Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spotlight On... Who?

While Karen and Doug are on vacation in January, our readers have been entrusted with carrying on the daily conversations.  Today's "Spotlight On..." is a do-it-yourselfer.  As we've done in the past, the first commenter gets to pick today's topic of conversation.

Generally speaking, "Spotlight On..." is for single creators.  For example, in the past we've started conversations on Barry Windsor-Smith, John Romita, and Joe Sinnott.  We'd appreciate conversations that lean toward the positive side of things; rip jobs should be avoided.  This is not to say that we don't tolerate honesty, but let's try to keep the focus on the meritorious aspect of a life spent in comics.

Thanks for holding it down for us!


Edo Bosnar said...

Um, when was there a "Spotlight On Rich Buckler" post? Because I don't remember it, and just went through your archives and checked all of the posts tagged "Spotlight On..." and Rich Buckler and couldn't find it. I'm asking because I really wanted to suggest Buckler as a topic...

Doug said...

"Oops!" to me, Edo. I've amended the main part of the post, replacing Buckler's name with BWS.

So, if Edo is still game, today's artist of choice is Mr. Rich Buckler.

My apologies, and looking forward to everyone's comments!


Inkstained Wretch said...

I loved Buckler's work on the first year or so of All-Star Squadron. There's a nice edge of realism to his work that really worked great with DC's Golden Age characters.

Buckler also was one of the top guys during Archie Comics' brief revival of their superhero comics in the early- to mid-80s. He did a lot of their covers and penciled many of the stories.

I think that was where I first became aware of his work. The Archie revival looked haphazard; I am guessing it was chaos behind the scenes, but some of those issues were a lot of fun.

Edo Bosnar said...

I thought Buckler deserved a spotlight because he's such an unsung hero of the Bronze Age. He did a ton of work for both Marvel and DC, but even so, not many comics fans will say he's their absolute favorite artist. He also caught a lot of flack for, initially, copying Kirby's style too much and then for being an Adams clone. But I think he had a nice solid style of his own and he was quite good at pacing and panel design.
Personally, I love his art in those first few issues of the "Panther's Rage" story in Jungle Action. His work on Deathlok has been widely praised, and I think a really good showcase of his style, including the rather unusual yet effective panel design I mentioned, can be found in the one and only issue of Demon Hunter published by Atlas in the mid-70s.
And Inkstained, I agree with you about those initial issues of All-Star Squadron, although I think he only drew the first five or six (plus that free preview insert in an issue of Justice League). I really wish he had stayed with that series longer.

Karen said...

I always thought Buckler was a really solid artist. he could tell a story and he had a dynamic style. He was never one of my favorites but I never opened up a book and saw his name in the credits and flinched. Good,dependable artist, sometimes even spectacular.

Anonymous said...

I walked into a newsagents adjacent Twickenham station (West London) in 1976, saw the cover of Astonishing Tales #34 in the spinner and thought ‘Oh my God, what is this? I just have to have this’. I quickly collected the rest of the Deathlok’s. I was therefore primed from very early to be a big Buckler fan, but it never really happened. For either of us. I like his FF, and I loved Deathlok, although it should have either stopped at AT #35 or carried on. AT 36 and MS 33 are just annoying in their incompleteness. I also liked his 3 issue stint on the Avengers 101-103. Adams & Smith can’t have been easy to follow. But he seems to have been forever a fill-in man. Sure he did plenty of work, but apart from that 30 issue run on the FF, did he ever really take his coat off? I’m ignorant of DC so if he did a 10 year stint on Wonder Woman, please put me straight, but he seemed to be forever a supply teacher.

Huge poster on my lounge wall, btw. Astonishing Tales #34. Hangs next to Surfer #4, so it’s in good company. Whatever else he didn’t do, he did do Deathlok.


Doug said...

For me, the most amazing thing about Rich Buckler was his chameleon-style. I could open up two books published within months of each other and get two totally different art styles. He could be Kirby-like, Adams-like, Buckler-like, etc. I really felt that his two mini-series on Namor and the original Torch were top-notch, and maybe most indicative of his talent as "himself".


Anonymous said...

Also...why is it that when Smith apes Kirby we call it a clever and cheeky homage and when Buckler does it, we call it swiping?

According to Gil Kane, they were all told to adopt the house style, which was Kirby.


BTW - Doug & Karen - is it my imagination or do you feel more free to jump in at the moment? I sometimes have the impression (under normal circumstances) that you're hanging back (moderator-stylie) so as not to influence the tone or direction or debate until near the end, but as you're not setting the topics at the moment, you're throwing your hats straight in with the rest of us. Might be my imagination, but I like it!


Doug said...

Richard --

In regard to your last query, I always try to approach my commenting with sort of a "freedom to be wrong" rather than any sort of a "mandate to be right". I hope that comes across on the blog. I never mind when someone corrects me -- that's what we're here for is camaraderie and (hopefully) learning.

What I have found interesting over the past week-plus is how long a post sits before someone jumps in. I don't know if people are hesitant to be "the starter" or cannot come up with a "good idea" or what. Sometimes we're rolling right after the new day goes live, other days it seems to take several hours. Just an observation.

