Neal Adams was a titan of comic book art and creator’s rights. He changed up the look and imagery for Batman at a time when the character needed it most. In addition to that, he created some of Batman’s most influential villains and one of DC’s first black superheroes, the Green Lantern Jon Stewart. He died Thursday night of complications from sepsis.

Adams created Ras al Ghul and the Man-Bat, as well as Talia al Ghul. During his run with Batman, he and writer Dennis O’Neil brought realism and darkness back to the Caped Crusader. Whatever version of Batman we have today can be directly traced back to Neal Adams’s version of the character. His new take on Green Lantern with Jon Stewart was revolutionary and progressive when he brought themes to that book that weren’t explored in comics at the time.

He gave Frank Miller and plenty of other fledgling comic creators their first break in the business. His biggest addition to the comic industry might have been his penchant for worker’s rights. He fought for better working conditions and creators’ rights to their creations. He routinely demanded compensation for himself and others when characters were adapted on the page.

His partnership with Stan Lee to create the Academy of Comic Book Arts was the crown jewel in his fight for creators’ rights, giving them a union and a place similar to the Motion Picture Academy. He’s survived by his wife of 45 years, Marilyn, and his three sons Josh, Jason, and Joel.

Join us in celebrating this legendary man, without whom, we likely wouldn’t have all the fantastic depictions of Batman and other characters we do.

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