Was John Buscema His Own Best Inker?
2 2

Was John Buscema His Own Best Inker?   

43 members have voted

  1. 1. Was John Buscema His Own Best Inker?

    • Yes
      13
    • No
      21
    • Hell, no
      9
    • Pass the crack or whatever the legal equivalent is in your jursidiction
      0


56 posts in this topic

26,279 posts

DrDroom (IIRC, this is longtime collector w/initials A.S.) posited to me that John Buscema is "so obviously his own best inker" in another thread:

10 hours ago, drdroom said:

Romance, shmo-mance. Pencillers are almost always their own best inkers, for obvious reasons, unless they just don't bother to ink. John Buscema is so obviously his own best inker to me that I would have to think you just don't really like Buscema's drawing that much, if you prefer it modified by someone else.

My question to the Boards is:  do you agree?  I know other longtime collector B.P. has been a leading proponent of this notion, but, I have never been on board with this.  Personally, I prefer Palmer over Buscema the most, but, also Sinnott, Giacoia, Sal B., Klein, Adkins, Alcala...well, I guess I'm just not a fan of JB's own inks.  To me, his line just did not have enough weight to it - it was often very loose and wispy and just not strong enough.  This is very evident in much of his '80s era Conan work, but, you can also see it in his '70s work as well, such as the Conan #94 (1978) cover that was at auction not long ago - that cover desperately needed stronger, bolder inks to really make the image pop.  

My take on it is that this idea that "pencillers are almost always their own best inkers" is largely a romantic notion that is often not grounded in reality.  I don't see what "obvious reasons" there are for this to be true.  Just because they may have a particular vision of what the art should look like, doesn't mean that they are the best one to execute all aspects of it.  Some inkers are just better at that job. 

As I said in the Neal Adams thread, it is true that the penciller is sometimes his own best inker (there are also many artists who were never/rarely inked by anyone else, so, by default, I guess you would lump them all in this category, even though we wouldn't really know if their work could be improved upon by someone else).  But, in many other cases, it is the case that this notion is not so.  Almost no one would argue that John Byrne was his own best inker.  Jim Lee, though a very good inker, was/is not his own best inker in the minds of most (that honor goes to Scott Williams, despite his protestations to the contrary).  Jack Kirby, not his own best inker.  Gil Kane, not his own best inker. 

Personally, I think one can admire other aspects of John Buscema's artistry (composition, storytelling ability, character design, etc.) without necessarily being a big fan of his inking. 

So, what sayest thou??

Edited by delekkerste

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,947 posts

I certainly have no objection to his inking, but I really thought Tom Palmer and Alfredo Alcala were excellent. I know JB wasn't necessarily  fond of AA, but I was. 

I do think we'll see a response from @Brian Peck before too long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,525 posts
7 minutes ago, alxjhnsn said:

I certainly have no objection to his inking, but I really thought Tom Palmer and Alfredo Alcala were excellent. I know JB wasn't necessarily  fond of AA, but I was. 

I do think we'll see a response from @Brian Peck before too long.

Completely agree on both fronts. Tom Palmer is damn near everyone's best inker, but the more I look at Alcala, on certain artists, it just looks epic and borderline historic. He just brought a new layer of complexity and detail to guys like JB and also Don Newton (im loving these batman pieces the AZ guy is selling and won a few). Ive seen some art also I think was inked by Sal as well I thought looked really good too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
62 posts
52 minutes ago, delekkerste said:

So, what sayest thou??

Tom Palmer brought out the best in his art IMO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5,214 posts
12 minutes ago, zhamlau said:

Tom Palmer is damn near everyone's best inker, but...

Yes Palmer beats JB on himself. To the point that when JB went super loose layouts (if you can even call them that) in the 80s...Palmer filled in the blanks better than JB. And I think he probably knew that too which might have been why he was so loose then anyway. Or he just hated, hated, hated doing superheroes -again (thinking of his long Avengers run in the late 80s here).

However, Palmer on Zeck, those three wraparound X-Men Classics covers...not a fan of that combination at all. Serviceable, but Zeck himself or Beatty would have been much better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26,279 posts
1 hour ago, vodou said:

However, Palmer on Zeck, those three wraparound X-Men Classics covers...not a fan of that combination at all. Serviceable, but Zeck himself or Beatty would have been much better.

