Monday, March 1, 2010

Arthur Adams

Here's an interesting topic. Arthur Adams. I've known Arthur way before I started working in the comic industry. He used to run this comic book store along with someone else in San Francisco called "Ogleos" where I would buy my weekly comics. I remember him working the cash register every so often and when he wasn't ringing me up, he would be drawing in the back room. At the time, I didn't know he was drawing back there. But every time I walked in, he would come out and say Hey. I got to know Arthur outside of comics. Went to Great America amusement park, his home, and saw each other outside of the comic shop.

Then one day at the store, a FedEx guy came to pick up a package. The FedEx guy said, "No drawings on the box this time?". Arthur said "Nope, maybe next time." I asked him, drawings of what? He told me he would doodle drawings on the packages he sends to Marvel. "MARVEL? What do you mean Marvel? Marvel Comics?" Then he explains how he worked for Marvel and draws for them.

I started asking Arthur about the comic book industry. Is it hard to get into? Can people make a living working the comic book industry? How do I even start? What do I need to do? He gave me answer to all my questions. Much later on down the line, I decided to get into comics as an Inker which I asked Arthur about that as well. Not only did he have answers for me, he also gave me photocopies of his pencil work so I can ink over. Using vellum over photocopies, I started practicing on how to ink.
When I was done, I would show these to Arthur and asked him what he thought of it. These were inked way before I worked in comics professionally. Even before my last batch of inking samples that got me work, which I blogged about. The images above and below were stuff that Arthur did for action figures. Anytime Arthur gave me photocopies, I would just ink it regardless of what it was. Didn't matter to me, I just wanted to practice inking. Looking at my inks now, everything looks so crude and rough. No life with the inks.
Not a lot of people have seen these samples besides Arthur. Every time he critiqued my work, he would give me photocopies of some other current projects he worked on. Which I would ink up for more practice. I was very focused and driven on Inking. Arthur was always nice with his critiques. He told me what he like but never said what he didn't like. Instead, he would tellme how he would ink a certain area differently. Very kind, very cool.
These two cover pieces were also inking samples I've done just for Arthur. I've always wanted to work with him and I kept practicing. Looking back at these inking samples, I cringe. So many mistakes. So many line work which I would ink differently if I was inking them today.
Later on down the line, I got work for the major publishers inking other pencillers. I kept working, kept inking, and when I see Arthur at conventions, I would sit with him and chat. We would talk about what we're working on, how he saw my work on a certain comic and how I admired his work on comics he worked on. Then one day, many years later from these inking samples above, Arthur called me up and asked me if I would be interested in inking is pencils on the HULK. I told him, "Hell yeah!"

Below are a couple of pages for the HULK that we've done together. Published stuff!
One of the happiest times of my inking career. Sure, it was a lot of details and it took lots of hours to finishing inking. Long hours where I was able to finish inking one page a day. Still, I didn't complain. I enjoyed ever tiny detail about it. Going to his house to pick up art, meeting up at restaurants to talk comics, me picking his brains so I can get to the point where I can ink him like he inks himself. In fact, by the time we were finishing up the last batch of pages on the Hulk, Arthur gave me the best compliment ever. After looking over the my inks over his pencils, he said to me, "I can't tell if you inked it or if I inked it." I was in heaven.
And that's my story with Arthur Adams. How I know him, how I wanted to work with him, and how I got to work with him professionally. It feels full circle that i got to ink over Arthur's work. Especially since he was there in the beginning to guide me along the way. If given the chance to work with him again, I'll be all over it.


  1. Think that is the ultimate compliment that he could have given you is that he couldn't tell if he inked it or you. That means you had gotten all the subtle things he would do with his pages. I love Art's "art" so when this combination was going to happen, I kind of worried. Not because I doubted your skill, just no one inking Art has ever been able to "ink" Art and make it look like his stuff. Granted, sometimes they haven't been asked to look like art or modify their style.

    Closest I could say was Austin inking him.

    But oh man, that Hulk stuff was good.

    And incredible backstory on Art. I hadn't heard much about his pre-artist days. The Modern Masters talked about him drawing younger and then right into his first gig.

  2. I agree. Arthur looks best when he inks himself. His commission work and recreations are insane good.

    When we were working on HULK, Arthur and I talked about Terry Austin. Terry used to say his hand would hurt because of inking Arthur's detailed work. Arthur would then apologize to me in advance saying it may happen to me. I just laughed. Towards the end of the HULK run, I kinda knew what Austin was talking about. :)

  3. That is an awesome story. Your inks on Hulk were very nice. Arthur is a wonderful guy. It is cool to hear how he continues to make people happy with both his art and his generous nature.


  4. Thanks, Steve. Art Adams is a great guy. One of the nicest and most generous person I know.