Neal Adams, a comic book artist who changed the way we see Batman today, has died at the age of 80.
After years of contributing to some of the most influential comic franchises, the artist died of complications from sepsis, his wife Marilyn Adams told The Hollywood Reporter.
At DC in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Adams worked on characters like Deadman and, of course, Batman, while he took on the X-Men and the Avengers over at Marvel. Along with writer Dennis O’Neil, Adams put a new spin on the caped crusader, scrapping the campy superhero fans were used to from the Adam West series for a more menacing tone. He also created a handful of characters for the series, including Man-Bat and Ra’s al Ghul, and gave the Joker a more homicidal tone.
“It was no secret that we were doing Batman right,” Adams said during San Diego Comic-Con in 2010. “It was as if the memory of DC Comics went along with the statements that both Denny and I were making, that we want it to be more realistic, more gritty. And that’s how we remember — whether it was true or not — that Batman should be. And when we did it, everybody went, ‘Ah, that’s it. We don’t need comedy anymore.’”
Adams also played an important role in shaping the Green Lantern, and later forming the Academy of Comic Book Arts alongside Stan Lee, before parting ways. He also fought to give financial and medical benefits, and credit by name in every Superman comic to the comic’s creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel.
“The modern comic landscape would not be what it is today without the incomparable work of Neal Adams. Neal portrayed heroes as both super and human in equal measure,” DC shared in a tweet. “His work on Batman, Green Lantern, and many more was revolutionary. DC joins the world in mourning his loss.”