NEAL ADAMS Recalls a Classic DEADMAN Cover

NEAL ADAMS’ DEADMAN TALES kicks off with Strange Adventures #207…

Neal Adams’ latest project is a Deadman miniseries launching Nov. 1. In tandem with that, we’re running NEAL ADAMS’ DEADMAN TALES, a recurring interview series featuring the artist’s views on his work with DC’s ghostly avenger, yesterday and today.

For the complete NEAL ADAMS’ DEADMAN TALES Index of stories, click here.

Where else to start this series of interviews than at the beginning?

Deadman debuted in Strange Adventures #205, cover-dated Oct. 1967. He was created by writer Arnold Drake and artist Carmine Infantino, yet they produced only the first story. Drake was still around the next issue, with Adams joining on pencils.

On the left: Carmine Infantino pencils from an Arnold Drake layout (!). George Roussos inks. On the right: Mike Sekowsky pencils, Roussos inks.

However, Adams didn’t take over the covers until Strange Adventures #207 — and it was an instant classic, one that endures 50 years later.

Many of the floating heads behind Boston Brand are members of DC’s production department whose names are lost to the mists of time. (If you recognize anyone, let us know!) Others are made up.

Here’s Adams:

“Most people in comics had forgotten to do dropouts or if they knew how to do them they didn’t say anything at the time. Mostly because they didn’t want the artist to know too much so they wouldn’t make extra work for the production room.

“I, unfortunately for the production room, knew how to do dropouts, that it wasn’t complicated. It was really a very simple process and so I decided to do the first cover of Deadman as a dropout of the background, in an olive green, and then, of course, laying another, lighter green over it.

“What I did with the cover, of course, is I put in a whole bunch of faces, but for people who are interested, all those faces are somebody. Well, most all of them are somebody. They’re people who worked at DC Comics…

“To the left of Deadman is Ira Schnapp, probably the best letterer on Earth at the time. Next to him is Jay Scott Pike, a romance artist, other than that a really terrific artist, then there are a couple of small heads and then just below that is Jack Adler, who is probably the best person in production and the person who executed this cover.

“And the guy to the right of Deadman’s knee is actually the Hook. Shh! It was a big secret…. And some of these people I made up. Just above Deadman’s left shoulder is (colorist) Jerry Serpe, who worked in the production room.”

Adams went back to this classic last year during DC’s Neal Adams Month of variant covers (click here for more on that). He recast Deathstroke in the Deadman role and the heads were instead some of DC’s most important creators and execs:


Top line: Bob Haney, E. Nelson Bridwell, Jenette Kahn, Joe Orlando, Joe Kubert, Marv Wolfman

Second line: Dan DiDio, Paul Levitz, Deathstroke, Julius Schwartz

Third line: Bob Kane, Jim Lee, Jack Adler

Fourth line: Len Wein, Dick Giordano, Carmine Infantino, Jerry Siegel

Bottom line: Archie Goodwin, Karen Berger, Denny O’Neil, Joe Shuster.

NEXT: Strange Adventures #208. Click here.

For the complete NEAL ADAMS’ DEADMAN TALES Index of stories, click here.

BONUS! NEAL ADAMS MONTH Index: Adams and some of comics’ biggest stars analyze dozens of his greatest covers. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Introducing … NEAL ADAMS’ DEADMAN TALES | 13th Dimension, Comics, Creators, Culture - […] — ADAMS Recalls a Classic Cover: STRANGE ADVENTURES #207. Click here. […]
  2. NEAL ADAMS’ DEADMAN TALES: Strange Adventures #208 | 13th Dimension, Comics, Creators, Culture - […] Strange Adventures #207 was marked by the haunting image of dozens of disembodied heads (click here), Adams’ follow-up is…

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