Saluting the birthplace of an artform.
Neal Adams last year opened a public gallery in his New York City studio and it’s a terrific way to see his art up close and, if he’s around, to chat him up. (Click here for info.)
But Adams would like to take that small step and make it a giant leap for comics. Here’s his personal call for a Comic Book District in Midtown Manhattan — Dan:
By NEAL ADAMS
This is a very personal note from Neal Adams to you, the members of a group we sometimes laughingly call an industry.
Sometimes you forget and even I forget to remind us all that we have come a long way. But we do have a responsibility to the future impact our industry has on the world.
Others have come along to make multimillion-dollar movies of our work, they do television shows of our work and I can tell you as a person who has seen his images on the big and small screen that we have all made an impact and we should be proud to say it.
We are changing the popular culture of the world in ways that only the future will be able to describe. Our images are on T-shirts, sheets and pillows cases, toys, sneakers and please, yes, the list is endless. I just gave myself a headache trying to think of all of it.
In the late ’60s, after having been an illustrator, a comic-strip artist, an advertising pre-production artist, I decided this was the business for me, I decided this was the industry for me.
So I began battling for rights. I got the artwork returned to the artists who created it, which was a massive battle that took seven years.
I convinced DC Comics that paying royalties to artists was the right way to go and would benefit the companies to such an extent that it would increase the company’s revenue by the billions. And I was right because any other position is wrong.
Marvel Comics followed DC Comics but only in part. Their program is only one quarter of what DC’s is and yes, that is a sad commentary but there you go. Other smaller and growing companies are much more liberal and make much more sense and are making an impact on the Big Two, which is as it should be.
As you know, I have been in the thick of it for most of my life and the truth of the matter is, I enjoy a good fight when I am on the side of right and fairness.
This is a little different. This is ego and I am not ashamed of it. Ego for myself and for all of you.
And yes, I know you’re busy. Most of us work six or seven days a week and bless you if you can keep it under 10 hours a day. I can’t.
But in the middle of all this, in my studio, in the middle of Manhattan, my family and I have created the Neal Adams Gallery. Let’s correct that. Mostly my family. It’s my stuff that’s in the gallery.
The spark plug and dynamic force behind this is my daughter Kristine. We built a beautiful studio and now it is a beautiful gallery. Pete Stone, Kris’s husband, my wife Marilyn Adams and outside forces such as Dan Hort have contributed to make the gallery a major success and it is an ongoing success. It will be here for many years and yes, it does feed my ego and for that I apologize.
Ask anyone who’s been here…it’s a beautiful gallery. There’s no modern art, super-realists, or anything that is tremendously sophisticated. It’s comic-book art beautifully framed, beautifully displayed, beautifully presented. If you don’t come and see it, you’re crazy. There are over 50 pieces and it’s all comic-book art. Periodically the exhibits change but that’s to be expected.
And that’s not the point of this letter. NYC is losing the Garment District. They don’t even really want the Garment District between 27th Street and 39th Street. Fashion Week is no longer at Bryant Park. It’s up at Lincoln Center.
This area, bordered by “Disney’s 42nd Street,” Midtown Comics, Metropolis Collectibles and our Neal Adams Gallery, should become the Comic Book Center of the World.
I want to see a Marvel Gallery, a DC Gallery, a Jim Lee Gallery, a Frank Miller Gallery, a Jack Kirby Gallery… well, you can see where I’m going with this. Comic-book movies open in Times Square. This could be the Comic Book Center of the World and that’s what I’m proposing.
How about we put our thinking caps on and think about this very, very seriously. This is the most loved artform in the world and you know what? Comic books started in New York, so where should the galleries be?