It was a hot and busy summer day at Continuity. A tall and lean aspiring comic book artist visited the studio in order to show his artwork to Neal Adams. Neal flipped through the sample pages, handed them back to the artist and told him he was wasting his time trying to draw comic books. The young lad from Vermont took it in stride, returned his artwork into the envelope, thanked Neal for his time and left the studio.
Several months later Frank Miller returned to Continuity to show Neal new sample pages he'd drawn. Neal flipped through the pages, laid them on his table and told Frank that he was still wasting his time trying to become a comic book artist. He then placed a sheet of tracing paper over one of the pages.
"If you begin to fix things like this, however." Neal said, as he drew over Frank's art on the tracing paper, "You might have a chance at becoming a good artist one day."
Frank took it in stride and put up with Neal's direct manner as he listened to a few things about what makes a composition effective and how the body behaves in motion. Frank Miller had more than good comics art on his mind, however. He wanted to tell great stories and he was willing to put up with anything in order to learn how to do it.
Seeing such talent in the making, Neal was compelled to inspire Frank Miller to write great stories. That's when all hell broke loose at Continuity in the fall of the summer of 77 on 45th and 9th as the Martian went to Titan, found the San Francisco treat, played the world game, took advice from the peacemaker and negotiated with the keeper of the kingdom. Neal was fueling a big vision for the comics industry in order to inspire Frank to tell great stories about it one day. Frank, in turn, had succeeded in becoming a comic book artist and was drawing Daredevil for Marvel, with his eyes ahead to telling great stories. That's when my life and career fell apart in the hub of the comic book industry at the turn of the decade. Frank then went on to write the classic tale of how the life and career of Matt Murdock fell apart in Daredevil: Born Again. The wheels were now churning but Frank had big aspirations and needed new fodder for the great stories he wanted to tell.
So, I left America and emigrated into comics retirement in Israel for more than a decade until the creature began to writhe within me again, trying to burst loose to save a world that was giving up on itself as Frank told the classic tale of Batman's return from retirement in The Dark Knight Returns. Neal and I duked it out in Federal Court while Batman and Superman went at it in Crime Alley. Frank Miller criticized the litigation action and the Huntress drawing style but we all took it in stride and put up with his direct manner because he told such great comic book stories from all the inspiration that Neal gave him.
After another short retirement from comics, we returned again to inspire more great stories with The New Comic Book of Life, which called to raise The Comic Book Creator's Party in America in order to topple the corrupt leadership enslaving our civilization. Frank Miller went on to write about it in yet another classic tale about a world corrupted by corrupt leaders and how the Superheroes rise to save it in DK2.
At the Big Apple comic book convention in November, 2004, Frank Miller interviewed Neal Adams and told of his first encounter with him where Neal told him he was wasting his time in comics. Frank said that Neal, more than anyone else in his life, inspired him to tell great stories. They went on to talk about the need to form The Comic Book Creator's Guild and the great future which awaits the comic book industry.
Neal closed the interview saying that not everyone can appreciate his direct manner and that Frank's greatness lies in that he took his criticism in stride and was able to put up with him.
After the interview, I approached Frank Miller and complimented him on the interview and the great stories he told.
"You and me both", he said. "We have a great teacher."
Frank Miller. Portraits of the Creators Sketchbook.