Spotlight On: Adam Hughes

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Posted by No_Name_ (16193 posts) - - Show Bio

 Adam Hughes' 'Cover Run'
 Adam Hughes' 'Cover Run'
The comic industry was hit hard with the premature death of one of it's most influential creators, Dwayne McDuffie recently. As a result, many fans and creators ( Comic Vine included) took to a variety of different venues (Twitter, blogs, etc.) to show appreciation for his life and work and to celebrate his accomplishments and impact on the industry. This outpour of support led to a movement which had started on Twitter by both Top Cow's Ron Marz and Marvel's Tom Brevoort to celebrate and show appreciation for creators while they are still alive- something I felt was an absolutely awesome idea that we should all take part in; especially since many of us are often so quick to criticize a creator and their work. That's why I decided to take this opportunity to discuss one of my favorite comic artists, Adam Hughes.

When I first met self taught artist Adam Hughes I admit, I gushed. I can recall marveling at his work on Wonder Woman and Catwoman for DC Comics long before meeting him- but when I came face to face with the man (who is far too humble and modest for his own good) I grew even more enamored with his work and talent because he is, quite frankly, a fantastic and wonderful human being. Following a video review of Hughes' New York Times best selling book Cover Run; which is part autobiographical and part art portfolio; he contacted me and asked if I would moderate his spotlight panel at Wonder Con. I admit I was nervous at first- unsure of whether or not I could do Hughes justice- but nevertheless, I agreed. While a huge fan of his work, and sure, I thought he was a great guy, I didn't actually know all that much about Hughes. The more I read and learned about him, however, the more I grew to appreciate his work and him as a creator. == TEASER ==

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Going into Hughes' WonderCon spotlight panel, the issue of Wonder Woman's pants was at the top of my list. I figured he would be the perfect person to ask considering his work on Wonder Woman's series which spanned from 1998 to 2003 and which happens to be some of his most recognizable work at DC Comics. What he revealed was that he too submitted his own version of Wonder Woman's costume redesign to DC Comics for the re-launch of her series. While he did not describe what his redesign looked like, or how he felt about the decision to give her pants, he did say that the change was good for DC's sales- something we can all agree on. When asked about the release date of his long awaited All Star Wonder Woman- it's still sitting on the shelf and is a project all Wonder Woman fans will have to keep waiting for.

 Wonder Woman
 Wonder Woman
Adam Hughes is known for his sexy pin-up style- which, if you have browsed through his book Cover Run, you already are well aware. His ability to capture women as both powerful and still very sexy is beyond impressive, and is something that not very many artists can do. Among the interesting (and not often discussed) bits of information about Mr. Hughes career that came up during the panel was his tenure at Penthouse COMIX. Penthouse, which he cites as not his best work, is not something Adam regrets. In fact, Penthouse can be considered what helped launch a very successful career at DC Comics, but I think he can explain it better than I can. Below is an excerpt from Adam's spotlight panel from WonderCon.

Sara: You worked on Penthouse Comics, correct?
AH: Yes, but I was young and I needed the money.
Sara: [Laughter] As an illustrator, did you feel that the lack of censorship was liberating, or do you feel that drawing characters like Wonder Woman and Catwoman for DC as more subtly sexy is more satisfying artistically.
AH: Column B. I firmly believe that drawing a fully clothed, beautiful woman is more sensuous than a completely naked, laying on a table getting ready to go in for a CAT scan. I firmly think that it's what you hint and suggest- that is more attractive- and that goes for both men and women. When you go into full nudity, and swing for the fences with the nudity, it can be titillating at first, but after a while you get kind of tired and kind of spent and decide 'Hey, you know what, I am just going to go watch the ball game.' I think that you need to have the mystery, and that layer to be peeled away so that the interest remains there. When I was working on the Penthouse stuff I was soul sick the entire time. How many people here have had someone actually name the price? Like, 'OK I will sell my soul to you for that dollar amount.' They said to me, 'We're gonna pay you FIVE TIMES what Marvel and DC would pay you for that page,' and I said. [feign sobbing] 'I'll do it...I'm a filthy whore and I will do it.' And I am working on the whole thing, feeling like one of those underage sex workers [feigns sobbing] and I am drawing and I am crying.' And I felt like crap the whole time. My career at the time was only about seven years old, and I was already thinking 'Marvel and DC aren't going to want to work with a pornographer. When I look back at it I think, Oh I was so
scared you know? But I was really lucky.  Today I can say I am a New York Times best selling author. Fifteen years ago I thought Penthouse could have been the end of everything. But if you look at my Penthouse work, you can see that it wasn't at all my best work. I would rather draw a beautiful, strong superheroine in most of her costume.

