I know that after all these years I am preaching to no one but fans are fans and I think it a shameful situation that they feel they can no longer enjoy chatting to others about comics.

Just a thought.

Monday 25 April 2022

Florence + The Machine - Free

WHICH British Comic Characters?

 Right every time I ask for reader opinions or suggestions (since this blog started) the response has been zero.

But I thought "try again" so here we go.

If you read the Avengers megapost then you will have seen some of the classic covers. Here is where YOU come into this. Using old Silver Age -Thomson or Fleetway- British comic characters which cover would you choose to feature them on?

That simple. List of characters and which cover. Its fun.

Monday 18 April 2022

"What Makes A British Super Hero Story British?"

 Without being facetious the answer to that question being British. To stamp "local" on something you have to set a story or add a scene that people in a country will recognise. For instance I twice set Germany's D-Gruppe in stories at the time of the Narri Narro festival -the good old Narri Narros they used to televise back in the 1980s-1990s with characters from folklore or whatever.

Germans would know what Narri Narro is immediately -in fact most of the scenes set in Germany they ought to recognise such as Externsteine and Herman's Denkmal.

For the UK stories have to have the "Fish and Chips" element; D. C. Thomson's athlete Alf Tupper was often depicted have a fish and chip lot. In fact most British comic characters at one time or another could be seen scoffing down chips.

Above -Alf Tupper scoffing down newspaper wrapped chips. How much more British could he be? Unfortunately the Americanisation through media means he would need to be seen noshing on a pizza. In fact...2022 he'd be chewing of alfalfa on stone ground wrap. At this point I hurt my eyes as I rolled them up far too severely.

Sometimes you will catch a standing gag in a Black Tower comic based around fish and chips. In a Black Tower Super Heroes story The Avenger is disgusted to find that "Tupper's Chip Shop" (no relation in any way to Alf Tupper) of which he is a long standing customer,  has run out of vegetarian sausages -the last being handed out to the Druid. On another occasion the Avenger and Jon Future are sat in a park having a "chip supper" and discuss the finer point of chips.

Ahh, for the days when you used to get your chip in (biodegradable) grease proof sachet and wrapped in newspaper. Now its all far too expensive and comes in polystyrene clam boxes. So..."American".

Dammit we even had a comic titled Whizzer and Chips!


Another traditional bit o' nosh was bangers and mash with peas (unless you were one of those 1970s kids had your bangers and mash with ...baked beans..yeeeuw).

A nice big plate full of bangers and mash -no gravy you will note (so many make that mistake!) Of course if you are a vegetarian you could replace the meat sausage with Quorn sausages or even make your own with Sosmix! It's all in the new Black Tower title Twenty-Two Recipes For Vegetarian Bangers (out in May).

Yep, even traditionbalist paper Punch were proud to show the traditional bangers and mash in its pages!

Food-Drink-Cartoons-Punch (1990-08-03)

All the real kids of my era used to love bangers and did the comic strip characters including Beryl the Peril and Minnie the Minx...

Of course modern kids do not have the intestinal fortitude of 1960s kids. "How many calories are in each sausage?" "Is this free roaming?" and "Is there no vegetarian option, mpother?" Look at this kid below being offered what any kid would get for tea in the 1960s before asking "Any rasberry ripple for afters?"

Of course, 1960s kids would have made that face if they found baked beans with their bangers and mash (I really must stop thinkling about that crime).

Then we have that traditional British get-a-way of the seaside. Immortalised since the 1930s in movies, then TV and radio and in Boys Papers going back to the 19th century. Of course, the comics brought us the Bumper Summer Specials featuring all the favourite characters at the beach.

And, yes, of course Black Tower has followed the tradition of seaside action and adventure and Weston-Super-Mare has had its fair share. Oh, and yes that is Patrick Troughton's 2nd Dr Who with the checkered trousers and big hat on the front of TV Comic.  I was asked whether days out at the seaside was not a little old fashioned but judging by the news reports of packed beaches

A cup of tea may still be a traditional British staple (if you drink it -I was weaned on "Ein tasse kaffee" as a kidin Germany) and my grandparents all "put the kettle on" when someone called around. If we were old as kids to go play in the park as a family friend was "calling in for a cup of tea" we knew it meant something had happened. "Tea and sympathy" is still a strong tradion and one Alan Moore and Alan Davis procured for the Captain britain story "Tea and Sympathy".

