Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Marvel Marches On!


By the time that Mighty Marvel had its very own convention in 1975, Jack "King" Kirby was long gone and was wrapping up his stint at DC and Stan "The Man" Lee was working mostly off in La-La Land trying to get Marvel a footprint of sorts in other media. The latter seems obvious nowadays but at the time was a real slog. At Marvel the artist who became the mainstay was "Big" John Buscema and it's Buscema well and properly inked by Joe Sinnott who gives us the fantastic poster above.


Here's a closer look at the artwork itself. There are a host of characters here which Buscema had drawn many times and with which he was identified. He had long stints on both the Fantastic Four and especially the Mighty Thor, and as you can see Conan the Barbarian is front and center here. But also in this image are a lot of characters with which Buscema was far less familiar or less identified with. There's tiny bits of Werewolf by Night and Man-Thing as well a a little portrait of Doc Savage. Of course Buscema went on to draw Doc and his Fab Five. It seems at some point in time John Buscema drew everything.


Here are the rugged pencils for this delightful poster. The power of Buscema is even more evident here as his figure work comes to the fore absent the color which sometimes obscures or distracts from that aspect of the art. John Buscema was easily Marvel's most important artist in the Bronze Age and this poster shows us why that was true. He was not Marvel's greatest artist, that mantle is Kirby's and even Buscema was quick to acknowledge that fact, but aside from "The King", there's no doubt Buscema was a utterly fantastic runner-up.

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10 comments:

  1. This poster, without the comic con info, was given away as a free gift in The TITANS #1, a b&w British weekly published in 1975. It was the first Marvel U.K. weekly to be done in what was called the 'landscape' format, where the mag was turned on its side (the spine becoming what would've been the bottom edge on a regular comic) and two U.S. pages being printed side-by-side per U.K. page. I've still got my original issue and poster. Keep on trooping, Rip.

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    1. I will. It's getting better as the days go by. Spinning away time here is a great distraction.

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  2. Great poster - Interesting that only one mutant (Scarlet Witch) is featured on it, as X-titles and characters would come to dominate Marvel's output less than a decade later. Stay strong, Rip.

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    1. Thanks for the support. The pre-mutant age was curious indeed compared to what happened only a few years later. In more recent times the Avengers have gotten that overdone treatment.

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  3. Look at how serious Reed, Sue, Wanda, Shang-Chi, et al. are in the pencil work before Sinnott got to them. Interesting contrast!

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    1. Buscema was the absolute master of the furrowed brow for sure.

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  4. Love, love, love this poster!….If it were made available again (which I realize is highly doubtful due to the copyrighted charters like Doc & Conan) – I would have it framed & matted and displayed on my living room wall. Would imagine any good or better condition originals go for a pretty penny as well…

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    1. I could get with that sentiment. It's a dandy.

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  5. Great poster! I wonder what the convention was like?

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    1. There's a link in the post above to a YouTube video which gives a glimpse. Those were different days indeed.

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