Have Peace, Jack Adler
When I went to work for Jack at NPP [DC Comics] in 1971, he became my first “professional” father.
That’s pretty much how I felt about Jack when I started work for DC in 1975, and not only in the professional sense. Jack Adler was a warm, spontaneous and caring fatherly figure to a lot of younger creators who depended on him to help make our work look good within the printing limitations of that time. He is said to have been the foremost authority on mechanical color separation techniques used in comics before the advent of digital color processing.
Jack Adler was a comics artist in a very prolific sense of the phrase. As early as the 1950′s, he began bridging the gap between full color scanned image printing and the flat mechanical separations used in comics. The covers he presided over in that era gave the feel of painted pulp covers, which was no small feat back then, considering the technical limitations. He acquired a thorough knowledge of the processes by which comics art was being handled by printers and dedicated himself to learning every aspect of it. But he didn’t simply settle for knowing this information as an asset for getting by a day’s work. Jack saw an opportunity to create a richer palette and look for comics. His contribution to the visual narrative during a time that flat color dominated much of the work, is more immense than most industry professionals can imagine.
When I landed at Continuity and started working for DC, I became part of a creed that contended with the cost effective constraints of getting better visual results for our work. Many of us at the studio would approach the art as if it’s meant to see print in full, true and glorious color, even though we often knew the disappointment of seeing an unfulfilled printed image. A strong memory from that time remains about Neal encouraging everyone to learn the pre-print processes as thoroughly as possible, and utilize that knowledge in preparing our work. It was all worth it, he’d say, because we have a friend and ally in Jack Adler, head of the production department at DC Comics.
Mark Evanier posted yesterday about Jack passing away over the weekend at the age of 93, and adds a compelling biographical short. Daniel Best also posted a tribute that includes more words and art about Jack by Alan Kupperberg.
Have peace, Jack. The industry and its creators salute you for the care and dedication that’s helped make us and the comics become all the better.