Superman Poster #19 vs Parasite Action Comics #361 (1968) Neal Adams


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Sometimes a great cover artist can enliven even the most pedestrian of stories. Here an early eye-popping cover by Neal Adams makes Superman’s second go-round with his decidedly B-grade late-’60s nemesis the Parasite seem like the Mother of All Battles. The Parasite, a former lab assistant who acquired the ability to absorb energy from other beings, had made his debut two years earlier in a story by the exact same writer with the exact same title and a markedly less interesting cover. Here he gets to dish out some pain before the Man of Steel turns the tables. Adams had recently hit his stride drawing super-hero covers after a yearlong apprenticeship spent working on war and licensed humor comics. Just one month before this comic appeared, Adams also supplied the cover and interior art for The Adventures of Bob Hope #109. He had recently finished up a four-issue run on The Adventures of Jerry Lewis. With the success of the Deadman feature in Strange Adventures and the impact of comics like this, Adams would not be toiling in obscurity for long. He innovative layouts and illustrative style would revolutionize the medium in the years to come. An alien geographer reassembles the disintegrated atoms of the Parasite, who saps his energy and life. Then the Parasite goes after Superman, only absorbing a bit of his energy at a time to avoid an overload. “He’s dead! I stole too much of his energy! But it was his own fault, for bringing me… the Parasite… back to life!” — Parasite. The Parasite is the name of several fictional characters that appear in Superman comic book stories published by DC Comics. A supervillain, Parasite has the ability to temporarily absorb the energy, knowledge and super-powers of another being by touch, making him a formidable foe for the Man of Steel. In 2009, The Parasite was ranked as IGN’s 61st Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time. Neal Adams (born June 15, 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.