TRIBUTE TO NEAL ADAMS

Tribute to Neal Adams, indeed. I recently read of his passing late last month here and with the news, comes a great sense of loss. To say he was my favorite illustrator is an extreme understatement. I was fortunate to meet him once at the San Diego ComicCon years ago with some buddies of mine. I was reticent to approach him at first due to the rumors that swirled around him about how difficult he was to deal with. Turns out, that just what they rumors, he could not have been nicer or more approachable. Turned me into a regular ‘fanboy.’
   After some small talk, I broached the subject of a possible interview as I was then freelancing for Filmfax and Outre’ magazine. We exchanged contact info, I checked in with publisher Mike Stein and lo and behold, a 3-part interview with the master ensued:
Part I
Part II
Part III
I’ll let the articles speak for themselves as he was wonderfully candid and forthcoming. As to his work, allow me to show just some of the reasons why he was the best of the best. First, the Green Lantern Green Arrow first issue cover in color…

GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW (issues #76-89) by Denny O’Neill (writer) & Neal Adams (artist).

 

 
































Pretty dramatic change of pace for comic books, don’t you think? Inside, the theme of the short-lived series was set early on with this graphic…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the help of writer Denny O’Neill this series created stories and images that were the best in the business for their intensity, irreverence and most of all, powerful imagery. In the most famous and most controversial issue, Green Arrow’s ward attempts to kick his heroin addiction with the sympathetic aid of Green Arrow’s girlfriend., again in full-color…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just to show not of all Adams’ greatness lay in his Green Lantern/Green Arrow series, check out this vibrant and moody color rendition of his wrap-around reprint  cover for Batman’s Ra’s Al Ghul series….
And speaking of Batman, Adams not only did the cover for this classic but came up with the original story idea in which the Dark Knight Detective pursues some bank robbers, all while battling the demons that haunt him over the murder of his parents…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But for me, the man’s greatness will always be in the GL/GA Series.  I don’t think I’ve ever been moved to tears by a comic book’s work of art, but Adams was able to do it and I’ll give you my favorite example. I included it in the interview I did but the lack of color does not do it justice. So, here in powerful color, I give you those images, especially the last panel…
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


So there you have it, my own personal tribute to Neal Adams, the man I considered to be the greatest comic book artist of all time. He once famously said, “If superheroes existed, they would look the way I draw them.” He not only was right, but with his passing, there are no more superheroes, in more ways than one.
– Dwayne Epstein.

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FROM THE 1998 FILMFAX ARCHIVES: THE RAT PACK

An old friend recently contacted me via social media about a question she and her husband had been pondering during dinner. It had to do with the infamous Rat Pack and instead of searching Google, she contacted me to ask about the group’s inception. I wrote her back based on what I remembered and the result pleased both her and her husband.
Of course, it also got me to thinking, how DID I know the answer to her query? The senior moment passed when I realized I had, albeit many years ago, written a rather tongue-in-cheek article about that very subject for Filmfax’s sister publication, Outre Magazine.
It was a favorite piece of mine as the subject is a favorite. Even though the articles are all done on spec, I didn’t have to sell this one very hard at all. A simple query was all it took. One of the many reasons I loved writing for the magazine was just that: They liked what I wrote and I liked their subject matter. A perfect fit. Besides, it allowed me to keep my chops up while I continued to research Lee Marvin Point Blank.
And so without further ado…..Oh, one more thing. The cable show I referenced but did not state by name was Mystery Science Theater. Very funny show in it’s day but I didn’t want to risk legal action….or something like that.
So NOW, without further ado, my homage to (please hold your applause until all names have been completed) Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, and supporting players Shirley MacLaine, Humphrey Bogart, and Lauren Bacall. I give you, THE RAT PACK!
Rather appropriate for this Good Friday, don’t you think?

The Rat Pack in Outre, Page 1

The Rat Pack in Outre, Page 1

The Rat Pack in Outre, Page 2

The Rat Pack in Outre, Page 2

The Rat Pack in Outre, Page 3

The Rat Pack in Outre, Page 3

The Rat Pack in Outre, Page 4

The Rat Pack in Outre, Page 4

The Rat Pack in Outre, Page 5

The Rat Pack in Outre, Page 5

 

 

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STEVE ALLEN INTERVIEW, PART 2: FROM THE ARCHIVES

Steve Allen proved to be such an intriguing interview subject, I took it upon myself to interview him on subjects beyond what I orginally intended. In fact, When he found out I was in the midst of researching Lee Marvin Point Blank, it resulted in a great anecdote that didn’t quite make the book, but will be a great subject for an upcoming blog entry.
My decision to go beyond my intended subject of questions must have paid off as it resulted in the following letter to the editor (“Smock Absorber”) in the next issue of Outre, penned by film make Don Glut (a practice that his highly encouraged by yours truly, even on blog posts!) :

Letter to the editor by filmmaker Don Glut.

Letter to the editor by filmmaker Don Glut.

It’s worth noting that during our conversation, Steve Allen’s wife, Jayne Meadows, kept poking in to get her husband to sign some paperwork. Each time she did that, she would look over my shoulder to see the notes I was taking. Luckily, my handwriting is so atrocious she couldn’t make out what I was writing, forcing her to look exasperated each time she left. On the third attempt, she dropped all pretense, tapped my shoulder and blurted out, “Young man, what are you writing?!” I looked at her husband who give me the internationally accepted sign of “It’s okay, go ahead and tell her…” So, I did. We were in the midst of discussing Lenny Bruce, prompting Ms. Meadows to tell me on record her anecdote about  Lenny that is included the interview.
As you’ll also see below, once we discussed Steve Allen’s influence in dragging the American populace kicking and screaming into the age of modern pop culture, I took full advantage of the situation by asking him about popular music, his landmark TV series, Meeting of Minds, his best and worst guests, and so much more. Below are the results which I thought made for great reading. Enjoy…..

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 1

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 1

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 2

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 2

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 3

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 3

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 4

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 4

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 5

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 5

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 6

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 6

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 7

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 7

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 8

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 8

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 9

Steve Allen, Part 2, Page 9

 

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