A long-time fan of his work, I discovered Adam Hughes’ art back in the '80s. Indie comic creators had been making a name for themselves with some pretty decent and high-quality comic books. One of my favorite indie publishers was called Comico, boasting early and ground-breaking work from the likes of Matt Wagner with Grendel and Mage, Bill Willingham’s Elementals, and the Pander Brothers' revolutionary style on Grendel and Ginger Fox. Mike W. Barr and Alan Davis had worked together on Detective Comics and were set to do a detective series of their own called the Maze Agency. For whatever reason, Alan fell off the project, and newcomer Adam Hughes would take his place.
I was immediately drawn to Hughes’ work. Granted, it wasn’t the masterpiece level it is now, but the potential and groundwork for a darn good comic artist was certainly there. His storytelling and facial expressions were amazing. Sadly, Comico would eventually go out of business, and Adam would land at DC doing covers and eventually The Justice League of America. In 1998 Adam would begin a 4-year cover run on Wonder Woman, producing an impressive 49 covers for the series.
I love Adam’s style. Although he mainly draws covers, his storytelling chops are stellar. His covers, while breathtakingly beautiful, always manage to tell a story, usually with a wink and nod of a little bit of humor. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Adam’s are worth ten times that. Not to say Adam can’t visit the dark side. Having produced several Star Wars covers over the years, no one equals Hughes when it comes to drawing Darth Vader. He draws a pretty mean Captain America, too. I don’t think there’s a single character that Hughes can’t master.
Adam has a reputation as the “Cheesecake Artist.” Fair enough, I guess a lot of Adam’s covers feature beautiful women in classic pin-up style. Not to mention a large part of his resume includes the likes of Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Tomb Raider. But it would be unfair to label him as just that. As a long-time fan, I know better. Having been self taught, Adam is a true master of his craft, and he is well respected in the comic community.
Adam really changed the game after learning Photoshop while working on the Gen13 Ordinary Heroes mini-series for Jim Lee’s Wildstorm Productions. The things he can achieve with PS are positively mind blowing. His shading and highlighting techniques are unparalleled. Although, he claims it’s ridiculously easy to achieve the effects he conveys. Yeah, right.
In my personal opinion, no one draws Wonder Woman better than Adam Hughes. He has a way of making her strong, yet feminine, and buff, yet beautiful, at the same time. Getting across her feistiness, fastidiousness, and humor along the way. I’m never disappointed by an Adam Hughes cover. Some of my favorites include her battle with Clayface, her interview with Lois Lane, and her battle against Batman’s rogues.
Adam was supposed to do a six-issue series of All-Star Wonder Woman which he would write and draw himself. The project was pushed back and postponed until eventually being abandoned. I’d give anything to see the book come to fruition; however, it doesn’t seem likely. But Adam is doing some Action Comics covers, so with him back at DC Comics, perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope.
Adam’s most recent projects have included Betty and Veronica, a killer Hellboy story for Mike Mignola, and the aforementioned covers for Brian Bendis’ Action Comics. (His Superman is almost as beautiful as his Wonder Woman.) I know Adam has a soft spot for Wonder Woman and is usually drawn back in the fold for anniversaries and special events. With his impressive contribution to the Wonder Woman mythos, Adam will certainly remain a part of it forever.
Adam has a gorgeous coffee table book called Cover Run featuring his work at DC Conics. It’s a gorgeous book with a look inside the thought process and execution of his art. Definitely worth checking out.
I’m always anxious to see what Adam will do next and always hopeful those plans may include more Wonder Woman. If the powers that be are listening, please give Adam a “Historia” book.
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