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Arthur Adams – Acclaimed Comic Book Artist

arthur adams

By PDX People

PORTLAND, Ore. – One of the most well-known PDX People to call Portland home over the years is Arthur Adams.

His work has been featured in hundreds of comics over the years from properties owned by Marvel Comics like the X-Men, The Incredible Hulk and The Wolverine to properties that’s he created like Monkeyman and O’Brien.

About Arthur Adams

Adams initially created a portfolio of pinups and monster splash pages, and added story sequences when he began attending comics conventions at age 17. At one of them, Adams met someone who, after seeing Adams’ artwork, asked Adams for a submission for a comic book fanzine he was putting together called High-Energy. Adams submitted the horror story “One-Eyed Jack”, which saw print High-Energy#1 (cover dated Spring 1982). Though it was an unpaid work, it was Adams’ first published work, though he has lightheartedly decried its quality, saying, “It was pretty bad.”

Adams’ first paid work was a Farrah Foxette pinup that he copied from Farrah Fawcett‘s iconic 1976 swimsuit poster, which he submitted to the letters page of the DC Comics series Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! That series’ editor, Roy Thomas, paid Adams $10 to publish the piece as a fan pinup.

At a Creation Convention in San Francisco, Adams received career advice from Steve Leialoha and Chris Claremont, and also met another aspiring illustrator, Mike Mignola, with whom Adams became friends, and later, business partners. Because of the popularity of the X-Men, Adams included a Wolverine story in his portfolio, although he was only a casual fan of the X-Men himself. He would later become closely associated with the X-Men in his early career. After showing his portfolio to editor Bob Schreck at a Creation Convention, he gained permission to set up a table, doing drawings for fans for $5 – $10. He began submitting samples to Marvel Comics when he was 18, taking a job at a pizzeria after graduating high school.

Adams’ first professional job came about after he met Joe Rubinstein at a Creation Convention. Rubinstein took Adams’ samples to Marvel editors Dennis O’Neil and Linda Grant, who in 1983 offered Adams the chance to write and draw “The Return of Richard Buzznick”, a short story for the black and white anthology Bizarre Adventures. Though Adams completed the story, the series was canceled before his story was published, and Adams returned to submitting samples while working at the pizzeria. Adams later dismissed the story as poorly drawn. He also drew “Away Off There Amid The Softly Winking Lights”, a story in the 1984 Pacific Comics anthology Three Dimensional Alien Worlds.

Popularity Of The X-Men

By the late 1990’s, the X-Men was more popular than ever before and the brand was set to take off thanks to the first film in the X-Men film franchise the 2000 film X-Men.

He played a key role in influencing the look of the film franchise thanks to his artwork depicting the iconic characters over the years and he became even more in demand with the success of the first X-Men movie and the dozens of X-Men sequels which have come since.

Adams’ distinctive style has often been named as a considerable influence among a newer generation of popular comic book artists. Adams was also one of the founders of the short-lived Legend imprint for Dark Horse Comics. The consistently popular Adams has worked on many notable series, including various X-Men titles, Fantastic Four, The Authority, Tom Strong, Gen¹³, as well as numerous annuals. He is also known for Art Adams’ Creature Features, a collection of previously published stories that paid tribute to various B-movie monsters, published by Dark Horse Comics. Some of the stories had been originally published in black and white, but they were colored for the collection. Along with writer Steve Moore, Adams is the co-creator of Jonni Future, a popular character in Tom Strong’s Terrific Tales.

Most of Adams’ work has been on properties owned by others, but he is also the author of the creator-owned series Monkeyman and O’Brien, also published by Dark Horse.

Adams is also a highly-regarded cover artist, and he has provided cover images for issues of Superman, Batman, Justice League of America and Vampirella, among other titles. In addition to his work on comics themselves, he has also produced popular commercial art, such as numerous illustrations for trading cards, posters, shirts, and various other comics-related merchandise. Outside the field of comics, he has also provided illustrations for various magazines, movies, games, worked in toy design, and even a series of X-Men-themed Campbell Soup cans.

Arthur Adams Today

Since the widespread success of the X-Men movie franchise and comics, Adams branched off from comic art and has taken to creating illustrations for toy design, movies, magazines, games and the occasional Campbell Soup Can.

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