I really liked those covers, even if Palmer's inks overpowered Zeck's pencils (one certainly wouldn't buy one of these cover originals as a "Zeck" example, as none of them are distinctively Zeck-like IMO).  I think Zeck or Zeck/Beatty on those covers might have looked a bit cartoony vis-a-vis the gritty/realistic Adams/Palmer artwork inside.  Palmer made the covers look more consistent with the interiors, IMO, and so it worked for me.  But, YMMV. 2c  

Now, back to the John Buscema discussion. :popcorn: 

Edited by delekkerste

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,525 posts

Why not add a poll "who was Big Johns best inker?" quick way to suss it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,102 posts
10 hours ago, delekkerste said:

DrDroom (IIRC, this is longtime collector w/initials A.S.) posited to me that John Buscema is "so obviously his own best inker" in another thread:

My question to the Boards is:  do you agree?  I know other longtime collector B.P. has been a leading proponent of this notion, but, I have never been on board with this.  Personally, I prefer Palmer over Buscema the most, but, also Sinnott, Giacoia, Sal B., Klein, Adkins, Alcala...well, I guess I'm just not a fan of JB's own inks.  To me, his line just did not have enough weight to it - it was often very loose and wispy and just not strong enough.  This is very evident in much of his '80s era Conan work, but, you can also see it in his '70s work as well, such as the Conan #94 (1978) cover that was at auction not long ago - that cover desperately needed stronger, bolder inks to really make the image pop.  

My take on it is that this idea that "pencillers are almost always their own best inkers" is largely a romantic notion that is often not grounded in reality.  I don't see what "obvious reasons" there are for this to be true.  Just because they may have a particular vision of what the art should look like, doesn't mean that they are the best one to execute all aspects of it.  Some inkers are just better at that job. 

As I said in the Neal Adams thread, it is true that the penciller is sometimes his own best inker (there are also many artists who were never/rarely inked by anyone else, so, by default, I guess you would lump them all in this category, even though we wouldn't really know if their work could be improved upon by someone else).  But, in many other cases, it is the case that this notion is not so.  Almost no one would argue that John Byrne was his own best inker.  Jim Lee, though a very good inker, was/is not his own best inker in the minds of most (that honor goes to Scott Williams, despite his protestations to the contrary).  Jack Kirby, not his own best inker.  Gil Kane, not his own best inker. 

Personally, I think one can admire other aspects of John Buscema's artistry (composition, storytelling ability, character design, etc.) without necessarily being a big fan of his inking. 

So, what sayest thou??

Let’s ask Scott Williams. This is his page, and it’s a phenomenal inking job by Sal B on his brother’s Silver Surfer pencils. 

http://www.comicartfans.com/gallerypiece.asp?piece=326353

C3B469CF-21D9-456A-A819-93C334F86DE4.jpeg

Edited by PhilipB2k17

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
558 posts

I generally was not a big fan of JB's own inks (with some exceptions like Av #49-#50).  They were too "wispy"* at times and generally not weighty enough for my tastes. 

I like Palmer first, then Sinnott/Klein tied for second and with a carve out for Conan -- which would be (when they weren't too overpowering) Chan and then Alcala. 

Sal B gets an honorable mention.**

An interesting side note is Cockrum but the sampling is too small ---he only inked two issues of Avengers over JB pencils (Avengers #124 & #125) but they are both quite nice (if a bit overpowering in a few places).  I don't recall other times that Cockrum inked JB.

When I think of JB doing Iron Man, I think an interesting combination that I would have liked to have seen in the early to mid 80s would have been Layton inks on JB's pencils or pencil layouts (either the tighter or looser version)--just to see Layton make JB's IM more metallic while still keeping JB's fluidity of movement/posture. 

Maybe the worst inker on JB pencils--Don Heck (he basically ruined Avengers #121 which I thought even as a kid reading those Avengers back issues). 

 

*Sorry Gene for borrowing your word but it is the first word that I think of.

**Sal told me in at a NYC con maybe 15 years ago that he always really enjoyed inking his brother (and IIRC that JB liked Sal's inks).

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11,537 posts
35 minutes ago, zhamlau said:

Why not add a poll "who was Big Johns best inker?" quick way to suss it out.

John Buscema's career was very long and each genre he drew had above average inkers:

1. Dan Adkins (Silver Surfer)

2. Todd Klein (Avengers)

3. Tom Palmer (inks a bit too heavy on Avengers for my taste)

4. Ernie Chan/Chua (Conan comic or mag)

5. Alfredo Alcala :x or Rudy Nebres (Savage Sword of Conan)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,709 posts

I remember some people put up some nice examples when we were talking specifically about Buscema Conan awhile back-

I hadn't seen enough of Buscema inking himself to appreciate it until then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
523 posts

For me Sinnott was the best inker and my second would be Palmer. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,703 posts

Buscema/Alcala was my favorite combo for all those classic Conan stories.  Chau was good, but Alcala was great in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,703 posts
2 hours ago, Brian48 said:

Buscema/Alcala was my favorite combo for all those classic Conan stories.  Chau was good, but Alcala was great in my opinion.

