Cover by cover, page by page, convention by convention – every interaction with Neal Adams was like having him pulling up in a convertible in front of your house, laying on the horn and saying, “Come on! Get in! It will be fun!” And we’d eagerly get in the car every damn time.
When someone is larger than life, it’s hard to come to terms with their passing. Neal saw the world as some grand Arthurian Epic. And through his phenomenal artistic talent, charismatic personality, and warm smile, he helped us to see the world that way too.
He had a big heart and big visions – and to me he was also always welcoming and supportive. I was a fanboy first and foremost, but became a friend and collaborator too. I was his so-called ‘art director’ on two projects: one for NYCC and another for a variant Batman cover. What a laugh to think I was an ‘art director’ to Neal! I was just along for the ride. No one can art direct a wild tornado or a breathtakingly memorable sunset. They happen with a grand design all of their own.
When we dragged Neal and his wife Marilyn up to Central New York a few years ago to be our convention’s Guest of Honor, I asked Syracuse’s mayor to rename Adams Street as Neal Adams Street for the weekend. She took it one step further and issued a proclamation – June 20, 2017, became Neal Adams Day.
When I presented Neal with the certificate at a ceremony, he laughed, rolled his eyes, and graciously accepted the honor. I don’t think he ever quite understood it the way I saw it. To so many of us, it there were so many days that were Neal Adams Day.
Geez, we’ll miss you, pal. And I’m sending warm thoughts to your wonderful family.