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Neal Adams and Eric Carmen


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In 1972, at age 6, I was given my first comic book. It was this one:

I was totally captivated with the art, which was by artist/illustrator Neal Adams. While I had nothing much to compare it with, it just seemed so superior to any art I had ever seen. Neal had a command of realistic illustration superior to most other comic book artists, but had an equally vibrant sense of action and perspective. While his work was grounded in precise detail, it almost seemed simple and effortless in its quality and execution. Imagine seeing these on a comic book page for the first time:

I mention all of this because I feel much the same way about Eric Carmen's best songs as I do about Adams' best comic book work, which coincidentally was being created right around the birth of the Raspberries.

Some of Eric's best songs (for example, "My Girl") feature incredible detail and workmanship. Yet the melodies are so universal and appealing that I find myself wondering why no one came up with them years before.

With both Adams and Carmen, it seems almost unfair to compare the work to that of contemporaries. The work is so ambitious that it seems to deserve a separate category.

Another similarity: both Eric and Neal have keen intellects, and frequently hold forth on various topics not within the purview of their professions. (Neal came up with a grandiose theory claiming to explain the origins of the universe ten years ago).

The two main differences between these two artistic greats are:

1. Adams received his due and then some. He revolutionized comic book art, and has been tirelessly imitated (but never equaled) for the last 40 years. He is recognized as one of the few true immortals of comic book art. Unfortunately, whatever success and credit Eric has enjoyed doesn't approach what he deserves.

2. Ironically, Adams, having received great credit, is an egomaniac, demanding ever more credit and accolade. While Eric, whose true greatness remains a pretty well-kept secret, seems respectful and down to earth.

All hail to both of these great talents!

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Paul Maul makes an atypical comparison, and although I was never a fan of Batman comics I agree that the pictures were the result of a talented artist. I certainly agree with his praise of Eric Carmen when he says that some of Eric's best songs ". . . feature incredible detail and workmanship. Yet the melodies are so universal and appealing . . ."

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At the risk of testing the patience of non-comic book fans, I want to post two more panels to show what a genius Adams is. He is a true master of "magic realism," i.e. the realistic portrayal of fantastic content.

In the panels below, a petty politician has been mouthing off about how Batman isn't so tough. In what follows, Adams does an unbelievable job of faithfully capturing human emotion. I've never seen anything approaching it.

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I remember the first time I saw Adams' work... on his Green Lantern/Green Arrow run... it was captivating, as was the sound of Raspberries...

It sure was. The art on GL/GA is arguably superior to his Batman stuff. Once again, two panels are enough to demonstrate that he was head and shoulders above his contemporaries:

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