Saturday, August 3, 2013

Who's the Best... Inker on John Buscema?


Doug:  Given my love affair with the artwork of Big John Buscema, and given our love-in over his work on Avengers #56 just yesterday, and also given that in September I intend to showcase his first two issues on the monthly Conan the Barbarian, I thought it would be fun if we discussed the many men (and women?  I don't know, other than his grandaughter, Stephanie) who've put brush over his pencils.  Who did you think was a great match, who wasn't, what were some memorable jobs, and so forth.  I know this one should be lively, weekend aside.  Just in preview of those Conan reviews next month, issue #25 is inked by Sal Buscema and John Severin, and #26 by Ernie Chan.  The two books side-by-side could not look more different...

Doug:  For those of you curious or without that trained eye, the Avengers cover was inked by Tom Palmer, the Thor page by Tony DeZuniga, and the King Conan splash by Ernie Chan.




21 comments:

Colin Jones said...

Joe Sinnot was always excellent and inked John Buscema on Fantastic Four , didn't he. Alfredo Alcala also provided great inking on some of Buscema's Savage Sword Of Conan work including " Iron Shadows In The Moon " , my favourite ever Conan story.

J.A. Morris said...

I'm going with Palmer, since the reprint of Avengers #97 was the first comic that comes to mind when I think of "Big John".

cerebus660 said...

It's very difficult to pick a "best" inker for Buscema. I love the Kirby-esque look Joe Sinnott brought to Big John's pencils on Thor, but I also love Tom Palmer's dynamic inking on the two Avengers runs he shared with Buscema.

When I think of Buscema I think of Conan, and my fave inker on that strip was the late, great Ernie Chan. He added a real texture and savagery to Buscema's artwork that made their version pretty much the definitive one. ( I have to say that I love Barry Smith's Conan too - there just wasn't enough of it! ) As Colin Jones said previously, Alfred Alcala did some wonderful work on Buscema's pencils too, although his beautiful rendering tended to swamp Big John's linework.

Of course, as far as Buscema ( and a lot of his fans ) were concerned the best inker for John Buscema was... John Buscema. Unfortunately, there weren't too many occasions when he had the time to produce full artwork. But when he did it was a knockout!

HannibalCat said...

My favourite Buscema inker is...Buscema. Sal the younger brother. His inks over John's pencils on The Avengers and The Silver Surfer are so muscular.

Matt Celis said...

Palmer added a special lifelike quality and gets my vote. Their work together in the '80s was spectacular. It got me to buy Avengers, which I was never that interested in (as I'm more of a solo book fan).

david_b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Does Comics said...

I've got to go for George Klein. I love his inks on the Avengers - especially issue #61, the Surtur and Ymir/Dr Strange tale.

For me, Buscema's strengths as a penciller were a combination of elegance and dynamism, and Klein's inks always brought those two qualities out beautifully.

Ray Tomczak said...

I'll have to go with what's proving to be the consensus opinion here. Not only was Tom Palmer the best inker for John Buscema, but for any other penciller whose work he applied his brush to, including Gene Colan and Neal Adams.

Rip Jagger said...

I'll add my vote for Sal Buscema. He gave his brother's pencils a brisk energy even John's own inking didn't deliver. Yet it was pure Buscema through and through.

Other worthy talents were Tom Palmer, Ernie Chan, and Alfredo Alcala, all three strong stylists able to take John's strong designs and make great art of them.

I'm not a fan of Joe Sinnott's efforts on Buscema. As great as Sinnott is on Kirby and others, I always thought he was too smooth for Buscema somehow.

Rip Off

david_b said...

Tried to post earlier off my blackberry, but kept coming up with spelling errors..

For inker's I'd go for a few over Palmer, noteably Sal, Joe Sinnott (my fav team on Bronze FF and Thor issues), and Klein as presented yesterday. All very clean and showcasing Big John's beauty.

