Arthur Adams (comics)
- For other people named Arthur Adams, see the Arthur Adams disambiguation page
April 5, 1963 |
|Area(s)||Writer, Penciller, Inker|
Russ Manning Award
1988 Gumby Summer Fun Special – Best Single Issue
Arthur "Art" Adams (born April 5, 1963) is an American comic book artist and writer. He first broke into the American comic book industry with the 1985 Marvel Comics miniseries Longshot. His subsequent interior comics work includes a number of Marvel's major books, including The Uncanny X-Men, Excalibur, X-Factor, Fantastic Four, Hulk and Ultimate X, as well books by various other publishers, such as Action Comics, Vampirella, The Rocketeer and The Authority. Adams has also illustrated books featuring characters for which he has a personal love, such as Godzilla, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Gumby, the latter of which garnered him a 1988 Eisner Award for Best Single Issue.
In 1994, Adams joined a group of creators that included Frank Miller, John Byrne and Mike Mignola to form Legend, an imprint of creator-owned comics published by Dark Horse Comics, through which Adams published Monkeyman and O'Brien, a science fiction adventure series featuring archetypal sci-fi monsters that Adams wrote and illustrated. Although the Legend imprint ceased in 1998, Monkeyman and O'Brien continued to appear in print, sometimes in crossover stories with other comics characters, such as Gen¹³/Monkeyman and O'Brien (1998), and Savage Dragon #41 (September 1997).
Because of his reputedly tight, labor-intensive penciling style, which was initially influenced by Michael Golden and Walter Simonson, and his admittedly slow pace, Adams does not work as the regular artist on long-running monthly series, but usually provides artwork for short storylines, one-shots, miniseries or contributions to anthologies, such as his 2002–2004 work on "Jonni Future", a pulp science fiction series he co-created with Steve Moore for the Wildstorm Productions anthology Tom Strong's Terrific Tales, and his 2008 work on Hulk #7 - 9. His other published work consists of cover work for books such as Avengers Classic, Wonder Woman and JLA, as well as pinups and other spot illustrations for books such as Sin City, The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and his own published sketchbook series, Arthur Adams Sketchbook. He has done design work for toys and video games, and miniature busts have been produced based on his renditions of notable characters. He is one of the most popular and widely imitated artists in the comics industry, whose drawing style has been credited as an influence upon the artists associated with the founding and early days of Image Comics such as J. Scott Campbell.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Technique and materials
- 4 Influence
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Awards
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Arthur Adams was born on April 5, 1963 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. His father was a loadmaster in the United States Air Force, and as a result, Adams frequently moved with his parents and four younger brothers to places that included West Virginia. When Adams was five years old, the family settled in Vacaville, California, near Travis Air Force Base. Adams' first exposure to superhero and monster comics came through the ones his mother would buy for him once a month at a thrift store. His enthusiasm for superhero stories by particular creators began when his father returned from an overseas trip with the first Marvel Treasury Grab-Bag, which included stories by Ross Andru, Wally Wood, and Gene Colan. He particularly liked Marvel Comics for their stories with monster-like characters like the Thing, the Hulk and Man-Thing. He became interested in dinosaurs and monsters like King Kong after watching Creature Features on TV every Saturday, and Universal Monster movies such as Frankenstein and Creature from the Black Lagoon. He also enjoyed superhero and science fiction programming, such as Super Friends, the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon and Star Trek. Adams enjoyed drawing frequently in his youth, as far back as he could remember. He discovered the work of Frank Frazetta when he was 13 or 14, which was a "huge" early influence on him, and attempted to mimic his style using watercolor. Adams did not consider illustration as a profession, however, as he aspired to be a paleontologist. His interest in professional paleontology waned, however, when he realized that the extreme climates of the environments in which he would be required to work were not appealing to him.
