Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Avenging Son

Dr. StrangeFate was one of the places where it first took hold.

Where I discovered the power and inker had over a penciller.

I'd seen Jose' Luis Garcia Lopez's art before. Mostly on the sort of generic style guides where Batman was, more often than not, swooping down on nothing, gigantic grin on his face.

This type of image was beautifully inked by Dick Giordano.

Where Giordano made Garcia Lopez more accessible, inker Kevin Nowlan made him pop.

To this day, if any asks me the standard to which I hold comic art, I will show you the Dr. StrangeFate one-shot.

It had happened about a decade before when John Buscema returned to The Avengers along with inker Tom Palmer.

Buscema's figure work was flawless. His heroes strode the panels like giants. And his women...

Buscema, in my opinion, was one of comics' most underrated "good girl" artist, mainly because he'd become so well known for drawing so many bad girls and damsels-in-distress in the pages of Conan.

Buscema's women seemed to have a little extra "dip" in their hip, meaning his women looked like they had weight. Good weight. The type of weight an active woman can have. To this day, I am a fan of The Wasp simply because of the way Buscema presented her during the criminally out-of-print Avengers: Under Siege. Buscema imbued this former cipher with a bearing I'd never known possible. With the news of each fallen comrade, he had her body language go from sad, to worried, to distraught and finally, when enough was enough, from determined to triumphant.

These latter traits were usually the province afforded her male counterparts and maybe, in the right hands, attitudinally, Wonder Woman. In Buscema, body language was what it was all about.

A gesture spoke volumes. Every character seemed to have their own way of moving. With Buscema, one never had to guess. It was proven in the panel.

Buscema avoided the usual theatrics involved in drawing superheroes. Buscema drew people in fantastic situations. Buscema's Captain America looked and carried himself like a six-foot plus man and when he had him through his shield... maaaaan... you could practically imagine the velocity as it left his red-gloved hand. His inker, Palmer gave every line a classicism that enhanced Buscema's already fluid line..

One of my favorite Buscema moments was when The Wasp, just returned from the gym and clad in workout gear, is caught offguard upon realizing Starfox is on the same elevator as she. For those who know nothing of Starfox, he's a notorious flirt who also happens to have the power to, I'm not kidding you, become a walking roofie. The awkwardness with which he draws The Wasp in the one page allowed in the script is a workshop on how to draw comics.

With Buscema the simple was made always glorious.

Who were some of your favorite artist teams?


Rich said...

100% with you on Buscema. Teamed with Tom Palmer, he could do no wrong.

Also a fan of Ron Frenz and Joe Sinnott - in fact, Sinnott is an amazing inker.

Adj said...

Alan Davis and Paul Neary. I'll always, always count their work on Excalibur to be some of my all time favourite artwork.

ChrisM said...

ah Buscema/Palmer...wonderful days. Buscema on the classic older Avengers with the Vision, Black Panther, Cap. and etc. were some of my favorites...

Byrne/Austin in the old X-Men days...

ya know who else had great work in combination with Palmer-Gene Colan! His work on Tomb of Dracula was some of the best.

I'm sure there's more..but nothing rolls off the top of my head..

Dr.Ink! said...

I gotta go with Chic Stone inking Jack Kirby. No one really understood his pencils like Stone. BTW, Chic Stone did some STRONG work on Nemesis (ACG hero).
Tom Palmer's best ink work was over Neal Adams on X Men, IMHO.
Also, Dick Dillon & Dick Giordano on JLA was phenomenal!
Honorable Mention: Sinnott inking Buckler on the Avengers.

Rambo said...

No love for the modern artists? Doug Mahnke and Tom Nguyen always do it for me and as much as I hate to say it, Jim Lee and Scott Williams are a pretty formidable team. But really, if you wanna talk about women that pop, nobody does 'em like Adam Hughes. And Ryan Sook is killin' it in Wednesday Comics, Prince Valiant style!

Devon Sanders said...

@ Rambo

God, I am probably the world's biggest Mahnke fan and while I love Nguyen's inks on him, I actually prefer Christian Alamy's line. It just has a fluidity that seems to smooth out some of Mahnke's natural edginess.

And as far as modern cats go, check me out next week.