Yes, The Neal Adams Interviews is an offshoot of Batman’s Hot-Line, my Batman column. This is where, every Thursday, Adams talks about one of his great Batman covers. But today, the Dark Knight steps aside for the Big Blue Boy Scout — with a startling admission by Adams about one of the most iconic images of Superman ever.
What’s so startling?
He hates it.
I was sitting in Adams’ Manhattan studio for what would ultimately become this series of columns. His daughter, Kris, walked in wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the famed Superman-breaking-the-Kryptonite-chains. I pointed it out and she nodded toward Adams and told me to ask him what he thought of the pic.
I played along: “Superman 233. Do you like that cover?”
“I hate it,” he said, throwing me for a bit of a loop. After all, that image has been not only on shirts but just about anything else you can think of, including, most recently, Canadian postage stamps.
I didn’t believe him. But he insisted.
“It took me two and a half hours to do it. It was a piece of crap,” he sneered.
“It’s iconic,” I replied, fairly incredulous.
“Never ask an artist because it was, because they threw it at me — it was a piece of junk,” he countered, his voice rising at the memory. “It was just Superman standing there breaking chains. … I have spent hours and hours on covers for some of them to be ignored. I spent two and half hours on that cover and everyone in the world loves it. It’s incredible.”
“But isn’t that gratifying?” I persisted.
“Not if I don’t like it. It’s a piece of s—. I’m sorry. Don’t you find something that you really worked hard on and you really bust your ass on it and you do it and people go “uh huh,” and then you do one that practically writes itself and people go ‘This is great.’ Was I awake last night when I did this? It’s really a piece of crap.
“Well, that’s the problem. You never ask the artist what it is that he likes because it’s always wrong. He’s the worst judge of what he does.”
Sorry, Neal. Had to tell.
NEXT: Batman #237. Click here.