Comic book artist and former Marvel Comics art director Dan Adkins has passed away (March 15, 1937 – May 8, 2013. Many fans first heard the news on Vanguard publisher J. David Spurlock’s Facebook page.
“I went to Reading, PA yesterday to buy Steranko and Adkins dinner. Neither Steranko nor [I] had been able to reach Adkins. After dinner with Steranko, I hit the road back to New York only to be phoned by Steranko, who had just received word from Adkins' son that Dan left this world last week,” he posted.
“In addition to many other credits, including T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Dr. Strange and much of the best inking ever done for Marvel, Adkins served as an art director at Marvel, was key to Wood launching Witzend, and he also mentored a number of young artists including Paul Gulacy, Val Mayerik and P. Craig Russell. He is missed,” he wrote.
“He was the best assistant/collaborator Wally Wood ever had. His inking work on artists such as Barry Windsor Smith and Gil Kane was incomparable. His Doctor Strange series for Marvel Comics in the late ‘60s ran concurrently with his best buddy's work, Jim Steranko's Nick Fury, Agent of Shield. As a high school student I followed those books each month as the two battled it out over who could dazzle the reader more. It was in high school, in choir class, that I met Dan's paperboy and found out Dan lived only a few miles from me, just outside East Liverpool, Ohio. It was in that little studio that Dan handed me, alongside Val Mayerik and Paul Gulacy, our careers,” writer-artist P. Craig Russell posted on Facebook.
“His own artwork on a series of stories for Warren Comics Creepy and Eerie magazines in the mid ‘60s, shortly after he left Wally Wood's studio, was his high point and remain an inspiration to this day. Each story was a different exercise in inking techniques, ink wash, crosshatching, zip-tone, etc. His title page for “The Day After Doomsday,” a virtuoso display of the transposition of the grey tones of a photo into thousands of tiny pen point marks and crosshatching to create texture and light has been a constant goad to me, a high water mark I've reached for and never attained,” Russell wrote.