NEAL ADAMS INTERVIEWS: Detective Comics #408

Boy, oy boy, Robin gets abused a lot, doesn’t he?

When DC opted to send Dick Grayson off to Hudson University at the end of 1969, the immediate, intended result was to make Batman a loner once again. The byproduct of that is that Neal Adams didn’t really do much with the character. And when he did, Robin seemed to always be getting the short end of the Batarang.

Like so:

Feb. 1971

Feb. 1971

So, during our lengthy interview that spawned this series of columns, I posed it to Neal: “Robin was a character you didn’t work all that much with.”

“Mostly because of Denny (O’Neil),” he responded. “I really loved Robin, because Jerry Robinson’s Robin was really a boing-y Robin, always smiling and grinning all the time. I thought he was a great, great character and I haven’t seen him like that (lately). And I did it in Batman: Odyssey and nobody else does Robin like it ought to be. He ought to be this  boing-y character that does all this stuff and gets himself in the line of fire all the time. And magically  manages to get away. I love that about Robin.

“In this story, because I love Robin, because Denny did this, I could feel the pain because I have kids,” he continued. “I have five kids. So this idea of  losing Robin to me is a terribly tragic concept for Batman because he took on this kid and the kid’s parents were killed. My God, you’ve taken on that responsibility and now he turns to dust in your hands. It’s a terrible thing.”

But that’s not all!

Dec. 1972

Dec. 1972

NEXT: The Ra’s al Ghul Covers. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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3 Comments

  1. As these comic books are like time capsules, like songs on the radio you heard when you were young and can remember the sights, sounds and smells when you heard that song, these Neal Adams comics especially have that aura, each and every issue different from the other. I was accompanying my mom on her bi-weekly trips to her hair cutting salon in Hackensack-ack-ack-ack-ack, New Jersey (we lived in nearby Fair Lawn), and I must’ve bought this issue at a candy store near there, or maybe earlier that day in Fair Lawn. I remember being struck by these new writers’ names i hadn’t come across before, Len Wein AND a Marv Wolfman??? weird for 2 writers to be sharing a credit in those days (still), and we Batman fans by this time had been used to 2 years or so of straight-Denny O’Neil scripts, especially when drawn by Adams (an Adams interior!!! And Adams interior!!!). The cover was startling enough, and the scene was actually duplicated by Adams in the inside! A strange, twilight Zone-y story almost, too! And then, at the end, Dr. Tzin-Tzin?!?!? From the old Moldoff/Giella/Infantino era? Whatever. Neal’s art, page by page, was like walking through a haunted house’s hall of mirrors, where each page changed, distorted, differed. Which is exactly what the story by those newcomers was about–ergo Neal the perfect “illustrator.” A minor masterpiece, I’d call this.

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  2. As these comic books are like time capsules, like songs on the radio you heard when you were young and can remember the sights, sounds and smells when you heard that song, these Neal Adams comics especially have that aura, each and every issue different from the other. I was accompanying my mom on her bi-weekly trips to her hair cutting salon in Hackensack-ack-ack-ack-ack, New Jersey (we lived in nearby Fair Lawn), and I must’ve bought this issue at a candy store near there, or maybe earlier that day in Fair Lawn. I remember being struck by these new writers’ names i hadn’t come across before, Len Wein AND a Marv Wolfman??? weird for 2 writers to be sharing a credit in those days (still), and we Batman fans by this time had been used to 2 years or so of straight-Denny O’Neil scripts, especially when drawn by Adams (an Adams interior!!! An Adams interior!!!). The cover was startling enough, and the scene was actually duplicated by Adams in the inside! A strange, twilight Zone-y story almost, too! And then, at the end, Dr. Tzin-Tzin?!?!? From the old Moldoff/Giella/Infantino era? Whatever. Neal’s art, page by page, was like walking through a haunted house’s hall of mirrors, where each page changed, distorted, differed. Which is exactly what the story by those newcomers was about–ergo Neal the perfect “illustrator.” A minor masterpiece, I’d call this.

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  3. We had a spirited debate over in Arlen Schumer’s Neal Adams Almanack about that BATMAN #246 cover, with the hanged Robin, and it was determined the it was NOT drawn by Neal, but only inked by him; the actual penciler was the late Dave Cockrum.

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