March 15, 1937|
Midkiff, West Virginia
|Died||May 8, 2013
Early life and career
Dan Adkins was born in Midkiff, West Virginia, where, as a child, he walked three miles to school in a remote area where creeks were crossed with wooden planks on top of rocks. He lived in West Hamlin, West Virginia, and then moved to East Liverpool, Ohio. In 1950, when he was 11 years old, Adkins had a bout with rheumatic fever that left him paralyzed from the waist down for six months, and he began to spend time paging through such comic books as Curley Kayo and Red Ryder. Reading EC Comics a few years later, he closely studied stories illustrated by Reed Crandall, Jack Davis, George Evans, Al Williamson and Wally Wood.
Serving in the Air Force in the mid-1950s, Adkins was a draftsman, later describing the job:
If a change was made to a building on the base, we'd have to update the blueprints. I also drew a lot of electronics stuff, engine corrections, etc. After I got a second stripe as Airman Second Class, I became an illustrator, from about eight months after basic training, for the remaining three years I was in the service. When I got out, I was the equivalent of a staff sergeant. As an illustrator, I had a whole room to myself with equipment to turn out posters to put in front of the base library or movie theatre. We also did a magazine where we'd list all the happenings. We had to spend a certain amount of money per month in order to get the same amount the next month. And I couldn't come up with enough things to spend the money on, so I started a fanzine.
Launched in 1956, that publication was Sata, filled with fantasy illustrations and reproduced on a ditto machine. In Phoenix, Arizona, Adkins met artist-writer Bill Pearson who signed on as Sata's co-editor. In 1959, Pearson became the sole editor of Sata, ending the 13-issue run with several photo-offset issues. Adkins contributed to numerous other fan publications, including Amra, Vega and Xero.
When Adkins moved to New York City, he freelanced illustrations for several science-fiction magazines while working for several commercial studios, including Kram and Chartmaker's. At age 24, he was an art director for Hearst's American Druggist and New Medical Material, as he recalled:
We turned out 92-page biweekly medical journals. We had this big dummy room with all these shelves where we laid out every sheet. You had to order the galleys, what they called thumbnails, which is a block of print that's a photograph. I learned a lot there. I quit after about three months and went into advertising, working for Advertising Super Mart, where I did paste-up mechanicals, then Le Wahl Studios.
Silver Age of comic books
In 1964, during the period comic-book fans and historians call the Silver Age of Comics, Adkins joined the Wally Wood Studio as Wood's assistant. Wood and Adkins collaborated on a series of stories for Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror-comics magazines Creepy and Eerie. Adkins was among the original artists of Wood's T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, for Tower Comics, drawing many Dynamo stories during his 16 months in the Wood Studio.
His work as a penciler and inker appeared in 816 comic books, and he inked over 70 artists in the comics industry. He joined Marvel Comics in 1967 (announced in the "Bullpen Bulletin" of FF #63) and went on to draw 132 covers, in addition to his many pages for Doctor Strange and other Marvel titles. Adkins has worked for a variety of comics publishers, including Charlton Comics, DC Comics (Aquaman, Batman), Dell Comics/Western Publishing, Eclipse Comics, Harvey Comics, Marvel, and Pacific Comics.
In addition to penciling and inking, Adkins has also done cover paintings, including Amazing Stories, Eerie (issue 12) and Famous Monsters of Filmland (issues 42, 44). His magazine illustrations have been published in Argosy (with Wood), Amazing Stories, Fantastic, Galaxy Science Fiction, Infinity, Monster Parade, Science-Fiction Adventures, Spectrum, Worlds of If and other magazines.
Later life and death
- Alverson, Brigid (May 9, 2013). "Silver Age artist Dan Adkins passes away". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "RIP: Dan Adkins passes away". The Beat. May 9, 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- Cooke, Jon, Paul Gulacy and Steve Rude. Comic Book Artist Collection, Volume 3. TwoMorrows, 2005.
- Dan Adkins interview, Alter Ego #8 (Spring 2001)
- Lupoff. Dick. The Best of Xero. Tachyon, 2004.
- Spurlock, J. David. "Rest In Peace Dan Adkins". Retrieved 8 May 2013.