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It isn't often that an artist is able to take our breath away. I think that in order to do that, the artist's skill and style must be unparalleled- unique, and he or she must be able to capture moments and mere flickers of emotions in the most exceptional way. Adam Hughes does this- and his incredible talent has led to some of the most exquisite covers at DC Comics. Adam has managed to take our breath away with every Wonder Woman cover and every illustration of Catwoman, Supergirl and Zatanna. His ability to capture female sexuality without sacrificing feminine strength is a rare quality; but one that seems effortless for him. To say his style is "pin-up" would not even begin to describe the scope of his tremendous skill and talent. Adam can make anyone look sexy- sure- but he does more than that. Adam's characters ooze personality off the pages, and that is a very hard thing to do.

Big thanks to Sora The Key for filming the panel and sending me the footage which allowed me to transcribe some of Mr. Hughes' responses!
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#1 Posted by mavericksfan41 (92 posts) - - Show Bio

I really like his art also especially the women he draws. Also another artist that draws very good women in comics is chrissie zullo who draws the Cinderella mini's for Fables.

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#2 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

For me, the most amazing artists of females in comics are good ole Adam mentioned here, but also Ed Benes and Guillem March.  I'd mention others that are absolutely breathtaking but those ones are the main ones I can think of off the top of my head.

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#3 Posted by Crazy Pan (766 posts) - - Show Bio

I think he does beautiful work. A lot of it reminds me of the style of Alphonse Mucha. Brilliant I say BRILLIANT!

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#4 Posted by tonis (6562 posts) - - Show Bio

Awesome spotlight Sara. I too think it's a great idea to really celebrate great creators in life more than in death. So many deserve to know the impact they make.


I also completely agree with Adam about what makes a women look beautiful and sensuous is not just in putting as much skin out there as one can, but wrapping it properly like the present it is. :)
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#5 Posted by A_O_N (367 posts) - - Show Bio

Adam Hughes is my favorite cover artist!

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#6 Posted by Decept-O (8098 posts) - - Show Bio


Wow, what an honor to be on Mr. Hughes' panel!  To be asked to do that, I can only imagine how stoked you were! 

 

This was a great article.  You are absolutely right, it is difficult to accurately describe Mr. Hughes' style other than to say it is exquisite.  Pin-up doesn't even begin to give his illustrations justice.  Yes, I have seen his work on Penthouse Comix, but the first really awesome work I saw of his was in Dark Horse Presents.  He drew some "cyber-babes" in black and white which influenced me quite a bit. 

 

Also, yes, we as comic fans often gripe and moan ( I am guilty ) about certain creators, instead of saying, "Hey, this guy or girl's work is really great".  Highlighting him like this was a great idea and enjoyed the article. 

 

Nice!

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#7 Edited by Kid_Zombie (824 posts) - - Show Bio

First thing; Great Idea for a column ComicVine !!

Adam Hughes is an amazing artist! Love his work

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#8 Posted by Caligula (12660 posts) - - Show Bio

all of you that like mister Hughes can follow him on DeviantArt.
here is his page.

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#9 Edited by SC (17763 posts) - - Show Bio

Adam Hughes for the win! 


I like his work a lot, but he isn't one of my favorite favorites, (it is possible I am blind I admit) but I have seen him in interviews, and videos, and the way he carried himself was really likable, I think. He seemed rather self depreciating and modest. It was nice to see someone with such huge talent and so popular, have that aura. I really like and still laugh about how he managed to sneak Friends into that Wonder Woman cover. His expressions on characters is probably my favorite thing about his art. Oh, and the big massive DC women Celebration thing as well, and also how he fought to get Selina in. 

Great thread! 
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#10 Posted by Bearded Justice (789 posts) - - Show Bio


the man is a genius. that audrey hepburn as catwoman cover is by far my favorite catwoman look.

coulda met the guy at pittsburgh comicon, but i was new to comics at the time and didn't really know who he was.  sigh

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#11 Posted by tobiasPUNK (144 posts) - - Show Bio

yeah i'd also say he is one of my favorite artists. i love the way he draws women, as you said before sexy yet still powerful.

