STRANGE ADVENTURES #207 December 1967
Neal Adams original artist
Talk about making your big splash in a small pond!! When the young Neal Adams brought his immense talents over to the slowly dying DC Comics, he--as much as our pals Stan, Jack, and Steve a few years earlier--revitalized an entire industry! The slick heightened realism he introduced to the medium left such a searing impression on the readers of the day that soon, every Tom, Dick, and Harry wanted to draw just like him!! Specifically, Tom Grindberg, Dick Buckler, and Harry Wiffenstein (sadly, Harry never quite made it...)!
This cover is an early masterpiece for his signature series, the beloved Deadman. It's also a stunning declaration to the rest of the industry: be forewarned--the bar had just been raised. Significantly. And how did Neal's new colleagues react? Well, squint a little closer at the original comic and maybe you'll grab a clue--y'see, all those folks in the background are actually dead-on caricatures of the folks manning the DC magazine-making-machine in those halcyon days!! Oh, please don't expect me to give you a who's who of that cartooning congregation--there are several other places where that information is available. Besides, when I took my pass at redoing this memorable STRANGE ADVENTURES frontispiece, I quickly realized there'd be no purpose served in attempting to faithfully capture the likenesses of these Productioneers That Time Forgot...

Let's talk about ME for a minute, shall we? After all, can't have enough of THAT here at, now can we? Aping this illustration presented several unique problems. On Neal's original, he no doubt inked the foreground figure of Deadman and the background heads of his co-workers with the same black ink. However, one of those very production demons pictured (and to paraphrase Boston Brand, "Which one?--WHICH ONE!?") opted to print the entire group in a massive light green drop-out, so that they--and not only some of the fellas hairlines--would recede from prominence! A masterful touch, but without the use of color, how ever was I going to approximate the effect? Simple. I used a substantially thinner pen line than the one employed on the distressed deceased. And not to toot my own horn--because, frankly, I don't OWN a horn--but I was always pretty happy about the way this one came out. But before I get too carried away with my own self, credit where credit is due--DAZZLING drawing, Mr. A!! Thanks for letting me borrow it for a bit!!

(Oh, and in an ironic twist of fate, Deadman's killer was indeed amongst those pictured on this cover! He may not've been the Hook character as per the series storyline, but when publisher Carmine Infantino gave the circus corpse HIS hook, it was time to bury the big-top's busiest stiff once and for all!! Them's the breaks.)