Sal Buscema had followed in his big brother John’s footsteps, rather big footsteps at that, into the world of comic book illustration in 1969. He had initially wanted to be an inker, but in order to get full time work from Marvel Comics he became a penciller. He started for Marvel by inking his brother’s pencils for the original Silver Surfer series, but he taught himself (with some help from John) how to become a dynamic penciller in the Marvel style. Stan Lee saw and liked Sal’s work and soon Sal was drawing for the world’s greatest comic book company.
Sal was good. He was a capable storyteller, but his work wasn’t as exciting as his legendary brother, at least to my eyes. However, when paired with the right inker (Klaus Janson for instance) Sal’s pages were pretty damn good. Check out Defenders #19 (January 1975) to see what I mean.
Then, after being in the business for nearly twenty years, Sal started penciling and inking The Spectacular Spider-Man series beginning with issue #134 (January 1988). He soon began to make changes to his style. I’m not sure why his work changed, but his drawings became different, surprisingly different from what he had been doing for so long. Looking at the covers he produced for the series, I can see influences of a few other younger artists: Frank Miller, John Romita Jr., and more than just a little Walt Simonson.
His work was changing, but most still retained something of the old Sal style. Then I saw this month’s great cover. I was stunned to discover in was drawn by Sal Buscema. When I saw his name right there in the lower right-hand corner my jaw dropped.
It’s issue #203 (August 1993).
I would never have guessed Sal Buscema had produced that cover. It is so different from what I had known of the younger Buscema’s work. And it’s great. A fantastic close-up of the character Carnage.
It is eye-changing, as every great cover must be. It’s simple and dynamic at the same time. I’m sure it was quick to produce, but quickness doesn’t take away from its greatness. It adds to it.
And it’s a Sal Buscema. Incredible!
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Warehouse Find is the official blog of NostalgiaZone.com, where you can find books, games, toys, cards, and a huge selection of Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age comic books. Jim also has a podcast called Dimland Radio. He’d love it if you checked it out. It’s available on iTunes.