John Buscema has been my favorite comic book artist from the very beginning of my time reading comics. He was ascending in fame and responsibility at Marvel as Jack Kirby, the "King of Comics" withdrew to the warmer climes of a "Fourth World". Buscema would become Marvel's mainstay artist, the guy they tapped to draw all the first issues and major series. He was a supremely gifted illustrator of superheroes and yet by all accounts he hated them, found them foolish looking. He was a man who'd found his inspiration in Hal Foster's Prince Valiant and he thought that legendary comic strip was the peak of comics. He got his chance when he belatedly was given the reins of the Conan the Barbarian comic, at a time when it had proven itself sufficiently successful to warrant an artist of his caliber (and page rate). He stayed with Conan pretty from that day forth and later got a chance to draw Tarzan of the Apes. But he drew other things as well, such as legendary run on the Silver Surfer and had many stints in several different decades of The Avengers.
He drew them all at one time or another and eventually became the guy who showed us all how to draw the Marvel way. The first thing I think of when I think of Buscema is gravity, no artist I've even seen had such a feel for the way the human form is rooted to the Earth and no artist ever drew that relationship with more force. His heroes lift themselves from the ground with effort and they punch with explosive power. His machines, different from Kirby's, are sinuous and serpentine in their essence. Like Kirby in earlier years, later work by Buscema seems to fade a bit as he's only supplying breakdowns. That's not going to get it for fans like me -- I want the hard stuff, the ass-kicking pure "Big" John Buscema, my absolute favorite comic book artist ever.