Adams first thought about drawing comics professionally while in high school, when he bought Marvel Comics' Micronauts #1, which was illustrated by Michael Golden, the first artist Adams noticed significantly. Adams would subsequently seek out work by other artists, and names as influences Barry Windsor-Smith, Mike Kaluta, Bernie Wrightson and Terry Austin. Adams also cites Bill Sienkiewicz's "Moon Knight" work in The Hulk! magazine and in particular Walter Simonson's work on The Uncanny X-Men and The New Teen Titans, which Adams saw as "the bible of how to draw comics", and "the perfect example of how to do a team book." Simonson and his wife, Louise Simonson, became close friends and collaborators with Adams, and Louise would later edit Adams' breakthrough project, Longshot. Adams names Simonson and Golden as his two largest artistic influences. Adams also says he was influenced by Jack Kirby after he became a professional artist. In a 1997 interview, Adams responded to the observation that fans had noticed a manga influence in his work by stating that he had likely been influenced by Masamune Shirou. Aside from books on drawing human anatomy, Adams' only formal education in illustration was learning newspaper strip-type drawing in his freshman year of high school from Mr. Vandenberg, a teacher who stressed the importance of clear storytelling and perspective. After a female classmate Adams was attracted to talked him into joining the acting club, Adams also considered becoming an actor, eventually doing community theater for two years. He quit acting when he turned 19, in order to concentrate on drawing.
Adams' first published work was a Farrah Foxette pinup that he copied from Farrah Fawcett's iconic 1976 swimsuit poster, which he submitted to the letters page of the DC Comics series Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! That series' editor, Roy Thomas, paid Adams $10 to publish the piece as a fan pinup.
Adams initially created a portfolio of pinups and monster splash pages, and added story sequences when he began attending comic book conventions at age 17, including a Creation Convention in San Francisco, where he received career advice from Steve Leialoha and Chris Claremont, and also met another aspiring illustrator, Mike Mignola (with whom he became friends, and later, business partners). Because of the popularity of the X-Men, he included a Wolverine story in his portfolio, although he was only a casual fan of the X-Men himself. He would later become closely associated with the X-Men in his early career. After showing his portfolio to editor Bob Schreck at a Creation Convention, he gained permission to set up a table, doing drawings for fans for $5 – $10. His early convention appearances led to a meeting with a collaborator who asked him to illustrate some horror material for a comic book magazine, but the work, which Adams deems as poor, was never published. He began submitting samples to Marvel Comics when he was 18, taking a job at a pizzeria after graduating high school.
In 1982 he was given an unpaid job illustrating "One-Eyed Jack", a story that was self-published in High Energy #1.
Adams' first professional job came about after he met Joe Rubinstein at a Creation Convention. Rubinstein took Adams' samples to Marvel editors Dennis O'Neil and Linda Grant, who in 1983 offered Adams the chance to write and draw "The Return of Richard Buzznick", a short story for the black and white anthology Bizarre Adventures. Though Adams completed the story, the series was canceled before his story was published, and Adams returned to submitting samples while working at the pizzeria. Adams later dismissed the story as poorly drawn. He also drew "Away Off There Amid The Softly Winking Lights", a story in the 1984 Pacific Comics anthology Three Dimensional Alien Worlds.
Longshot and X-Men
Al Milgrom, who was ending his career as a Marvel editor to go freelance, found Adams' samples as he was cleaning out his office for its future occupant, editor Carl Potts. Potts and his assistant editor, Ann Nocenti, sent Adams a Defenders script, from which Adams did layouts of 10 to 15 pages. Adams stated that while his action scenes were not rendered very well, the editors praised his casual, character-based scenes. Nocenti described to Adams the concept for a miniseries she was writing, Longshot, which had been turned down by every other artist she offered it to. Adams, now a couple of months before his twentieth birthday, did a series of preliminary design drawings, basing the main character's appearance and hairstyle on that of singer Limahl, and the female lead, Ricochet Rita, on Nocenti herself. The series was freelance-edited by Louise Simonson, and without a firm schedule, which provided Adams the time he needed to complete it. This was due in part to his problems with perspective and other things he was not accustomed to drawing, such as windmills, babies and people smiling, and in part because he had to redraw the first half of it, as Ann Nocenti's story was so dense that the pages featured up to 20 panels. As a result, Adams took eight months to draw the first issue. This problem was addressed by editor Elliot Brown, who showed Adams how to compose panels depicting multiple actions. Simonson would later introduce Adams to Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter, who furthered Adams' understanding of storytelling clarity by sitting down with him and showing him the panel-to-panel structure in an old Marvel book. He would take two years to draw all six issues of the miniseries. Longshot #1 was published with a cover date of September 1985. Reviewing the first issue for Amazing Heroes, R.A. Jones, who criticized the writing, stating:
"Longshot does have one major saving grace, and that is the penciling of Arthur Adams. I'm going to once again go out on my prophetic limb and predict that Art will soon become a fan favorite. He has a dynamic style that grabs your attention and won't let go. To be sure, he exhibits some of the weaknesses of any young artist, the occasional awkward pose or crude drawing--but as a first effort this is incredibly impressive. In fact, this limited series should be worth buying simply to watch the progress Adams makes from issue to issue.
