This week, we are pitting writer/artists against one another.  It’s fairly simple – of the two writer/artists presented, which could run circles around the other?

Neal Adams (born June 12, 1941) is an American comic book and commercial artist known for helping to create some of the definitive modern imagery of the DC Comics characters Superman, Batman, and Green Arrow; as the co-founder of the graphic design studio Continuity Associates; and as a creators-rights advocate who helped secure a pension and recognition for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Adams was inducted into the Eisner Award’s Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Harvey Awards’ Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1999.

John Lindley Byrne (born July 6, 1950) is a British-born Canadian-American author and artist of comic books. Since the mid-1970s, Byrne has worked on nearly every major American superhero. Byrne’s better-known work has been on Marvel Comics’ X-Men and Fantastic Four and the 1986 relaunch of DC Comics’ Superman franchise. Coming into the comics profession exclusively as a penciler, Byrne began co-plotting the X-Men comics during his tenure on them, and launched his writing career in earnest with Fantastic Four (where he also started inking his own pencils). During the 1990s he produced a number of creator-owned works, including Next Men and Danger Unlimited. He also wrote the first issues of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy series and produced a number of Star Trek comics for IDW Publishing.


Which writer/artist could best the other in their crafts?

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  1. I would say Bryne was the better writer/plotter, but in the end Adams had the better run on X-Men so he gets my vote.

  2. Capt Magellan on

    Considering that Byrne was majorly influenced by Adams’ style, there may not have ever been a “John Byrne” (comic book creator) – at least how we know him – without Adams’.

    Vote: Adams!

  3. Oh jeez, this is like picking between children.

    In the end, I have to go with who was more relevant to characters that I like; Neal Adams’ work on Green Arrow along with Denny O’Neil created modern Green Arrow, who is one of my favorite characters of all time, so I have to go with him.

  4. Great poll!

    For me, it has to be Adams. I imprinted on the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams version of Batman, and Mr. Adams’ work on X-Men was some of the most innovative in the genre. While I can respect the work of John Byrne, I never connected with him the way I did with those beautiful, panel-busting Adams layouts.

    Interesting that the majority of commenters (so far) have mentioned Adams, but Byrne has a slight lead right now.

  5. Gail Simone/Mark Waid, why if they are not even part of the poll you ask? Because they are the only authors I actually went out of my way to learn their names, that’s how awesome the stuff they write is, I have probably read their stuff but can’t remember it.

  6. Pantsthemonkey on

    Adams is without question a legend in terms of art. Probably more-so than Byrne. However, Byrne’s storytelling (in pictures as well as writing), especially in the creator owned field (i.e. Next men) is really in a class above Adams’ And his takes on She-Hulk and Namor are still my favorites by far.

    (Though Adams did write Skateman.. Some might say that alone = win)

    Still, my vote goes to Byrne.

  7. Some random comments:

    – I enjoy both art-wise and I think both are still very solid.

    – I haven’t read any of Neal’s stuff since the Continuity Days in the 80s and I’m not sure about how much of that stuff was written by him.

    – In recent years I don’t think Byrne’s writing on characters he doesn’t own hasn’t been very good (Doom Patrol for example was a freakin’ mess). He seems to do better (for whatever reason(s)) writing properties he owns.

  8. Capt Magellan on

    @Chris B
    “Interesting that the majority of commenters (so far) have mentioned Adams, but Byrne has a slight lead right now.”

    I think that’s interesting as well.

  9. Such a tough choice. It’s gotta be Bryne for me, though. His run on X-men was during a formative time in my life, and he left an impression. He defined Alpha Flight for me as well – nobody has managed to make the fey french-canadian bisexual Northstar look right since. The Sensational She-Hulk was probably the best thing to happen in the ’90s… I could go on. Though I’m not a huge fan of his current heavy-handed style, I really think he was the better artist in his prime.

  10. Lawrence Cabrera on

    This was a very hard choice for me but in the end I voted Byrne. The deciding factor was that Byrne is still working and I am not sure if Adams is doing anything right now. Last I heard I believe Adams was working on one of the numerous Batman limited series. Is that right? Either way both men are great creators and I really like what they’ve done in their careers.

