Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The World's Greatest Double-Takes

Even though, at times, you felt like asking "Will the real Rich Buckler please stand up?" when looking at some of his work for Marvel, I really admired his art on Avengers, Thor, and Fantastic Four. Just look at these beautiful double-page spreads from his FF run:

As you may have noticed in Buckler's work on both the FF and Thor, many of his panels reflected a strong influence of artist Jack Kirby, though I'm probably being diplomatic by terming it as "influence." By that I mean that often you would see Buckler adapt much of Kirby's prior work to supplement his own--a puzzling choice, since this artist has proven he's more than capable of turning in his own sterling art. In short, the man's work needs no propping up--and this experiment (if we're calling it that) of blending prior work with his own would have been interesting for an issue, maybe two, with the plug being pulled at that point.

We've taken a look at some examples from Thor--so let's take a brief look at panels from Fantastic Four, where this practice was taken almost to extremes.

As with the examples from Thor, you'll first see the original Kirby work, followed by Buckler's adaptation. It wasn't easy to narrow these down; at times, you begin to feel like you're playing whack-a-mole, where you come across one only to see another pop up shortly after.

I think several of these examples deal with the Thing, so we might as well start with him. But we'll see most of the rest of the FF, along with one or two other characters.

 You can obviously have too much of a good thing.


david_b said...

I never thought Buckler quite drew Ben Grimm right. The face features were good (which is rare for an artist...), but the slug shown from ish 155 didn't look right.

Buckler did do good work, harkening the old Kirby days, but once you had the glorious Buscema-Sinnott tenure, I missed 'em terribly when they left. I stopped collecting by around ish 151, so I left before Perez. I came back for a dozen issues around 198.

Again, Buscema-Sinnott were my FF artists, bar none.

Anonymous said...

I was always under the impression that Marvel wanted Buckler to imitate Kirby at this point, to keep the look of the book consistent, since it was so obvious he was swiping.

Comicsfan said...

Anon, that's one possibility, though I frankly can't see Marvel signing on to so much recycling of Kirby's prior work, particularly when Buckler's style at this time mimicked Kirby a great deal already. But you touch on a more interesting point that Buckler may have simply been adhering to the edict of either the writer or editor of the book, at least as far as giving both Fantastic Four and Thor a distinctive Kirby appearance in artwork. As far as the large amount of swiping that Buckler made a part and parcel of his work, it would certainly have been a considerable undertaking for an artist on a deadline, assuming it was done at his own initiative; and if done at the urging (and with the blessing of) his editor(s), the thought is disturbing. Either way, I prefer to think that it was a case of a simple error in judgment, which I realize may be a generous assessment.

david_b, no doubt that the team of Buscema/Sinnott made quite an impact on Fantastic Four, though Romita's work on the title stands out for me as well.

david_b said...

Actually, that's charge of Buckler imitating Kirby bears weight. I don't recall the page but there's some blog out here where a half-dozen Buckler panels are matched up side-by-side to Kirby and there's striking resemblance. So there was at times 'intentional styling' in terms of composition and action.

Buckler was alright, but when you at times consciously have an artist 'apeing' another artist, you end up missing the original artist they copied, and miss what original style the new artist could bring.

Like in Bronze CA&F, I LOVED Sal Buscema's work, but when Kirby came in, nearly all the built-up storylines and relationships Englehart built up (making it a top seller..) was wiped out. It was a step back, which reminds me of the Buckler art. Still good, better than Perez on FF.

Starlin was offered FF during this time.., you can just PONDER where he would have taken Thanos's saga if he would have said yes. I actually loved his FF/Thing art in Marvel Feature 11 and 12.

Great thoughts, guys.

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