Batbook of the Week: BATMAN by NEAL ADAMS OMNIBUS

Fitting way to follow up NEAL ADAMS MONTH, no?


Neal Adams is certainly in the zeitgeist right now. We just completed NEAL ADAMS MONTH, with exclusive daily commentary by the artist and his collaborators on his DC Comics variant-cover project (click here for the full INDEX of stories). There’s also The Coming of the Supermen, Adams’ new mini.

This week, it’s the Batman by Neal Adams Omnibus, a $100 hardcover collection of every page and cover of the artist’s Batwork. In essence, it replaces the three-volume trade series that was published over the last 10 years and adds Batman: Odyssey to the mix.

Really, what can you say about a gigantic book dedicated to Batman’s greatest artist? That it’s, what, magnificent? Sure. That it contains work that redefined comics’ best character and laid the foundation for the nearly 50 years that followed? OK. That it contains not just gorgeous art but brilliant stories by Denny O’Neil and Len Wein and highly entertaining tales by Bob Haney? Yep.


I think the only plaudit left unsaid is that this omnibus is hefty enough to fend off angry woodland creatures.

Now, the book’s not perfect. I don’t like it when older comics are recolored using modern techniques. There’s something off about it and I much prefer seeing the original. It’s like watching the original Star Trek with the newfangled special effects. Said newfangled effects are supposed to enhance the illusion. Instead, they just remind you that they’re newfangled special effects.

But still. Hundreds of pages of Neal Adams Batman. In one place. Yes.

ALSO ON THE BATSHELVES THIS WEEK: There’s another omnibus out this week — Batman and Superman in World’s Finest Silver Age Omnibus Vol. 1. I’m passing on it but I figured I’d mention it. I am picking up Detective Comics #50, Batman and Robin Eternal #23 and Catwoman #50. There’s also the Dark Knight III #3 hardcover collector’s edition, which I am getting because I am a sucker.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Found this online a few days ago for about half the price if you pre-ordered the book. You can also order the book from Neal Adams site and have it signed for the regular price of the book (seriously thinking about canceling my previous order and going that route)
    Either way, can’t wait to have the book, though I agree with you on modern coloring techniques on older artwork. To me, it takes away from the line work of the original piece.

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    • Modern coloring does not respect the line. Comic books are mostly about line are.

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  2. It appears to be missing at least one of Adams’ Batman stories: Brave & Bold #102, but that seems to happen every time they try to do a comprehensive collection like this: the Kirby books left out a few things, the Ditko Omnibus sets missed a few things, and now this.

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    • Probably because he only worked on part of the story. Or it could just be an oversight.

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  3. “It’s like watching the original Star Trek with the newfangled special effects. Said newfangled effects are supposed to enhance the illusion. Instead, they just remind you that they’re newfangled special effects.”

    Agreed. I remember having a discussion with the guy who headed up that team and disagreeing with the decision to do it. The beats and rhythms of every nuance of the original (flawed or not) is part of my childhood/nervous system. Same with the original recording of the theme. The newer version takes me out of it.

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  4. im surprised when i hear people say they dont like new coloring (and redoing the old Trek special effects). i understand WHY they say it, but i dont agree. on one hand yes the new coloring on new shiny paper makes the old art look weird. but ill take that over old comics in beat up shape (we all know how expensive Adams Batmans can be in mint or even VF condition) with off-register art and primitive coloring. what would be good would be a middle ground. not the best of the best paper and not overly detailed computerized/photoshop coloring. but colors close to the originals, with a little improvement and just perfect registration (not a problem since they dont print like that anymore)
    as for the Trek thing, sorry i LOVED the new effects. even in the 70s i thought the effects were terrible, i dont think they went to far. maybe on one or two episodes but i think they did a decent job aiming to keep the integrity. its not like you HAVE to watch the new ones. i mean the alien ship in the Corbomite Maneuver was AMAZING.

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    • No, you’re right I don’t have to watch the new effects. It’s not like they’ve done a Star Wars Special Edition and erased all trace of the original. But that’s not the point, to me at least. I get that Dave Rossi and the effects team are fans and did it all with love and attention to detail. It’s obvious. I watched every new iteration of the new effects at the 10:00 on Sunday night time slot it was relegated to here in the Dallas area. Some of them were pretty well done. I liked some of the little touches like seeing the android in “I Mudd” have all the moving parts in his stomach and then closing it up with no trace of a seam. Seeing a bigger castle for Flint in “Requiem for Methuselah”.

      The point to me is that it was a product of it’s time and it felt like we were apologizing for what was. I didn’t feel that was necessary and I never felt the effects were bad until they started saying things about it in magazines 20 or 30 yrs after the fact. Much like I never realized Batman was campy as a kid. I took the show and what he said very seriously. “Robin, always remember to put on your seatbelt”. I interviewed Adam West for a children’s show once about 15 yrs ago, and boy did I suck the air out of the room full of real reporters with how reverentially and seriously I took him. He was still Batman to me.

      I think it’s important to remember what was. Those old Flash Gordon serials were before my time but I remember watching them and realizing as a kid it was a product of it’s time. I mean, with the new and flashy as an option on the DVDs who’s going to watch the old? And then that eventually is lost and forgotten.

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