Big John Lives!

I just found out about a terrific new book being released this August called John Buscema: Michelangelo of Comics by Brian Peck (Hermes Press).

“Big John” Buscema is one of my all-time favorite comics artists, and one of Marvel Comics’ most legendary talents. He took the bold imagery and bombastic imagery that Jack Kirby perfected and brought it to a new level with sleek anatomy, graceful figures, and expansive layouts.

Perhaps best known for his long run on CONAN THE BARBARIAN, Big John also did classic runs on THE SILVER SURFER and THE AVENGERS, as well as FANTASTIC FOUR, and he probably drew every Marvel character at one point. He has been called the “Michelangelo of Comics,” which is where this new tribute book gets its name.

The official book description reads: “This exhaustive look at Buscema’s career and art covers every aspect of this legend’s work and is generously illustrated with over 200 examples of the master’s original art. Over five years in preparation, comics historian Brian Peck interviewed everyone of note who ever worked with Buscema and paints a complete picture of one of the comics most outstanding artists.” Sounds good to me!

Buscema basically defined the iconic look of The Silver Surfer and Conan for decades. My comic collection is full of stellar Buscema work. In today’s comic world you can find shades of Buscema in the work of nearly every comics artist, but perhaps most heavily in the likes of Carlos Pacheco, Tom Grummet, Alan Davis, Scott Eaton, Ivan Reis, and Andrea Divito, to name a few. If Kirby began the “Marvel look” in the 1960s, then John Buscema re-defined it in the early 70’s (after Kirby left Marvel). He also taught a generation of artists how to draw comics with the superb how-to manual HOW TO DRAW COMICS THE MARVEL WAY. John Buscema was Stan Lee’s “Go-To Guy” after Kirby left for DC Comics.

The 176-page hardcover retails for $34.99 but  has it on sale at the pre-order price of just under $27. Not bad at all…

Words can’t really do justice to John Buscema’s work, so here are some of my favorite Buscema covers and splash pages. Enjoy…