Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Art of Dan Adkins

It is with a touch sadness that I make this post, as I have had word that another of the great comic book artists, Dan Adkins, has just passed away at the age of 76.

Adkins was a skilled and talented penciler and inker, and I don't think there's a major comic book character created before 1980 that his pencil or brush didn't bring to life. There also isn't a penciler over whom his inks didn't look great--and he did finishes over some 70 different artists during his career. In addition to his comic book work, Adkins drew illustrations for sci-fi and horror magazines such as "Amazing Stories" and "Famous Monsters of Filmland".

Artist Jerry Bingham wrote an excellent piece about how Adkins helped him along at the very beginning of Bingham's own career. I am reposting it here with Jerry's permission. A gallery of Dan Adkins's art follows.


It's easier to comment on the passing of distant relationships than on people I cared about. Such is the case with Dan.

In 1977, I had been out of the Air Force for a year, and I had been turned down at all my attempts to get work drawing comics. After my third trip to the Marvel offices with new samples, kindly art director, Marie Severin, told me of a guy she knew who had helped a number of young artists break into the business. He lived just across the river in New Jersey. She gave me his number.

He was a quirky little guy with an exceptionally sweet wife and young boy, who set me up with a drawing board in his living room, invited me to sleep on his couch for a week, then proceeded to do everything in his power to discourage me from a life in comics.

But he critiqued as I drew. Then he took me into NYC, introduced me to Archie Goodwin, who gave me my first job. And he introduced me to Joe Orlando at DC. He even took me up to Neal Adams's office (who critiqued me harshly and shooed us on our way).

Then Dan told me of his plans to move to Reading, PA, and asked if I wanted to come with. What else did I have going for me? He introduced me to Steranko. My wife and I moved into the apartment downstairs from the Adkins family and we became very close for a short time. He had a story for every occasion and, no matter how outrageous, he could entertain and appall at the same time. I moved out a few years later. We lost touch. Life happened.

I sent flowers when his wife Jeanette passed a few years ago, and I remember remarking in private that I wondered how he would survive without her. His family was his whole world. I am extremely saddened today with the news of Dan's death.

Dan Adkins will always be "That Guy" for me, the guy who was there when I really needed someone just like him to nudge me to the next rung on the artist's evolutionary ladder. Point me down the right hall. He introduced me to many other things I needed: other artists I was unaware of, famous NY bookstores, and he let me glimpse snippets of possible futures for myself, and let me understand what I didn't want to be, as well as what my possibilities were.

Life is full of regrets. I will always regret that I did not maintain our friendship over the years. He was there for a short time, and then he was not. But he was enormously influential. And I will always care for him in my heart.

Miss you Danny.

1 comment:

  1. The world is just a bit smaller with the loss of yet another great artist. As my friends and I attend Dallas Comic Con this weekend I will make sure we all have a moment of silence for Dan Adkins