Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Amazing Impact of Neal Adams' INHUMANS! Black Bolt Lives! Marvel Comics!

Any comics fan (worth his or her salt) knows the panel. It's from a 1971 issue of the "split" two-feature comic, AMAZING ADVENTURES. It features silent Black Bolt, leader of the hidden group, the Inhumans, flying dramatically toward the viewer, as his dearest subjects wave him on. I first encountered said comic book in a North Carolina 5th grade classroom in 1976, at age 11. The teacher in said room kept a small stack of 4-year-old Marvel comics in a cubby at the back of the room, and, for rare "free reading" periods, salivating students got to raid the treasured stash. Long story short, most of those comics somehow made their way into the collection I still own to this day! So impactful were those comics, I had to have them! Who knew Neal Adams (best known for his work at rival DC Comics on BATMAN and other titles) even drew for Marvel, let alone applied his pencils to such obscure strips like THE INHUMANS?! But, I was not alone in my awe over the incredible images seen in that issue. The sensational 7-11 folks decided to slap that same gripping graphic onto their then-ubiquitous "Slurpee" cups, during their 2nd amazing offering of Marvel cups, in 1977! Click below to enlarge images!

Above: The senses-shattering 1971 original art for that memorable
"splash page" of AMAZING ADVENTURES #5, by Neal Adams and Tom Palmer!

Above: The printed version!

Above: The 1977 7-11 store "Slurpee" cup, utilizing that same spectacular drawing!

Above: Gatzen Lauder, billed as the "Mexican Captain Superstar America," is
seen holding the above cup, as he makes a personal appearance during
the "Children's Celebration" in Guerrero, Mexico, in 2003!

Above: A closer look at the famed cup, as seen during the celebration!


Anonymous said...

Yes, incredible to think of Adams working on what seemed such a minor book at the time - I suspect the presence of Roy Thomas in the scripting department had a lot to do with it.

B Smith

Richard Bensam said...

Another fun post. Have to pull seniority on you here, though, having bought this one off the rack when it was published. (And I'd already loved the previous four issues with the Inhumans tales by Kirby.) Oddly enough, this curious little run of issues features some of Adams' most striking and widescreen cinematic storytelling. And it never fails to impress me just how good it looked when Adams drew Kirby characters. Adams obviously got how Kirby's design sense worked, so it never looked like "I'm doing Kirby" but simply "these characters just look right."

Al Bigley said...

Yes, even seeing the ish a few years later, my jaw was on the floor! I barely even knew who the INHUMANS were, let alone the fact that Neal drew them! Oddly, I only knew of Black Bolt due to having the earlier (1975) Slurpee cup, one that featured a famed Jack Kirby-drawn pose!

Al Bigley