But in terms of the "inmates running the asylum" aspect of this month, I do like it. I've enjoyed the freedom that you all seem to be having!

Suggestion: I know Rip does a great job on his blog of hitting the Charlton stuff. Today we've had Archie and Atlas brought up. I know nothing about those companies and their properties. I would encourage some of our frequent commenters to get into the blogosphere as producers and run some posts on those favorite titles and characters who aren't from the Big Two.


Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, I actually have a few ideas about Charlton and/or its specific characters for some of these DIY posts, although I'm betting Rip has some even better ideas.

Back to Buckler - and I hope Karen & Doug don't mind me posting links to 'rival' blogs - a few years back, Buckler did a series of memoir-type posts for two blogs. One was 20th Century Danny Boy (, and all of Buckler's posts can be found under the label "From the Desk of Rich Buckler". The other blog is Diversions of the Groovy Kind, which I hope everyone here is already familiar with ( – if you're not a regular reader shame on you). Just look for the " 'Swash' Buckler Saturdays" tag.
These posts are absolutely fascinating - trust me, quite a few lunch breaks ran long for me as I sat with my eyes glued to the screen reading them. Also at Groove's site, Buckler more recently wrote a few posts under the title "Rich Buckler's Secrets Behind the Comics" which are also really interesting, in that he talks about the dos and don'ts of comics art and his own approach.

david_b said...

I mainly know Buckler from his tenure after Big John B on FF. It made me miss John B quite a bit, but yes, his Kirby-aping style was pretty prevalent there as was with the first GS Avengers with Nuklo. It was surreal seeing the Kirby-styled Mantis with all the 'This One' comments.

Of course, when Rich got replaced on FF, I started missing his work as well. A lot of it had to do with Joe Sinnott, I suspect.

I don't have those Avengers issues (101-103), so I'll have to pick 'em up.

Doug, as for late-starting topics, I haven't jumped in early on purpose because I typically check in here just after 6am and having already started a discussion last week, I didn't want to make a habit of it (just wanted others to have the opportunity...).

Anonymous said...

Hi David – those 4 issues ought, by rights, to be rubbish (it’s actually 104 as well, I remembered wrongly). Post K/S war, post Barry Smith and 100th issue extravaganza, these issues are a handover time between Thomas and Englehart.

101 is Thomas re-framing a Harlan Ellison story (in which the Avengers are virtually bystanders), 102 is half written by Thomas and half by Claremont, which explains why there are two plots competing for attention, and Thomas was handing over to Englehart with no regular artists scheduled.

Should have been a mess, but thanks to RT’s continuity it’s a great little run - we go back to the Wonder Man /Vision thing, with the added twist that the Grim Reaper now thinks of the Vision as his brother reincarnated, the nascent love triangle between Vision, Wanda & Hawkeye is developed, the Sentinels return and for the first time tangle with someone other than the Xmen and we get the 2nd hint that the Vision’s origins are not all they seem when a Sentinel analyses him and announces him to be over 30 years old, much to everyone’s surprise. Loads of continuity, great stories and characterisation and really nice art from Buckler /Sinnott. I seem to remember really liking their Vision.

Get thee to eBay, my friend.


Bruce said...

I agree that Rich Buckler has done a lot of really good work over the years. But he doesn't always spring to mind as a top artist from the Bronze Age, and I think that's because he didn't have many long, sustained runs on a particular title. He worked on just about every character under the sun, but there aren't many "signature" Buckler characters or series.

So I'd call him an underrated Bronze Age artist. I'm almost always impressed whenver I see his work.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Rich Buckler definitely is one of those 'unsung hero' artists who produced good work but never got the public adulation like some others did.

I do remember his art on Deathlok, though. Good stuff.

- Mike 'kudos to Buckler' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Fred W. Hill said...

Until I got a load of back issues in the late '80s, for a long time issue #104 of the Avengers was my the oldest I had of that series, Thomas' last but with some great art by Buckler. Of course, at when I got that mag I had no idea he was aping Neal Adams' style and to be honest, I thought he mimicked Adams a heck of a lot better than he did Kirby. BTW, I believe the reason Buckler gets a lot more grief for his Kirbyisms than Smith was that Smith only did it (to my knowledge) very early in his career but quickly developed a style that was very much his own while Buckler not only aped Kirby for much of his later run on the FF (his earlier issues seem more in his own style than obviously like Kirby), but most notoriously he out and out swiped several Kirby drawings in ways that could not be taken as either pure coincidence or homage.
BTW, I thought he did some excellent work on Deathlok.

Rip Jagger said...

Love me some Rich Buckler!

Buckler gets knocked around because of his ability to ape other artists, and perhaps in some ways that criticism is valid, but I dismiss it since clearly his tendency to imitate talents like John Buscema, Gil Kane, Neal Adams, and most famously Jack Kirby is a skill he has in addition to a compelling original approach which is all his own.

His work on Deathlok is outstanding and worthy of more attention in the comics community.

His stint as editor of the Red Circle line of Archie heroes was outstanding, my favorite revival of those heroes.

I had the pleasure to meet Buckler a few years ago, and he seemed just what I expected, a laconic fellow who seemed to endure the experience, but nonetheless a guy I admire quite a lot.

Rip Off

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