Like Matt and others here, was glad to see the Buscema-Palmer team back on Avengers in the 80s, and I like how Chan brought forth the intrinsic savagery/honor of Conan, but if you're asking about the best (or obviously our favorites..), there you go. I'd say Joe Sinnott.

Graham said...

For his superhero work, I think Palmer was perfect for him, or brother Sal. While I liked others who inked his pencils, usually you got more of them than you did him.

For his Conan work, I thought DeZuniga and Buscema himself were the best. Again, the Alcala work is beautiful, but I saw more of Alcala than Buscema....ditto Ernie Chan.

Edo Bosnar said...

Tough call. I'd go with Sal, Big John himself (check out Thor Annual #13 if you need convincing on that mark) and Tony De Zuniga. In general, I love the artwork in those Savage Sword stories inked by Alcala, but I agree with Graham: there seemed to be more Alcala there than Buscema.

Doug said...

I agree with a lot of the points here so far --

Alfredo Alcala was always a part of lushly rendered art, sometimes to the detriment of the original pencils. But man -- still pretty!

Tom Palmer -- nuff said!

Sal Buscema -- enhanced John's work while leaving it with a purity that allowed John's spirit and intention to shine through.

Joe Sinnott -- well, Joe Sinnott...

Ernie Chan -- my feeling on Ernie is that he benefited as a penciler from his year's of embellishing John. I personally don't care for Ernie on John, although like many of you it's difficult to separate the two when thinking of Conan. To me, Ernie falls in the category of Joltin' Joe -- solid, professional, slick... but heavy on the Ernie and hiding the John.

Tony DeZuniga -- there's just something about those eyes. The general line is sketchy, but not like Vinnie Colletta's line. The eyes always appear so deep set to me, though (see our review of Thor Annual #5 if you want a lot of images), making all of the characters seem like bad guys. So in a Conan or Thor mag, I'd say he's great on half of the characters, but just not quite the right look facially on the other half.

Pablo Marcos -- has anyone mentioned him yet? I'm not a huge fan of Pablo's although I certainly recognize him as a capable artist. Just not my cup of tea.

I'm sure more artists will come up as we move through the weekend. And by the way, if you haven't been over to ol' Groove's blog, he was several Buscema/Sinnott FF splashes posted this weekend -- check 'em out!

Doug

Colin Jones said...

There was definitely one Conan story inked by Pablo Marcos, his artwork always looked quite odd. He did a lot of work that American comics fans never saw as it was exclusive to British Marvel - drawing covers for the UK weeklies etc.

david_b said...

Thanks for the mention of ol' Groove's site, those Buscema/Sinnott splash pages are so incredible.

I still love the splash for ish 138 (my 1st FF issue) with the shadowing on Wyatt as the team enters in the door surprised. Ol'Groove will show that in Part Two...

Garett said...

Probably my favorite is DeZuniga on Buscema in Savage Sword. I like Chan's early inking in the regular Conan comic, but by the later Savage Swords was getting sloppy. Buscema's inking on himself is a rare treat.

Palmer, Sal, Alcala, yes all good. Sinnott on Thor was good. Doug I did like Marcos on Buscema, in Savage Sword #1. Also Giacoia and Adkins in Submariner #5 and 6.

Don't like Klaus Janson on Buscema.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have to cop out and go with what's been given already - Joe Sinnott and Sal Buscema on FF, Tom Palmer on the Avengers, and both Ernie Chan & Tony Dezuniga on Conan. Alcala was great too on Conan, but he literally obliterated John's pencils.


- Mike 'I ink my own pencils with a ball point pen' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that shoulda been Sal Buscema on the Avengers.


- Mike 'mistake prone at night' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Colin Jones said...

The Conan story I was thinking of was about 3 issues before Belit arrived but Buscema's artwork looked almost unrecognisable under Pablo Marcos' inking.

Karen said...

I'll be boring and say Palmer and Klein.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion:
Bronze,silver,gold
Nr 3 : John Buscema
Nr 2 : John Buscema
and...drumroll :
Nr 1 : JOHN BUSCEMA !
Thank you and good night!

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