Nocenti's position as editor on the X-Men books led to Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont's discovery of Adams' work, and in turn to Adams' frequent association with that franchise during the 1980s, which began with New Mutants Special Edition #1 and Uncanny X-Men Annual #9, which were part of the "Asgardian Wars" storyline, and which Adams illustrated before Longshot #1 was published. Nocenti also asked Adams to produce a cover for Heroes for Hope, a 1985 book intended to benefit famine relief in Africa, which was written and illustrated by dozens of creators, including writers Harlan Ellison and Stephen King, and artists John Byrne, Charles Vess and Bernie Wrightson. Nocenti asked Adams to pattern the cover after Paul Smith's 1983 cover of Uncanny X-Men #173, whose focus was Wolverine charging the viewer. This in turn led to Bob Budiansky, who was in charge of producing Marvel's posters, asking Adams to produce a Wolverine poster with the same type of pose. The image, inked by Terry Austin, became not only a bestselling poster, but an iconic life-size standee for comics shops, and led to two other posters by Adams, a 1987 X-Men poster featuring most of the characters that had ever been a member of that team, and "Mutants", a modification of Adams' 1988 Marvel Age Annual #4 cover that featured most of the characters appearing in all the X-Men-related books at the time, also with a charging Wolverine in the center. By 1986, Adams' professional career had been cemented, and he moved out of his parents' home and into an Oakland, California apartment that he shared with Mike Mignola and Steve Purcell. Adams and Nocenti reunited for a story in Web of Spider-Man Annual #2 (1986) in which Warlock of the New Mutants encountered Spider-Man.
His work on the X-Men franchise would continue with a number of covers for The New Mutants and The Uncanny X-Men in 1986 and 1987, respectively. He also drew all but three of the first 23 covers and interior frontispieces to Classic X-Men from 1986 to 1988. His interior X-Men-related work included a two-issue run on X-Factor and the one-shot Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem, both in 1989, and three Uncanny X-Men Annuals, in 1986, 1988 and 1990. It was in drawing the 1988 annual that Adams says he felt like a professional comic book artist for the first time, as he first felt confident that he knew what he was doing.
Diversification and experimentation
Adams did work for publishers other than Marvel during the 1980s, as when he drew several pages of Batman #400 in 1986 and Action Comics Annual #1 in 1987. The latter is viewed as a turning point in Adam's drawing style, characterized by bulkier figures of Batman and Superman, though Adams explains that this was in part due to the influence of The Dark Knight Returns, and that the overall change in art was style partly due to deliberate experimentation on his part, and partly to Dick Giordano's inking, which exhibited a different line weight. That same year, he illustrated Gumby Summer Fun Special #1 by Comico Comics, a job he obtained through Comico editor Diana Schutz, an old friend who noticed the incidental images of Gumby that Adams had included in the pages of Longshot. Adams, who did not harbor fond memories of that cartoon as a child, and who feared he would be typecast as a Gumby artist if he took the job, told Schultz he would only do it if she could get Bob Burden to write it, on the assumption that Schultz would decline this condition. Schultz, who initially wanted Mark Evanier for the job, considered this, and eventually agreed to it after contacting Burden, who was enthusiastic about the idea. That book, which demonstrated Adams' versatility in handling comedy as well as superheroics, garnered him and Burden a 1988 Eisner Award for Best Single Issue. Adams would later illustrate a second Gumby book, Gumby's Winter Fun Special, which was written by Steve Purcell.
