Neal Adams’ BATMAN #237 Color Guide Is Even Spookier Than the Final Cover

A Halloween classic…

Every year, I post a tribute of Batman #237, the greatest Halloween comic book of all time — and this year we’ve got a bit of curve for you.

For one thing, there’s this week’s RETRO HOT PICKS, which covers the week in 1971 when the comic came out. Catch it here; you’ll be stunned by what other O’Neil-Adams classic came out the same day, Oct. 21. (And, of course, you can click here for what the late Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams had to say about this brilliant story.)

But now, check this out — the color guide for the cover, which in its own way is even scarier than the final version:

The guide, along with the cover proof, were sold at Heritage Auctions in 2021 for $576, including buyer’s premium. Dig the site’s description: “Batman #237 Cover Proof and Color Guide Signed by Neal Adams (DC, 1971). This group includes the 1-to-1 scale 1-sided printed cover proof, and the watercolor printer’s color guide. Both are signed by Neal Adams just below the 7″ x 10.25″ image areas. The color guide was created in watercolor over a print of the line art. Both are in Excellent condition and come with a COA stating they were part of the Jack Adler collection.”

This says to me that Adler was the cover’s colorist but I do believe that it was Adams who did the guide, based in part on his comment to me in 2013: “We are surrounding him with red and now making him scary. Yeah, and you look at that dark space in the middle and you go like, ‘F—, what is that?’ You know, it’s not just the sides, you go into the black space there and you get sucked up in there. … It’s amazing how these things relate back to one another. Red is the color. Red, that’s the big one.”

The cover proof

The big one indeed. As great as the illustration is, it’s that shocking red that turns the volume up to 11.

No wonder I had to have it when I saw it on the spinner rack all those years ago.


— BATMAN #237: O’Neil & Adams on the Greatest Halloween Comic Ever. Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1971! Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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