Yesterday we began the final countdown of CBR’s All Time Top 100 Writers and Artists, as voted on by members of the CBR Forums. We continue that countdown today as we share with you the #4 artist and writer to make the cut.
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#4 ARTIST: Neal Adams – 363 points (10)
As a young man, Neal Adams first attempted to break into comic books, but found little success. Instead, he turned to the world of comic strips, drawing backgrounds as an assistant on a number of strips before getting his own, “Ben Casey,” which he did for a few years.
In the mid-60s, after some success getting work at Warren Comics, Adams tried with DC Comics again, this time finding work with the Deadman serial in “Adventure Comics,” which quickly got the attention of comic book editors at both DC and Marvel.
His realistic, yet dynamic style of art really broke free of the standard style of art that DC usually used at the time, making Adams’ art seem even more dramatic than it actually was.
Marvel snared Adams next interior assignment, having him draw a run on “X-Men” and “Avengers,” which were both critically acclaimed.
DC then got Adams to do a run on “Green Lantern/Green Arrow” with writer Denny O’Neil that drew acclaim from comic readers, and even outside the comic industry.
Since that run ended in the early ’70s, Adams has rarely done regular comic book work, choosing instead to devote his time to his own company, Continuity Associates, which did commercial artwork. However, Adams continued to supply DC with regular cover work throughout the 70s, providing some of the most striking and gripping covers on the market.
In the ’80s, Adams expanded Continuity to include its own comic line, which Adams did some work for.
Currently, Adams still runs Continuity, as he continues to be a sought-after commercial artist, but he still manages to do a comic book cover here and there with more work to come.
#4 WRITER: Stan Lee – 559 points (19)
Stan Lee (nee Stanley Lieber) made his comic book debut in his late teens, working as an assistant editor for Timely Comics, home to the popular duo of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. When Simon and Kirby left the company over a dispute with publisher Martin Goodman, Lee quickly had to take control of the company, quickly rising to become the Editor-in-Chief and art director of the entire line of comics.
Except for a brief time during World War II, when Lee was in the military, Lee served as the head of Timely (later Atlas, still later Marvel) for the next thirty years.
During the ’50s, when comic sales drooped a bit, Stan Lee (and his brother, Larry Lieber) essentially were writing the entire line of Marvel Comics, from Westerns to Romances to Science Fiction.
When DC began to have success with superheroes again in the late ’50s, Marvel countered in the early ’60s, as Stan Lee, working with his legendary creative counterparts Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, co-created such legendary comic book characters as the Amazing Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men and more.
For the next five years or so, Lee wrote or co-wrote every superhero comic Marvel produced, and the comics became huge successes. In particular, Lee’s dialogue on Amazing Spider-Man has become the stuff that all future writers base their work on.
Eventually, Lee began to back down from the frantic pace he had for the first five years or so of Marvel’s superhero boom, choosing instead to work on deals outside of comics, to promote Marvel Comics.
In the early ’70s, Lee officially resigned as Editor-in-Chief and Art Director of Marvel Comics, as he became the Publisher of Marvel Comics. At this time, he stopped writing the two comics he had held on to as long as he could, “Amazing Spider-Man” and “Fantastic Four.”
During the ’80s, Lee moved to Hollywood, where he pursued film and TV adaptations of Marvel properties.
In the ’90s, Lee created his own company, Stan Lee Media, to develop superhero properties for TV and the internet.
In the early ’00s, Lee did his first work for DC, bringing his own spin to DC’s classic creations.
Recently, Lee formed a new company, POW! (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment, to also develop superhero properties for TV, film, internet and video games.
Even more recently, Stan Lee was in the news for a TV series he did for Sci-Fi Network called “Who Wants to Be A Superhero?,” which was a hit for the Sci-Fi Network and has been granted a second season. Lee will be writing the comic featuring the winner (with artist Will Conrad) for Dark Horse Comics, to be released in November.