Adams was one of 54 artists profiled in Ron Goulart's 1989 book, The Great Comic Book Artists, Volume 2, whose front and back covers Adams illustrated.
1990s monster and creator-owned work
Adams' 1990s Marvel work included a 1990 three-issue run on Fantastic Four, in which the Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Ghost Rider formed a replacement Fantastic Four after being falsely informed that three of the original Fantastic Four had been murdered. The story allowed Adams the opportunity to draw a number of various monsters and other characters, such as the classic FF foe, Mole Man, the Moloids and the Skrulls, and is cited by Adams as one of his favorite works. It was later referenced by late night talk show host Conan O'Brien in a "Fan Corrections" segment in a 2012 episode of Conan. Adams did more work for the X-Men franchise, such as the 1997 intercompany crossover one-shot Gen¹³/Generation X. His 1990s Marvel work also included providing designs for a line of Hulk action figures.
Adams became acquainted with Randy Stradley and other staff members of Dark Horse Comics, after which he illustrated a number of their books featuring the classic Universal Monsters he loved in his youth. His first Godzilla work was Godzilla Color Special #1 in 1992. For that story Adams created an organization called G-Force, which he designed to be a Japanese version of the Fantastic Four, and in the story, had that group mention that they had fought the Shrewmanoid, a villain Adams later created for Monkeyman & O'Brien. Toho, the production company that produces the Godzilla films, would later introduce a version of that team in the 1993 film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II. A book on the making of that film features a cover illustration of Godzilla that was copied from the Color Special, which amused Adams. Adams would follow these with other Godzilla works, such as "King Kong vs. Godzilla", a story that appeared in the anthology Urban Legends #1 that is notable for being the only work of his to date that he wrote, penciled, inked and lettered, and "Tramplin' Tokyo", an Alan Moore story he drew for Negative Burn #18 (December 1994). In 1995 he drew Godzilla vs. Hero Zero, and wrote issues 5 - 8 of Target: Godzilla! When Adams learned that Dark Horse would acquire the rights to the Universal Monsters, Adams lobbied to them to illustrate a comics sequel to the 1954 film Creature from the Black Lagoon, but Dark Horse wanted to produce an adaptation of the film first, and told Adams that if he illustrated that, that he would be able to illustrate a future sequel. The 50-page adaptation was published in 1993, but the line's low sales cost Dark Horse money, and it was cancelled after four books, precluding the sequel that Adams wanted to draw.
In the early 1990s, Adams and Mignola were contacted by Erik Larsen, who invited them to produce books of their own creation for Image Comics, which Larsen and a group of other artists formed to publish creator-owned books. Adams had never before considered producing his own original material, as he preferred to illustrate the properties he enjoyed as a child. However, his talks with Larsen convinced him to create Monkeyman and O'Brien, a duo similar in concept to Angel and the Ape. The stories star San Francisco native Ann Darrow O'Brien, whose name is a tribute to Fay Wray's character from King Kong and that film's special effects creator Willis O'Brien, and Axewell Tiberius, a super-intelligent gorilla man from another dimension. The duo finds itself embroiled in a variety of adventures typical of classic B-movies, often featuring the type of movie monsters Adams is fond of, such as the subterranean Shrewmanoid and the extraterrestrial Froglodytes. Despite the offer from Image, Adams and Mignola (the latter of whom created Hellboy, which had been rejected by DC Comics), took their ideas to Dark Horse, for whom Adams had already done work, as it would allow them to collaborate with creators they admired, such as Frank Miller and John Byrne. Together with Paul Chadwick, Mike Allred, Dave Gibbons, and Geof Darrow, the creators formed Legend, a creator-owned imprint of Dark Horse. After an initial 1993 appearance in San Diego Comic Con Comics #2, Monkeyman and O'Brien appeared in installments in Dark Horse Presents #80 in 1993 and Dark Horse Insider #27 in 1994. The duo's first appearance under the Legend imprint was an ongoing backup story in Mike Mignola's 1994 Hellboy: Seed of Destruction miniseries. They would eventually graduate to their own self-titled miniseries in 1996. When first producing the series, Adams had on hand the Marvel Monsterworks reprint of the Atlas Comics monster stories "Where Monsters Dwell" and "Creatures on the Loose" for inspiration. Although the Legend imprint ceased in 1998, Monkeyman and O'Brien continued to appear in print, sometimes in crossover stories with other comics characters, as in Savage Dragon #41 (September 1997) by Erik Larsen, and Gen¹³/MonkeyMan and O'Brien (1998), both published by Image Comics, the latter of which Adams wrote and drew for Wildstorm Productions.
