How social media helped bring together a mourning community.

“He was a father. Not just my father, but a father to all that would get to know him.” Josh Adams- Neal’s son.

Neal Adams” by Gage Skidmore

Days have passed since the announcement of Neal Adams death; he was one of the most influential and driving forces to have worked in the comic medium. Fans and creators around the world have taken to multiple social media platforms and as a community mourned the loss of this legend. Sharing stories of meeting or working with him along with pieces of his work from a long and fruitful career in illustration.

A variety of news outlets covered Adams passing, covering both his passing, his work and legacy in comics. Some of these include The Hollywood Reporter

Who Was Neal Adams?

Neal Adams was an American comic book artist and commercial artist who co-founded Continuity Associates, a New York based graphic design studio. Adams in 1998 was inducted into the Eisner Award’ Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1998 and the following year was also included in The Harvey Award’s Jack Kirby Hall of Fame.

DC Comics Batman illustrated by Neal Adams.

Adams is known predominately in comics for his work on Batman and the Green Lantern/Green Arrow series, not to mention the co-creation of some of Batman’s most recognisable villains Ra’s al Ghul, Talia and Man-Bat. Along with these characters he too also co-created one of DC Comics first black superheroes, the Green Lantern John Stewart. With prolific writer Dennis O’Neil the pair reintroduced Batman, stripping the caped crusader of the Adam West television series campy nature and placed Batman back to a mature and gritty setting, focusing on his detective roots. The pair also used to time on Green Lantern/Green Arrow to produce one of comics most influential stories published, “Snowbirds Don’t Fly“, a story that focus on Green Arrow’s young sidekick Speedy and his addiction to drugs, shattering the illusion that heroes in comics do not falter. Other notable works include Uncanny X-Men, The Avengers, Deadman and Superman vs. Muhammad Ali.

All illustrations by Neal Adams.

How this fan favourites passing has been reported in media:

On April the 29th The Hollywood Reporter published their article titled Neal Adams, Comic Book Artist Who Revitalized Batman and Fought for Creators’ Rights, Dies at 80 written by Borys Kit. Kit relays a lot of common knowledge about the late artists career but also chooses to focus a lot of his article on the early life and career of Adams.

 Going over Adams attendance at the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan and his goal to become a comic artist. The writer also expands on Adams early career, even though being rejected by DC Comics for years, he for Archie Comics developing gag cartoons as well as a daily Ben Casey comic strip. Aside from comics, Adams worked in commercial advertising, some of which featured much loved cmi characters.

This article also touches on Adams work to secure better working conditions for artist whether it be the return of their artwork or royalties and recognition for their contributions to the vast amount of work published. A fact possibly not really known unless you were more than a passing fan.

The way Kit has selected his content and laid it out in a way acts as an explainer. Author adds a lot of information so a casual fan of the artist or for a time learning about Adams gets a better insight into what the artist has done over his lengthy career and why so many have shared their experiences in one way or another to morn his passing.

On the 6th of May The Guardian published Michael Carlson’s obituary entitled Neal Adams obituary: Artist who reinvented the look of classic characters for Marvel and DC Comics and fought for the rights of illustrators similarly Carlson follows Kit’s article structure in choosing to talk about Adam early career and work to help creator’s rights. Carlson does an overview of Adams career covering his time on Batman and Green Lantern/ Green arrow and his co-creator credits of Ra’s al Ghul. Just like Kit for The Hollywood Reporter, covers some of his early career but slightly more in-depth, again more information to help a casual fan or non-comic reader to better understand Adams impact on the medium.

However, Carlson goes further into Adams work battling for artists creator rights, emphasising the 1987 court case that led to publishers being ordered to return original artwork to the artist and also his work to secure recognition, royalties and a pension for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Why social media was the best place to report and mourn the passing of Neal Adams.

It is evident that Adams was a fan favourite and driving force in comics. From his work in comics, charity, graphic design, and battles fought for creator’s rights. But it goes beyond that, linking back to Adams’ son’s quote; fans, friends and family published to social media alongside these articles, adding to the journalists work and showing through stories of working or meeting him who Adams really was and why his passing was a blow to fans and why he will be so greatly missed. The tweets from fans and friends is what really help journalism in this case, both pushing the article higher in the algorithm to be seen but more importantly adds so much more to the limited word counts some journalists must work with, covering aspects of the persons life that the writer could not fit in.Neal Adams was 80 years old when he passed away and will be missed. Rest in peace sir.

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