  11. this really isnt fair I love both of these guys so much, but I guess Ill have to go for Byrne because no matter what anyone says I really like his writing.

  12. I went with Neal Adams, though it is a tough call since I like both men’s work! Plus I haven’t seen any of their recent work, so I had to stack John Byrne’s mid-80s Superman reboot vs. Neal Adam’s mid-70s Batman reboot. Of these two, Neal Adams’ Batman was a superior work, IMHO. Let’s face it, Batman’s books were going down hill fast when he took over the reins. We’d come off of 20 some odd years of Bill Finger Batman, which was pretty damn silly if you go back and reread that tripe. The giant penny, goofy Joker, Bat Mite era. After which, the Batman TV show drove another nail into The Batman book’s coffin, and the series swung between absolute camp, feeding off the TV show, and serious attempts at telling good stories – and you never knew one issue from the next, you were going to get. Then Neal Adams came along! Batman got a bit younger, a lot taller and more muscular (and his ear spikes longer), he jetisoned the Batcave, Robin, and all the goofy villians, and got got darker, grittier stories and new, plausible bad guys like Ras Al Gul. He also became a bit more human, getting injured more frequently, falling in love now and again, and even wisecracking with Alfred every so often. More importantly, Adams returned Batman to the role of a detective/vigelante and jettisoned all the stupid adventures in time and space, and very nearly divorces the Batman universe from the rest of the DC universe. It was a very shocking change, and some of his work persists today – Much of the new Dark Night movies is heavily influenced by the Neal Adams Batman stories. On the other hand, John Byrnes Superman reboot was pretty much all window dressing. TV studio instead of newspaper reporter. Morgan Edge instead of Perry White. Cat Grant instead of Lois Lane, etc. It didn’t have the universe changing impact that Adams did on Batman.

    • Agree with your choice, but doesn’t a lot of the credit you’re giving to Adams really go to Denny O’Neill? Adams’ moody scenes, lean & muscular Batman, and realistic expressions went perfectly with the new direction, no question, but one couldn’t have done it without the other.

    • Of these two, Neal Adams’ Batman was a superior work, IMHO. Let’s face it, Batman’s books were going down hill fast when he took over the reins. We’d come off of 20 some odd years of Bill Finger Batman, which was pretty damn silly if you go back and reread that tripe.

      First, you’re being overly harsh on 50’s Batman.

      Second, Neal Adams didn’t write any of the things that you’re referring to.

      Third, Byrne’s Superman revamp didn’t give us Morgan Edge, that was Denny O’Neil’s revamp years earlier, which is interesting, as he is the one who wrote most of what we’re attributing to Neal here. :)

      (It’s also worth noting that there is nearly a decade of other artists, notably Irv Novick and Carmine Infantino, between the eras you’ve described.)

  13. There are few comic artists that are recognizable to the more casual comic reader, but Byrnes is definately one of them. This is not because he is necessarily better than Adams, but is simply because The Dark Phoenix Saga is on nearly every Top 10 trade list. The success of that story arc alone could account for some of the disparity between the commenter consensus and the poll consensus.

  14. While I’ve enjoyed several of Byrne’s stories, his constant need to inject his own opinions about characters, destruction of characters HE didn’t like and dubious treatment of women over the years means that I can’t really be a fan of his. I vote Adams!

  15. I agree with Gary’s assessment of the Dark Phoenix saga – but I did say this was a tough call! But when you look critically at their body of work, Byrne really didn’t CHANGE the X-men or Superman, he either made a few tweaks to the set dressing (i.e., making Brainiac a robot instead of green skinned bald man) or taking existing characters and situations and taking them in a direction other writers hadn’t thought up yet (as in Dark Phoenix) but at the end of Dark Phoenix the X-men were still the same X-men as before the saga, and Superman was the same Superman as before. Batman, after the Adams reboot, never went back to being the silly, campy, 50 and 60s Batman, (thank God) which is why I voted Adams.

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