In 1996 Dark Horse Comics published Art Adams' Creature Features, a collection of Adams' previously published stories that paid tribute to various B-movie monsters, some of which had originally been published in black and white, but which were colored for the collection. They included Adams' Creature from the Black Lagoon, two of his Godzilla stories, and the "Trapped In The Lair of the Shrewmanoid" story from Dark Horse Insider #27. The collection featured an introduction by Geoff Darrow.
1999 – present
In 1999, Adams returned to Wildstorm to draw an eight-page flashback sequence in issue #4 of Alan Moore's series, Tom Strong, which was published under Moore's brand for Wildstorm, America's Best Comics. His subsequent Wildstorm work would include Danger Girl Special #1 (2000) and two issues of The Authority in 2002, significant portions of which Adams was asked by DC Comics to redraw in order to de-emphasize the violence, in light of the September 11 attacks, much to Adams' frustration. That same year, Adams and writer Steve Moore co-created "Jonni Future", a pastiche of a pulp science fiction series such as Adam Strange and Barbarella, which was published in eight-page installments in the America's Best Comics anthology Tom Strong's Terrific Tales, the first ten issues of which Adams penciled from 2002 to 2004. Adams work on "Jonni Future" has been characterized as exhibiting a romantic influence, with greater amounts realism and fine hatching, which Adams refers to as "noodling". Adams says he was inspired by sources such as Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri, Warren Publishing's Vampirella, and the character designs in Capcom video game character books when he drew "Jonni Future", and refrained from using straight edges or templates in order to achieve a more elegant, hand-drawn appearance. He regards "Jonni Future" as his best work.
Throughout the 2000s, Adams provided cover images for various DC Comics, such as Superman, Batman and JLA: Scary Monsters, as well as for books by various other publishers, such as Vampirella, Red Sonja, Jurassic Park, Madman Adventures, Thundercats, Xena: Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Adams' 2000s Marvel cover work include Generation X #67 - 72 in 2000 and 2001, and Incredible Hercules #113 - 115 in 2008, as well for three of its collected editions. His 2000s interior comics work includes Superman/Batman #26 (2006), an issue dedicated to writer Jeph Loeb's late son, Sam, to which dozens of writers and artists contributed. In 2008 he illustrated a Red Hulk story in King-Size Hulk #1, and later illustrated a Hulk/Wendigo story that appeared in 11-page installments Hulk #7 - 9, as well as those issues' covers. In 2010 he illustrated Ultimate X #1-5, his first work for the Ultimate Marvel line of comic books.
On November 30, 2011, Gumby Comics/Wildcard Ink published a single volume collecting Adams' previous two specials featuring Gumby. The book was initially called Gumby's Arthur Adams Specials, but was eventually published with a sticker covering Adams' name on the cover, effectively renaming the book Gumby's Spring Specials. According to Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool, this was done on Adams' request, who wanted nothing to do with the publisher, and took action to keep his name off the book's cover. The book is nonetheless sold by merchants such as Mile High Comics under its originally intended name.
