Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Big Debut of Big John

We know that when artist John Buscema came to Marvel in the mid-1960s, he would eventually cut his teeth as the regular penciller on The Avengers--and the rest of his amazing career at Marvel, of course, is history. But it was only a few months before that assignment when we saw his initial work for the company, a story in Tales To Astonish featuring the incredible Hulk:

While you can see telltale signs of Buscema's style in these panels, there also seem to be indications of Marie Severin's influence in his work, particularly in the faces of characters like Rick Jones and Betty Ross. Also, I hesitate to say, the issue's menace wasn't exactly inspired:

Yet by the next issue, Buscema has begun to find his rhythm, and there are more of his distinctive touches to see:

Even the story's menace was a little less cartoonish:

So given the foundation of Buscema's early work, it was interesting to see him segue to the Avengers just a few months later, where his style had become more defined even in that short time:

(Yeah, I know what you're thinking--who knew Wanda was a gymnast? We never see her do gymnast moves in battle, do we?)

Buscema is even developing a flair for more sophisticated technology and abstract scenes:

We even get a peek of things to come with a certain foursome:

The story's villain is Diablo, which is probably the one quibble I have with Buscema's work in this issue:

I don't know precisely how Hank Pym's goggles work, because whatever image he's seeing of Diablo couldn't possibly match any description Reed Richards gave him of this foe. Buscema ditches Diablo's previous look entirely, so that he now resembles any villain du jour. And wasn't Diablo an alchemist? Why is he now using hand-held weapons that discharge rays?

At any rate, Buscema gives the fight scenes plenty of room to breathe:

It's a respectable debut from an artist who, like his equally famous brother, becomes one of Marvel's most distinguished talents.

1 comment:

Kid said...

John's first story was a bit underwhelming, but he soon got into his stride - especially once he adopted and adapted Kirby's storytelling principles. And his Avengers work with Tom Palmer was top-notch.