Comic book penciler and inker Dan Adkins, perhaps best known for his work on Doctor Strange died at the beginning of May. He was 76.
“Perhaps best known for…” makes it sound as if I actually know something about his pro career, however, I must confess I was completely unaware of it before today. Instead, the reason I immediately recognized his name was that I was familiar with his fan art from decades ago. Adkins had lots of illos in certain old fanzines I read in Bruce Pelz’ garage.
Adkins drew for Xero, and was art director for Amra. Before that he published a fanzine of his own, as he explained in an interview by Roy Thomas on TwoMorrows
RT: In this same issue of A/E, Bill Pearson talks about your joint fanzine Sata…
ADKINS: That was just a made-up word. I was a draftsman in the Air Force at the time I met Bill. If a change was made to a building on the base, we’d have to update the blueprints. I also drew a lot of electronics stuff, engine corrections, etc. After I got a second stripe as Airman Second Class, I became an illustrator-from about eight months after basic training, for the remaining three years I was in the service. When I got out I was the equivalent of a staff sergeant.
As an illustrator, I had a whole room to myself with equipment to turn out posters to put in front of the base library or movie theatre. We also did a magazine where we’d list all the happenings. We had to spend a certain amount of money per month in order to get the same amount the next month. And I couldn’t come up with enough things to spend the money on, so I started a fanzine! [laughs] The Air Force paid for Sata.
RT: Did they know they paid for it?
ADKINS: I had a civilian boss, and he knew it, yeah. It didn’t cost a heck of a lot to put out a little dittoed fanzine.
RT: When were you art director of the Robert E. Howard fanzine Amra?
ADKINS: That was very early. We got drawings from Frazetta and Krenkel because I knew Roy Krenkel. That’s one reason they made me art editor! It wasn’t for my abilities; it was for who I knew!
Adkins’ art was reprinted in The Best of Xero (a volume mentioned here just a month ago because its introduction was written by the late Roger Ebert.)
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]