Outside the field of comics, Adams has also provided illustrations for various magazines, such as PlayStation Magazine, as well as toy designs, video games, and X-Men-themed cans of Chef Boyardee pasta. In 2016 he provided the illustration for a satirical piece in GQ magazine that imagined a number of controversial public figures as comic book supervillains, including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Sepp Blatter, Martin Shkreli and Kris Jenner. Later that year, Dynamite Entertainment announced it that would be producing limited edition poly-resin busts of female characters for its Women of Dynamite line, based on Adams' renditions of those characters and sculpted by Jason Smith. The first bust was a Red Sonja bust debuting in November, followed by a Vampirella bust in February 2017.
Though his work for Marvel takes priority for him, he also makes a significant amount of his income from private commissions, which he produces when time permits.
Technique and materials
Adams' art style is noted for its high level of detail, and he has a reputation of being a "tight" penciller. He states that he works at a slow pace, which limits the amount of work he does. When he penciled Fantastic Four #347 - 349 in 1990 for regular writer/illustrator Walter Simonson, who needed a break in order to catch up on his own work on that title, Adams managed to pencil the first two issues in five weeks and four weeks, respectively, but was considerably late on the third. In 1997 Adams stated that he could produce a page of either pencils or inks in a day. In a 2007 interview, he stated he tends to produce 2/3 to 3/4 of a page a day, and can also ink at that rate, but can do up to two pages in a day if he is under pressure, as when he produced Cloak and Dagger #9 (1986) in 22 days, for example. Another example is the 1989 one-shot Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem, which due to changing deadlines, he completed at a quicker pace. Adams singles out one page of that book that he drew a half-hour as his personal record for speed, but decries its poor quality. Adams is also noted for the humor in his work, as with, for example, the extraneous characters he places in cameo appearances in the backgrounds of his comics, as when he drew Gumby in the panels of Longshot, or the forms in which he depicted the shapeshifting alien Warlock in his The New Mutants work.
Adams prefers to work from a plot rather than from a full script, a result of Ann Nocenti's dense Longshot scripts, though he has worked from a full script, as with his work on Three Dimensional Alien Worlds for Pacific Comics and The Authority. Though he says he prefers group books because they more easily allow him to hide his "bad layout skills", he is nonetheless comfortable with solo character books. He begins drawing thumbnail layouts from the story he is given, either at home or in a public place. The thumbnails range in size from 2 inches x 3 inches to half the size of the printed comic book. He or an assistant will then enlarge the thumbnails and trace them onto illustration board with a non-photo blue pencil, sometimes using a Prismacolor light blue pencil, because it is not too waxy, and erases easily. When working on the final illustration board, he does so on a large drawing board when in his basement studio, and a lapboard when sitting on his living room couch. After tracing the thumbnails, he will then clarify details with another light blue pencil, and finalize the details with a Number 2 pencil. He drew the first three chapters of "Jonni Future" at twice the printed comic size, and also drew the fifth chapter, "The Garden of the Sklin", at a size larger than standard, in order to render more detail than usual in those stories. For a large poster image with a multitude of characters, he will go over the figure outlines with a marker in order to emphasize them. He will use photographic reference when appropriate, as when he draws things that he is not accustomed to.
In the early part of his career, Adams' pencils were embellished by inkers such as Whilce Portacio, Dick Giordano and Terry Austin. When Adams attempted to ink his own work before becoming a professional, he initially used a Croquille pen, but after meeting Mike Mignola, he was spurred to switch to a brush, which he used for approximately a year before returning to a Croquille. He eventually began to ink his own work, which he prefers to do. Beginning in the late 1990s, he began using the Staedtler Pigment Liner, a felt-tip pen. He prefers pens to brushes because pens feel "looser", and cited this as his reason for using felt-tip pens when he inked "Jonni Future".
Although Adams has experimented with painting with watercolor and oil paints (his 1989 covers for Appleseed were rendered with a combination of ink, watercolor and color pencil), his color work is so sporadic that he says he has to relearn what he has forgotten in the interim each time, and is usually dissatisfied with the results. Because a significant portion of his income is derived from selling his original artwork, he is reluctant to learn how to produce his work digitally.
