There are certain comic book artists whose styles are instantly recognizable, and legendary penciler Arthur Adams numbers among them. Adams is regarded for his artistic contributions to the comics medium, from his X-Men work in the 1980s, through his creator-owned work in the 1990s (Monkeyman and O’Brien) to his covers for today’s Marvel series (X-Men: Blue). In fact, his co-creation Longshot is set to return to the X-books as part of Marvel Legacy.At the end of day one at Boston Comic Con 2017, Adams was nice enough to answer a few questions while he packed up for the evening.
AiPT!: Your highly detailed art style has become iconic. Did you set out to do detailed line work or did it just come naturally?
Arthur Adams: It’s pretty organic. I just draw the way I like. There are lots of other people whose stuff I like better than my own, but I can’t draw like them, as much as I try.
AiPT!: Can you think of a piece of yours that took the longest to produce?
Adams: A single piece of artwork would probably be the connecting covers I did for a series called Original Sin. The work on that, altogether, took about 10 weeks.AiPT!: I’m loving your covers on X-Men: Blue…
Adams: Thank you!
AiPT!: How did that gig come about?
Adams: Fortunately, the editor asked me to do it and that’s it. I had just finished being the regular cover artist for Guardians of the Galaxy, and almost as soon as I was done with that, I started doing X-Men.
AiPT!: In your opinion, what makes a good cover?
Adams: My job is to make the characters look as good as I can in the context of what they’re asking for. So I always just try to represent the characters to the best of my ability and sell the book. And I’ve been told, occasionally, that a cover of mine has helped sell a book… so thats good.AiPT!: Do you have a favorite character to draw?
Adams: I don’t have a favorite character to draw. I’m just happy they pay me to draw.
AiPT!: You also do commission work. What’s the craziest commission you’ve ever had to do?
Adams: There’s nothing particularly crazy that I can think of. I’ve been doing it long enough that if a commission sounds too crazy, I’m not going to do it.
[At this point, artist Joyce Chin, who’s also married to Adams, reminded him of a commission request he had received.]
Adams: There was one fella who wanted me to do a painting – and I’m not particularly known as a painter – but he wanted me to do a painting about 24×32 inches large of Venom holding over his head Spider-Man with his mask torn off, so you could see it’s Peter Parker, and he’s screaming in pain and Venom’s tongue is coming up over him and tearing open his belly and there are like thousands of spiders pouring out of his belly. I did not do that.
AiPT!: Finally, you’re from Massachusetts, correct?
Adams: I was born in Massachusetts – we moved away when I was very young. I have no memory of it.
AiPT!: Ah, I was wondering if attending Boston Comic Con has any significance to you.
Adams: It’s interesting to be back where I was born and imagine what my life might have been if I stayed here. But I have no particular feelings about having been here. My father was in the Air Force, so I moved away when I was about a year old.