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#12 Posted by Duo_forbidden (1815 posts) - - Show Bio

Adam Hughes is an incredible artist. He can take any female character and make them look even more gorgeous than they already were. That ladies of DC picture with the ladies in white dresses (minus Catwoman) is just excellent. Great article.

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#13 Posted by mollyroger (39 posts) - - Show Bio

How many of us think that his Catwoman (at the top of the page) was inspired by Babs in her catsuit?  I mean, look the face... seriously.
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#14 Posted by Sergotron (108 posts) - - Show Bio

Is there anywhere we can go to see the footage from the panel?

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#15 Posted by triangle (59 posts) - - Show Bio

wow he is a large round hairy bloke who draws sexy women...nope nothing here is cliche. nope.
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#16 Posted by Journey Into Chaos (352 posts) - - Show Bio

man i wish Adam-sempai work at Marvel.
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#17 Posted by sora_thekey (8812 posts) - - Show Bio

Awesome Panel! ;)

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#18 Posted by ARMIV (3927 posts) - - Show Bio

Adam must be such an awesome guy. Y'know he actually replied to a comment or two of mine on D.A? That was awesome.

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#19 Posted by Aronmorales (9735 posts) - - Show Bio
@tonis said:
" Awesome spotlight Sara. I too think it's a great idea to really celebrate great creators in life more than in death. So many deserve to know the impact they make.

I also completely agree with Adam about what makes a women look beautiful and sensuous is not just in putting as much skin out there as one can, but wrapping it properly like the present it is. :)
"
I too agree with this, and after reading it I just wanted to give Mr. Hughes a handshake and a thumbs up.
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#20 Edited by Major Canuck (50 posts) - - Show Bio
@RedheadedAtrocitus:
Hear Hear! Love the way those guys draw women.
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#21 Posted by ScarlettLynn (164 posts) - - Show Bio

I love Adam Hughes. My current indulgence is collecting the beautiful Cover Girls of the DCU statues based on his art.

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#22 Posted by MysteriousBlack (205 posts) - - Show Bio

Can't forget Travis Charest & Alex Ross. Those boys are good.


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(Charest)

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Earth-9997 Earth X
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#23 Posted by The Psyentist (22456 posts) - - Show Bio

Where's the "like" button?! Adam Hughes! (I follow him on dA. *dances*)

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#24 Posted by UnosInfinitos (150 posts) - - Show Bio

I feel a lot better about myself for drawing smut for money now. I'm kind of paranoid  that if I do become well known it'll be because of the pron and that no real company well ever hire me

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#25 Posted by JonesDeini (3874 posts) - - Show Bio

Love the way he draws women

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#26 Posted by Luthorcrow (178 posts) - - Show Bio

  @mollyroger said:

" How many of us think that his Catwoman (at the top of the page) was inspired by Babs in her catsuit?  I mean, look the face... seriously. "

LOL, smooth talker eh?

I am pretty sure the actual inspiration is Audrey Hepburn from "Breakfast at Tiffany's" but hey I could be wrong.
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#27 Posted by zombietag (1699 posts) - - Show Bio
@Kid_Zombie said:
" First thing; Great Idea for a column ComicVine !!"
yes, more articles like this! zombies think alike... ;)
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#28 Posted by TheSheepHerder (12014 posts) - - Show Bio

His Catwoman art is so darn spectacular.

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#29 Posted by Silkcuts (6040 posts) - - Show Bio
@MysteriousBlack said:
" Can't forget Travis Charest & Alex Ross. Those boys are good.

