CBR TV 2014: Neal Adams Spills "Blood," Puts the "Novel" in Graphic Novel

Prior to a signing and Q&A at Meltdown Comics, legendary comics creator Neal Adams -- bearing custom chocolate bars -- visited the CBR Speakeasy in North Hollywood, CA to speak with Jonah Weiland about his creator-owned series "Blood," the latest developments at Continuity Studios and much more. Adams discusses the first ever 3-D animated comic book cover, what "Blood" represents to him after 50 years in comics and why he chose to start off the story with such an extreme level of violence. He also explains what Continuity Studios learned from animating Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's "Astonishing X-Men" run, as well as how an earlier breakthrough changed animatics forever and gave rise to animated shows like "Archer." Things finish up with a discussion of "relevant" comics, why "Green Lantern/Green Arrow" is so fondly remembered and comments on Chuck Dixon & Paul Rivoche's comments about an author's politics having no place in their fiction, stating, "They can go straight to hell."

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On putting the "novel" in graphic novel: I never like to do what was hasn't been done before. I like to do things that we haven't done before. What haven't we done? We do what we call graphic novels. They're not really graphic novels. Usually they're assemblages of comic books. There's events or whatever, rarely do we do a graphic novel that has a beginning, middle and an end and a story that's worth a novel. So that's what "Blood" is -- and "Batman: Odyssey" that I did for DC Comics -- is a novel. It has a beginning, the story is told and you go through the adventures, and then you come to the end and you hit this big, crashing finale which blows your mind. Now those of you that haven't read "Batman: Odyssey," you got a big shock in store for you, because that's what a novel is and that's what we've done. Not a series of stories where at the end you come and then you go, "Oh, okay. I guess we won." No no no no. [Laughs] You gotta win. It's like a movie, it's like a novel.

On how Continuity Studios revolutionized the business of animatics: We learned a lot of new animation techniques [on "Astonishing X-Men: Gifted"], but in fact we learned them a long time before that. We learned them for advertising agencies. One of the things that has supported our studio for... 30 years... is we are experts in what are called animatics. Animatics are essentially commercials that you make with moving animation of characters. What we did, what my company did, was said "Wait a second. You don't have to animate on film. And you don't have to animate by moving pictures in front of a TV screen or in front of a TV camera. You can transfer them onto a computer and animate them within the computer.

We created that and revolutionized the business of animatics, and revolutionized a lot of things that happen in commercials. When you see commercials, and there are certain shows, that are basically based on animatic work. That detective show, that kind of spy show -- "Archer" is not an animated show, it's an animatic show. And there are a lot of things and commercials on the air that are based on that technology. We created it.

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On the legacy of his "Green Lantern/Green Arrow" run with Denny O'Neil: I think that it's true that they are [some of the most relevant comics ever published] and I think if you read them you'll find that they are. We got a black Green Lantern; we got drug addiction handled in comic books; we attacked political figures; we attacked union towns. We attacked lots of things in those comic books that should be grist for the mill. It may be that we're beginning to catch up, because you know that we're doing -- we're destroying an awful lot of cities and civilizations in comic books now. At a certain point we have to sit back and go, just how many civilizations are we gonna destroy on how many Crisis planets? And how many times are we gonna rebuild New York again after the Avengers, the X-Men, Superman and all the rest of these characters go and half-destroy it? Aren't we gonna have to settle down and do some real stories about real people and real problems? I think that's the case. I think what's gonna happen is we're gonna have to back off a little bit and go, "Well, let's do some real stories about real people." That's going to be needed.

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