Adams is one of the most popular and widely imitated artists in the American comics industry. Adams' style is attributed as a direct influence on the artists who would found Image Comics, and the other popular artists of the 1990s associated with that era, such a Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld. Timothy Callahan of Comic Book Resources points to the use of dynamic action poses, idealized figures, costume designs featuring numerous accessories, a preference for copious crosshatching over brushwork in rendering, and the depiction of cybernetic limbs and other reflective surfaces seen in those artists' styles as being derived from Adams work, in particular his run on Longshot. Callahan also points out that the detailed webbing for which Todd McFarlane became known during his run on Spider-Man had previously been used by Adams on the cover of Longshot #4. Though Callahan notes that Adams did not necessarily originate these elements, but was influenced himself by Michael Golden and Micronauts, he states that Adams popularized them. Noting also that Adams' Longshot pencils were inked by Whilce Portacio and an uncredited Scott Williams, Callahan refers to that book as "early Image, in primal form". Artists who have named Adams as an influence include J. Scott Campbell, Aaron Kuder and Shelby Robertson.
Adams is married to Joyce Chin, a comics artist who has inked a number of his cover pencils. Adams has also inked Chin's pencils, as on Xena: Warrior Princess #4 (January 2000). As of 1997 they lived in Portland, Oregon, but as of 2001 they and their children live in San Francisco, California. Regarding religion, Adams has stated that he does not believe in "any particular god". His favorite Godzilla film is Godzilla vs. The Thing, and his other favorites include Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and Monster Zero.
- 1986 Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award
- 1988 Eisner Award for Best Single Issue (with Bob Burden for Gumby Summer Fun Special #1)
- Three Dimensional Alien Worlds: "Away Off There Amid the Softly Winking Lights" (with Bruce Jones, one-shot, Pacific Comics, 1984)
- Longshot #1-6 (with Ann Nocenti, Marvel, 1985)
- New Mutants Special Edition #1: "Home is Where the Heart is" (with Chris Claremont, Marvel, 1985)
- Uncanny X-Men Annual #9-10, 12, 14 (with Chris Claremont, Marvel, 1985–1990)
- Batman #400: "Resurrection Night!" (with Doug Moench, among other artists, DC Comics, 1986)
- Cloak and Dagger #9: "The Lady and the Unicorn" (with Bill Mantlo, Marvel, 1986)
- Web of Spider-Man Annual #2: "Wake Me Up I Gotta Be Dreaming" (with Ann Nocenti, Marvel, 1986)
- Action Comics Annual #1: "Skeeter" (with John Byrne, DC Comics, 1987)
- Gumby's Summer Fun Special: "Summer Fun Adventure" (with Bob Burden, one-shot, Comico, 1987)
- Gumby's Winter Fun Special: "Winter Fun Adventure" (with Steve Purcell, one-shot, Comico, 1988)
- Wonder Woman Annual #1: "Chapter 1: The Diving Bird" (with George Pérez, DC Comics, 1988)
- X-Factor #41-42 (with Louise Simonson, Marvel, 1989)
- Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem (with Chris Claremont, one-shot, Marvel, 1989)
- Fantastic Four #347-349 (with Walter Simonson, Marvel, 1990–1991)
- Marvel Holiday Special #1 (Marvel, 1991)
- Armageddon: Inferno #1, 3-4 (with John Ostrander, DC Comics, 1992)
- Godzilla Color Special: "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" (with Randy Stradley, one-shot, Dark Horse, 1992)
- Creepy 1993 Fearbook: "Bugs" (with Kurt Busiek, Harris Comics, 1993)
- Urban Legends: "King Kong vs. Godzilla" (one-shot, Dark Horse, 1993)
- Universal Monsters: Creature from the Black Lagoon (with Steve Moncuse, one-shot, Dark Horse, 1993)