Marvel Super Special #2: The Savage Sword of Conan

http://diversionsofthegroovykind.blogspot.com/2008/12/stocking-stuffer-marvel-super-special-2.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,614 posts

Lots of great points but no photos?  :baiting:

Conan 115 - Ernie Chan

Savage Sword 32  - Tony DeZuniga 

Savage sword 93 -  Nebres/Chan

Conan Annual 2  - Yong Montano!?

 

83B89C5F-3933-47CF-B026-1C0FBA0DF87B.jpeg

20D6AB15-BCE8-4061-9454-D8D523DA9D2A.jpeg

3CD42E59-A9F5-41D2-AEFA-937F62BF41D6.jpeg

669BCD46-9998-40F5-9948-448FFA152B45.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
364 posts

Who inked the cover to Avengers 264? That's my fave. Anybody have a scan? I've never seen the OA for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26,279 posts
42 minutes ago, Alf Pogs said:

Who inked the cover to Avengers 264? 

Tom Palmer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13,834 posts

Palmer over anyone is awesome. I love all the Avengers stuff he did. 

 

DA2E913F-A42C-406A-98FC-E5ECB56200C3.jpeg

62F38235-B49D-43D7-BBE4-876D108A87DE.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
592 posts

Great thread idea! I believe we need to see the best examples of each inker on Buscema to make a true judgement call. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,323 posts
12 hours ago, delekkerste said:

DrDroom (IIRC, this is longtime collector w/initials A.S.) posited to me that John Buscema is "so obviously his own best inker" in another thread:

My question to the Boards is:  do you agree?  I know other longtime collector B.P. has been a leading proponent of this notion, but, I have never been on board with this.  Personally, I prefer Palmer over Buscema the most, but, also Sinnott, Giacoia, Sal B., Klein, Adkins, Alcala...well, I guess I'm just not a fan of JB's own inks.  To me, his line just did not have enough weight to it - it was often very loose and wispy and just not strong enough.  This is very evident in much of his '80s era Conan work, but, you can also see it in his '70s work as well, such as the Conan #94 (1978) cover that was at auction not long ago - that cover desperately needed stronger, bolder inks to really make the image pop.  

My take on it is that this idea that "pencillers are almost always their own best inkers" is largely a romantic notion that is often not grounded in reality.  I don't see what "obvious reasons" there are for this to be true.  Just because they may have a particular vision of what the art should look like, doesn't mean that they are the best one to execute all aspects of it.  Some inkers are just better at that job. 

As I said in the Neal Adams thread, it is true that the penciller is sometimes his own best inker (there are also many artists who were never/rarely inked by anyone else, so, by default, I guess you would lump them all in this category, even though we wouldn't really know if their work could be improved upon by someone else).  But, in many other cases, it is the case that this notion is not so.  Almost no one would argue that John Byrne was his own best inker.  Jim Lee, though a very good inker, was/is not his own best inker in the minds of most (that honor goes to Scott Williams, despite his protestations to the contrary).  Jack Kirby, not his own best inker.  Gil Kane, not his own best inker. 

Personally, I think one can admire other aspects of John Buscema's artistry (composition, storytelling ability, character design, etc.) without necessarily being a big fan of his inking. 

So, what sayest thou??

Sorry to be late to a party I unwittingly started! I'm not the collector you're thinking of, I'm a medium-time collector, CAF gallery Aaron N. The obvious reason for a penciller to be their own best inker is that the penciller has the best understanding of their own artistic intent and can ink accurately OR continue to develop the work creatively as they ink. In the case of a mediocre artist maybe this doesn't matter, and in that case by all means get Wood or someone to ink it and make it better. But John Buscema was a truly talented penciller, and his own inks best reflect the way the pencils look. Look at his inks on the Conan sketch at bottom right  (I didn't search a long time for this example, I know I've seen better ones). Compare the inked arm to the un-inked arm: the inks have as much of the character of the pencils as ink CAN. Yes, the pencils are a bit light and the inks reflect that. I'll take accurate inks over the wispy pencils of the later stuff any day over  Alcala's gross over-inking.

A note on Kirby: he was absolutely his own best inker prior to about 1960. Then he stopped inking almost entirely, and never really took it up again, so we don't know for certain. Royer is my pick for his best post-1960 inker, and I also like the later Sinnott. 

buscema_conan_sketches.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
2 2