Of course you also got to see a lot of strange sights at British beaches but even odder out to sea (if you were at Weston-Super-Mare the sea only came in at night but I'm quite sure that if you wore night vision goggles you might see something like this...

Above all I think that what makes a British comic or character British are...British creators. Not the ones that want to draw comics like something you might find on Cartoon Network or wanting to make a BRitish character emulate American comic book characters. And where is all our British comic charactwer cosplay?  Well, we have Essex Girl and Captain Britain...

Look at the 1940s British comics which carried on with the tradition of anti-heroes. I have written before about the Iron Warrior and how certain people have no idea about the character

We had Krakos The Egyptian who was involved in all sorts of goings on that might make him classed as not just one of the first British (non European) supernatural heroes anti-hero. As shown in Black Tower comics he was not known as "The Angel of the Burning Death" for nothing and that was demonstrated in Krakos Sands of Terror!.  Even The Bat (William A. Ward's creation not all the other "Bats") fought for his country's freedom and finally won after decades in The Bat Triumphant!

In the last few years we saw some old British adventure heroes brought back in The Vigilant -about which I have nothing good to write.

I have written posts on old or lost British characters..

Oh and then there is this one

and, of course, the mega Improbability Of The British Super Hero

And if all of this does not answer your question then I give up. 

Why do none of these Captain Britain cosplayers have beards, hey, lad?

n there is this one

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Have Humans Always Feared Sharks? | Monstrum

eyes finito

 Just a quick note to kick a rumour in the ass.

I have not -NOT- lost my sight. Basically I have aneye problem so I am very limited on the PC. Condition should (I hope) pass in a week but ignore the people who are spreading rumours.

Unfortunately this happenedas I was starting to overprice books to stop US sales...

Thats enough. Etyes say finito

Friday 1 April 2022

Hexagon Comics: Strangers 7: The Return of Homicron

7x10 squarebound trade paperback, 

94 p. 

ISBN-13: 978-1-64932-111-4.

US$12.95 / GBP 10.99

 Jean-Marc Lofficier; art by Afredo Macall, Nestor Manuel Vargas; 

Cover by Nestor Manuel Vargas.

- Foreword by J.-M. & Randy Lofficier
- Emter: The Sea King by Jean-Marc Lofficier & Alfredo Macall
- The Return of Homicron by Jean-Marc Lofficier & Nestor Manuel Vargas

THE SEA KING, a young naval officer who gained the power to breathe underwater thanks to his uncle’s experiments...

MARINO and EGA, two “kidz” from the alien sunken city of Kosmos with their own strange aquatic powers...

MISS METEOR, a scientist who traveled to the negative dimension of Zhud where she gained cosmic powers in a freak accident...

THE ZORR-KO, a powerful android built millions of years ago by the mighty Fomore civilization and abandoned on Earth... 

These characters, all “strangers,” have been brought together by TANKA, a former jungle lord recruited by entities from our planet’s farthest future and now empowered to protect our world from extra-terrestrial menaces.

In this seventh volume of Strangers, the mission of our heroes is to travel to the Kosmos to reclaim the water component of the powerful Kera weapon, and to Zhud to rescue their fellow Stranger Homicron, while thwarting the evil schemes of two would-be conquerors....
Guest-starring: COMMANDER NEPTUNE!
These two incredible journeys to the lowest depths of the oceans and the furthest reaches of space are beautifully drawn by Alfredo Macall and Nestor Manuel Vargas.

The first thing I noticed was the cover art which as a very Manhua look to it so that got me intrigued from the get-go. Of course the stories are well written and fun to read and as I have written before if you have one person keeping it all together then continuity does not suffer and Lofficier does this well.

Alfredo Macall's splash page hooked me and from there on in it was pure fun. Action scenes and so much more are rendered wonderfully and I wonder how the pencil-like shading is achieved -my guess is that its a digital. I do not use digital artwork and so I have no idea what is available to the comic artist. The underwater scenes are very well done and I never expected to become a fan of Macall's work.

Cover artist Vargas returns for the two part The Coming of Miss Meteor and The Return of Homicron. That sub-Manhua style is still evident and the details and lovely black and white art style works. In fact, I just realised that some of the art reminds me of certain strips in the old Bastei Verlag comics Spuk Geschichten and Gespenster Geschichten and that gave me a sudden nostalgia rush...which I was not expecting.

In all seriousness I hope some of those who check these reviews are at least trying Hexagon Comics because if you are not then you are missing out. Macall and Vargas are two very good artists who deliver the goods and combined with the Lofficier stories -you cannot do better!