- Monkeyman and O'Brien (Dark Horse, 1993–1999):
- The Big Book of Urban Legends: "The Spider in the Hairdo" (with Robert Boyd, Jan Harold Brunvald and Robert Loren Fleming, Paradox Press, 1994)
- Negative Burn #18: "Alan Moore's Songbook: Trampling Tokyo" (with Alan Moore, Caliber Press, 1994)
- Asylum #1: "Warchild" (with Eric Stephenson, Extreme Comics, 1995)
- Aliens: Havoc #1 (with Mark Schultz, among other artists, Dark Horse, 1997)
- Gen¹³ (Wildstorm, 1997–1998):
- Starship Troopers #1-2 (with Bruce Jones and Mitch Byrd, Dark Horse, 1997)
- Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page Giant #2: "The Great Unknown!" (with Karl Kesel, DC Comics, 1998)
- Danger Girl Special: "Delusions of Grandeur" (with J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell, Cliffhanger, 2000)
- Superman #165: "Help!" (with Jeph Loeb, DC Comics, 2001)
- Orion #10, 12: "Legends of Apokolips" (with Walter Simonson, DC Comics, 2001)
- The Authority #27-28: "Brave New World, Parts Two and Three" (with Mark Millar and Grant Morrison (uncredited), Wildstorm, 2002)
- Tom Strong's Terrific Tales #1-4, 6-10: "Jonni Future" (with Steve Moore, America's Best Comics, 2002–2004)
- The Many Worlds of Tesla Strong (with Alan Moore and Peter K. Hogan, among other artists, one-shot, Wildstorm, 2003)
- Action Comics Annual #10 : "The Many Deaths of Superman" (DC Comics, 2007)
- Countdown to Final Crisis #14: "The Origin of Gorilla Grodd" (with Scott Beatty, co-feature, DC Comics, 2008)
- King-Size Hulk: "Where Monsters Dwell" (with Jeph Loeb, Marvel, 2008)
- Hulk #7-9 (with Jeph Loeb, Marvel, 2008)
- Ultimate Comics: X #1-5 (with Jeph Loeb, Marvel, 2010–2011)
- AvX: VS #6 (with Jeph Loeb, Marvel, 2012, pg 18)
- All-New X-Men #25 (Marvel, 2014)
- Marvel Fanfare #13 (Marvel Comics, 1984)
- Marvel Team-Up #141 (Marvel, 1984)
- Micronauts: The New Voyages #2 (Marvel, 1984)
- The Defenders #142 (Marvel, 1985)
- The New Mutants #38-39 (Marvel, 1986)
- Firestar #3 (Marvel, 1986)
- Classic X-Men #1-23 (Marvel, 1986–1988)
- Daredevil #238-239 (Marvel, 1987)
- Uncanny X-Men #214, 218 (Marvel, 1987)
- The Spectre Annual #1 (DC Comics, 1988)
- Marvel Age Annual #4 (Marvel, 1988)
- The Last of the Viking Heroes #7 (Genesis West Comics], 1989)
- Tommy and the Monsters #1 (New Comics Group, 1989)
- Appleseed Book Two #1-5 (Eclipse Comics, 1989)
- The Impossible Man Summer Vacation Spectacular (Marvel, 1990)
- Marvel Super-Heroes #6 (1991)
- Conan the Barbarian #247-249 (Marvel, 1991)
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Ann Nocenti wanted to introduce a character who was a clean slate. One with no history, no past, and no prejudices. A man without a memory. With Arthur Adams and Whilce Portacio providing the art, Nocenti wrote the six-issue limited series Longshot.
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Talented writer Ann Nocenti and influential artist Arthur Adams crafted an offbeat tale when the New Mutants' eccentric member cybernetic alien Warlock decided to take a trip to New York City.
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Batman celebrated the 400th issue of his self-titled comic with a blockbuster featuring dozens of famous comic book creators and nearly as many infamous villains. Written by Doug Moench, with an introduction by novelist Stephen King ... [it was] drawn by George Pérez, Bill Sienkiewicz, Arthur Adams, Joe Kubert, Brian Bolland, and others.
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Despite decades of publication, Action Comics had not received its own annual until this issue by scribe John Byrne and artist Arthur Adams.
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