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(Charest)

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 (Ross)
"
We can compare Travis and Hughes since both are classic pencil and ink as the medium of choice.  Ross is paint, different art medium
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#30 Posted by MysteriousBlack (205 posts) - - Show Bio
@Silkcuts said: 
We can compare Travis and Hughes since both are classic pencil and ink as the medium of choice.  Ross is paint, different art medium "
Wasn't making any comparisons, just giving honorable mentions.
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#31 Posted by Silkcuts (6040 posts) - - Show Bio
@MysteriousBlack said:
" @Silkcuts said: 
We can compare Travis and Hughes since both are classic pencil and ink as the medium of choice.  Ross is paint, different art medium "
Wasn't making any comparisons, just giving honorable mentions. "
Okay
^_^
I agree with the honorable mentions then.
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#32 Posted by xerox_kitty (17342 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article!  Adam Hughes is (without a doubt) one of the best!  I love the way that his ladies always look strong, not over-endowed on top or ready to break at the waist.  He definitely deserves this spotlight... and I wish I'd been there to support you as chair-lady :)    

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#33 Posted by Mercy_ (94916 posts) - - Show Bio

I loveeeeeeeeeeeee Adam Hughes. He manages to make women gorgeous and sexy without having to put them in scandalous clothing to do so. He draws realistic women (you never see his characters look like they suffer from anorexia or having enormously mis-proportioned breasts aka Barbie Syndrome). His work is utterly gorgeous and is truly, truly art. I'm somebody who tends to favor art over writing and I'll pick up a book just because Hughes has done the art. 

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#34 Posted by TypingKira (3555 posts) - - Show Bio

I use him a a reference a lot! 

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#35 Posted by Eyz (3187 posts) - - Show Bio

One of my a--time favorite artists!

Always loved his artwork. Though I do miss him on the interior art, like his early work on the JLI or Ghost.

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#36 Posted by TheShame (516 posts) - - Show Bio

Adam Hughes has a great eye for detail with costumes

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#37 Posted by yeopop (791 posts) - - Show Bio

This man is a genius. A god in comics.
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#38 Edited by PenguinDust (8081 posts) - - Show Bio

Hughes is primarily seen as a "good girl" or "pin up" artist who happens to apply his trade in comic rather than mainstream magazines.  I'm not sure how many people are still reading Esquire, so it's not too surprising.  Alberto Vargas might have been drawing covers for Catwoman, too had he been born 70 years later.  Hughes has penciled issues of books, I know but when I was still deep into the comic scene he wasn't doing that anymore.  I read he reversed that practice for All-Star Wonder Woman, but that one was eventually cancelled or at least, on hiatus.  His style must take a lot more time than the average artists, plus the chores of writing, too.  He is among my favorites, but I wish there was more of his art to appreciate.  I'd hate to see him suddenly pass like Dave Stevens. 

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#39 Posted by NightFang3 (12346 posts) - - Show Bio
@sora_thekey said:
" Awesome Panel! ;) "
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#40 Posted by TDK_1997 (18425 posts) - - Show Bio

He's a very good artist

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#41 Posted by queenfrost_ (2613 posts) - - Show Bio

 Adam Hughes IS THE COOLEST GUY IN COMIC BOOK HISTORY

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#42 Posted by dondasch (932 posts) - - Show Bio

Very interesting article Sara, well done.

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#43 Posted by satanmode (390 posts) - - Show Bio

AH is the Norman Rockwell of good girl art.

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#44 Posted by TheBatman (27 posts) - - Show Bio

Adam's Catwoman... <3<3<3
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#45 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

I know I've posted already but again after looking at his artwork again, I really am convinced he is the best artist of females in comics.  And I challenge anyone to say otherwise heh

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#46 Posted by estrato (21 posts) - - Show Bio


Wonder Woman an Cat Woman simply wouldn't be the same without AH! interventions...

 

Hail for Adam Hughes!

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#47 Posted by PhoenixoftheTides (4701 posts) - - Show Bio

I've always been a big fan of Adam Hughes' artwork - he is one of the few artists that draws superheroines as having actual muscle structure, in poses that show off their athletic ability. Many comic artists focus on the sexy poses with tilted pelvises, opened lips, bared cleavage, arched backs and etc, and forget that many of the female superheroes are phenomenal athletes who train just as hard as the boys in in order to hang with them in battle.

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#48 Posted by BoOMbOoMpOw (1693 posts) - - Show Bio

I hoped so badly that you would post this !!!!! THANKS !!!! I love Adam Hughes ! He is one of the best artists in comics !!!!

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#49 Posted by WeaponCatfish1 (71 posts) - - Show Bio

He is probably one of the best female figure artists ever-great article Sara
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#50 Posted by The Poet (8646 posts) - - Show Bio

I enjoy his art. it has a whimsical tone that you rarely see in other artists.

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