This is one of those covers, like so many Neal Adams did for DC in the late sixties, that far surpasses the contents of the package. The story inside has none of the drama this image promises, nor anything approximating the bold flavor of Neal Adams’ artwork. Still, the cover alone is well worth the 12 cents. It’s one of my favorites from Neal Adams’ sixties work, primarily, I think because of the rich coloring, which he may or may not have had anything to do with. The image itself, simple,clean and spare, allows for the bold color to do its thing–and it was indeed, a seductive object-commanding my attention amidst all the competition on the spinner rack back in 1968.
In many ways, it encapsulates that which attracts me to comics, to art-to this day–the joyous flat color, the simplicity of its spare but powerful arrangement of forms and figures. It speaks to the power of color in comics-and color rarely gets its due, it seems to me, when talking about comics art. Perhaps that originates in the secondary role colorists were given in the assembly line production of comic books, but it belies the primacy of color in art.
Nevertheless, Adams’ fluid line, his inky blacks, dynamic figures and boundless space, –all attest to his craft and imagination-and suggest that Superman, Aquaman, and Jimmy Olsen live on in a world much closer to us than we ever thought possible.
*I was using the Uniroyal ball point pen and I think this was the first of these I decided to color. And the first Neal Adams piece I’d copied since I was about 14. It was a challenge then–& it still is!