Undoubtedly, high atop any comic fans lists of "Things We Need To See More Of" stands the singular item "More Actual Comics From Art Adams." While the legendary penciler has remained a cover art staple over the past few years, penciling full comics never proved his strong suit, but things will change in 2009 when Adams joins writer Jeph Loeb for a new series set in Marvel's Ultimate Universe, part of a new Marvel exclusive contract announced today at San Francisco's WonderCon.
When asked why now became the time to up his interior output, Adams joked with CBR, "I lost a bet" before admitting that he simply felt ready to jump back into regular interior work again. After teaming with Loeb for a short three-parter in the pages of "Hulk," the artist said that he enjoyed the kind of scripts he gets from the scribe.
"It's a lot more, to my mind anyways, like the comics I grew up with – the late '60s comics and the mid '70s comics where a lot of stuff could happen in a relatively small amount of time. One of the things that actually bothers me about modern comics is that so many of them are done in the six-issue arc for the collection, which often means there are pages of people just talking. And I don't care about drawing people talking. I want to draw superheroes in their outfits doing stuff."
Of course, the question of which superheroes Adams will draw and what they'll be punching remained under wraps at the show due to a massive amount of secrecy still surrounding the end of Loeb and artist David Finch's "Ultimatum" series and the subsequent "Ultimate Comics" relaunch of the line. For his part, Adams laughed of Loeb's recent stories set in the Ultimate U, "He just destroyed it all. Why does Marvel let him do these things?"
"My heart belongs to the regular, plain 'ol, non-Ultimate Marvel Universe. But I like to think that anything Jeph and I work on will be the 'ultimate' version of that thing. That's pretty pompous sounding, isn't it? But I'm looking forward to the project we're working on, and we'll find all sorts of ways to have stupid fun."
As for his reputation for taking a long time to complete books, Adams noted that this series would utilize two time-saving measures starting with giving him a wide lead time before the series launches. "I believe that's the plan. Even though I have a reputation for having missed deadlines, I don't think I've ever missed anything going to print, which is the main deadline, isn't it?"
On top of that, the new Ultimate series will be completed without the use of a traditional inker. "At this point, we're thinking about printing from my pencils. My pencils tend to be pretty tight anyway, and so we're going to give that a try at least on the first handful of issues. Of course, once they get a handful of pages they may say, 'No one will be able to tell what the hell we're doing unless somebody inks this.' If we need to do that, we will, but at the moment it's supposed to just be Jeph and me...and whoever the poor colorist ends up being."
When reminded that his detailed pencils once caused a young Whilce Portacio to no small amount of work anxiety (as recounted at a recent panel at New York Comic Con), Adams chucked, "That poor dope. But [his career] seems to have worked out OK." The artist added that he has confidence both in his ability to produce new pages and in the technology to make penciled art look spectacular in its finished form. "I think there are people with some sense of familiarity with doing that now. I know it's been done in the past with some level of success. Certainly, in the old 'Creepy' and 'Eerie' magazines they had things done in pencil. Sometimes they look all right and sometimes, not so much."