The Cover Artist: A Birthday Tribute To Adam Hughes
Born on this day in 1967, Adam Hughes is one of the most sought after cover artists in the world, with a unique style filled with his signature brand of charm and warmth. Although often cited as a pin-up artist, Hughes’ work surpasses many of his contemporaries by offering more than just beautiful people posed alluringly.
Hughes began his career doing interiors and pin-ups for independent comics such as Death Hawk and Maze Agency, but it wasn’t long before he was snapped up by DC Comics to be the penciller and cover artist for Justice League America, written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis.
Just as this run of JLA has much more going for it than its reputation as "the funny Justice League,” Hughes’ work is much more than the covers he’s known for, and his work on Justice League America is a mix of great humor, drama and action. After joining Atlanta’s Gaijin Studios, Hughes also worked on some of the earliest appearances of Ghost for Dark Horse, and later pencilled the Gen13 miniseries "Ordinary Heroes" for WildStorm.
In the late '90s, Hughes became the regular cover artist for Wonder Woman and stayed in that role for over five years, drawing just shy of fifty covers and solidifying his reputation as one of the best in the superhero business. Not long after he left Wonder Woman, he had a similarly long run as the cover artist on Catwoman during Will Pfeifer and Pete Wood’s underrated run with the character.
Hughes was announced as the writer and artist of All-Star Wonder Woman, but the series never materialized; instead he made his return to interior art as part of DC’s Before Watchmen event, alongside writer J. Michael Straczynski on Doctor Manhattan.
Hughes’ sketchbooks are among the most sought after by collectors, and in October 2007 his personal sketchbook from 2000/2001 was auctioned on eBay. The sketchbook contained sixty-one pages of concept art and character designs and was eventually sold for a staggering $11,200.
For over thirty years, Adam Hughes has carved out a career path that has earned him the opportunities to pick and choose projects, and whenever he returns to sequential storytelling it's a newsworthy event. There aren’t many artists in comics that have earned the success and renown of Adam Hughes.