Neal Adams on the Stolen Speedy Cover
[via Titans Tower]
(or Why Neal Adams is the nicest person on the face of the universe. Seriously.)
[from Wizard #0, 2003 - A Neal Adams Interview]
“Neal has always been a dynamo,” says comic great Joe Kubert, a longtime pal and former editor of Adams. “He’s a guy who not only says what he thinks is right, but pushes for it. There aren’t a lot of guys like that.”
In one such instance, Adams confronted DC on its policy of destroying original art. The company owned the printing rights, he argued, not the artwork itself, and therefore had no right to destroy the originals, as was the practice at the time. Without “making a fuss or threatening anybody’s life,” Adams campaigned for the artists’ right to have their artwork returned to them, reasoning that a motivated creator - one who knew his art could be sold for profit - would do better work. His battle, though a victory, was not without casualties.
The cover to Green Lantern/Green Arrow #85, the “Speedy shooting up cover”, disappeared from the art drawers in DC’s offices before the artwork return policy came into effect. ” I could’ve just taken it,” Adams says of the piece, but I was fighting to have it returned and didn’t want to create the impression I was doing it solely for my own benefit. Just taking my art - which was a common practice - would have defeated my arguement.”
Not everyone shared his sense of honor, and by the time Adams won the battle to get original artwork returned, the Speedy cover had vanished, and was recently offered for sale at auction for more than $40,000. The artist doesn’t care so much about the money himself - he was paid only $60 to create the piece - but equates it to savings his children will never see. “College money,” he calls it.
For years, Adams pursued the art that had been stolen from him throughout his career, hoping to catch those responsible. He’s since given up the hunt. “By now, the art’s changed hands so many times that the people who own it obtained it through legal channels,” he says. “They aren’t responsible… l can’t just take it back from them. Bless them.”
[Want to know more about Green Lantern #85? Click Here.]