NEAL ADAMS MONTH: Who’s That Puppet?

An unexpected cameo.

Week 4 books, out 2/24

Week 4 books, out 2/24

It’s NEAL ADAMS MONTH here at 13th Dimension, and we’re featuring daily commentary by Adams on his variant-cover project for DC Comics. Each of his 27 variants is a twist on one of his famous covers from the past. He provided the pencils, and the inks and colors were handled by some of the biggest names in the business like Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons.

For the full NEAL ADAMS MONTH INDEX of stories — click here.

Our previous installment featured The Flash #49, which was based on Superman #317. (Click here.)

In this segment, it’s Teen Titans #17 — out 2/24 — which is based on 1971’s House of Mystery #191. It’s inked by Kevin Nowlan and colored by Jeromy Cox.


I’m gonna just get out of the way here and let Neal explain these covers — and the hidden-in-plain-sight gags:


Neal Adams: This is one of those compositions that I had to talk the editor into because of what was a big empty space. But it’s a good idea because your eye will go right there.

Let me just tell you about covers. Covers, as well as any drawing, any composition, has to do with your ability to direct the viewer’s eye without them knowing it! OK?

There’s a thing they experimented on in the ’60s where they were able to track eyes and they would have people look at paintings and they would track the eyes. I don’t know exactly how they did it. So you’d see a line. It would go around on the painting and the eye starts here and it goes here and goes here and this, this.

I saw the results of this experiment and I realized that you can control the person’s eyes without them knowing it, by the composition. You can control what they read first, where their eye travels. So a lot of the compositions that I did when I was at DC Comics, like with Deadman where I did those very weird compositions, I was experimenting with eye movement.

In here, if you put an eye tracker on your eyes, you will look at him (indicates the top boy) and then you will go to him (the puppet). You won’t go to her. You go from him…to him. OK? Because you’re seeing his eyes pop.


You go right from there, and then you go down, and then you look around because now you want to examine the different toys. You’ve done this and you’ve done this and then you go around. The composition makes you do that! You have no choice! You do it voluntarily. You have no opinion about that choice. So that composition was important that we do this here.

This here…that puppet…is (artist) Sal Amendola.

house of mystery copy

Dan: (Laughs) Then who’s that on the new one?

Neal: Do you know who Sal Amendola is?

Dan: Yes, of course I do.

Neal: The new one is Jim Lee.

TT_Cv17_Neal_Adams_var copy

Dan: Oh, that’s funny. Does Jim Lee know that?

Neal: (Whispers) I don’t know.

Dan: He will now! (Laughs)


NEXT: An all-time favorite…

You can also find more on Neal Adams at his website, here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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