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Friday, January 11, 2002

JOHN BUSCEMA: 1927-2002

John Buscema, one of the classic Marvel Silver Age artists, died on Thursday.

Buscema, of Port Jefferson, N.Y., had stomach cancer. He was 74.

Buscema was instrumental in the early visual styling of Marvel Comics and worked for both Marvel and DC Comics. During his time at Marvel, Buscema's illustrations appeared in virtually every title, including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, and Conan.

Born Dec. 11, 1927 in Brooklyn, N.Y., Buscema attended the High School of Music and Art and Pratt Institute, where he studied life drawing and design.

Ultimately, Buscema's studies landed him a job at Marvel Comics, then Timely Comics, in 1948. After a stint in advertising, Buscema returned to Marvel Comics in 1966, at the specific request of then editor-in-chief Stan Lee.

Buscema became one of the artistic pillars of the young Marvel, tutoring countless young artists, as well as co-writing with Lee How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. Many of today's top comic book artists cite Buscema as one of their chief influences.

"John Buscema was far more than one of our finest comic book artists," Lee said. If Michaelangelo had elected to draw storyboards with pencil and pen, his style would have been close to that of Big John's. But, even more than a superb illustrator, John also was a brilliant visual storyteller. Thinking back on all of the strips that we had done together, I had only to give him the briefest kernel of a plot and he would flesh it out with his magnificent illustrations so brilliantly that the stories almost seemed to write themselves. Happily, the legacy of artwork that my dear friend, the creative giant that was John Buscema, leaves behind, will bring wonder and enjoyment to generations of readers to come."

Joe Quesada, current editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, said, "I remember how captivated I was as a young comics reader by the power of John Buscema's artwork. Even at a young age I knew I was looking at something created by an artist whose skill level was so much better than that of his contemporaries.

"I had the pleasure about three years ago of meeting Mr. Buscema in the Marvel offices, and he was as powerful a presence in person as his work was on the printed page. We will all miss him."

After 30 years at Marvel, Buscema began working for for DC Comics, drawing Batman in the anthology title Batman: Black & White. His most recent published work was, touchingly, with Lee, in Just Imagine Stan Lee with John Buscema Creating Superman. He appeared at last summer's Comic-Con International in San Diego to promote the book.

Mike Carlin, Executive Editor at DC Comics, said, "It goes without saying what a privilege it was for DC to have tapped the legendary team of John Buscema and Stan Lee to reimagine Superman just one year ago... and a singular thrill to edit anything John worked on. Sadly, as it's proved to be their final collaboration, it's even more important a personal pleasure to have been a small part of it."

At the time of his death, Buscema actively was working on projects for several publishers.

Buscema is survived by his wife, Dolores, son, John Jr., his daughter,Dianne, and four grandchildren. The family has announced that a viewing will be held on Sunday from 2p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Bryant Funeral Home, 411 Old Town Road, East Setauket, N.Y., 11733 (631-413-0082). The funeral will be held Monday morning.


Oni Press will begin a new four-issue mini-series, Skinwalker, in May.

Written by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, Skinwalker is a crime comic with a supernatural twist It follows an FBI Agent and a law enforcement agent from a Native American reservation police force as they track a serial killer who has learned the sacred tribal ritual of skinwalking, and had distorted it into something more-the ability to jump from body to body, a handy trait when one is attempting to elude capture.

The mini-series will be penciled by Queen & Country artist Brian Hurtt, with digital inks and tones by Kissing Chaos creator Arthur Dela Cruz. Covers are by Durwin Talon, the cover artist for the "Office Down" story line in last year's Batman titles.

"Outside of an issue of Detective Comics DeFilippis wrote in 2001, he and Weir are new to comics," said Oni Press publisher Joe Nozemack. "Before this, they had primarily worked in television. When we saw the proposal for Skinwalker, we realized that, in addition to being an excellent comic, it would have other benefits as well. We could once again work with new talent, and we could also finally capitalize on the reputation for intelligent crime comics that we earned with Whiteout. We haven't really done anything else like our Greg Rucka books, despite the fact that we enjoy those types of comics. With Skinwalker, as well as with Gary Phillips' Shot Callerz, that will all change."

"We had several things we wanted to accomplish with Skinwalker," Weir said. "We wanted to tell an intelligent mystery story with supernatural elements, preying on the imagination and teasing out the suspense to keep the readers coming back issue to issue. We also wanted to show a realistic view of Native American culture, which often gets shoddy, clichéd treatment in mainstream entertainment. We wanted Officer Adakai to be a real person, a real police officer, and not just some excuse to have someone spout pseudo-mystical wisdom."

"We took our time searching for an artist on this project," DeFilippis said. "We wanted someone who took a realistic, traditional approach to the material, to give a 'real' feel to the investigation, whereas Oni was hoping to find an artist that could play up the creepier, darker elements of the crimes. I think the combination of Brian Hurtt and Arthur Dela Cruz satisfies both aspects perfectly."

"We hired Hurtt first," Oni Press editor in chief Jamie S. Rich said. "He was actually signed up for Skinwalker right at the same time he got the Queen & Country gig. His pencils have a real unique look-almost like if Neal Adams had been a European comics artist. Originally, we were considering a more standard inking style, but then the idea of having Arthur Dela Cruz work his magic struck me. Arthur is so good at creating mood and atmosphere in Kissing Chaos, I thought it would be really wild to have him work over someone else."

"Actually, Durwin Talon was with us almost from the very beginning," DeFilippis said. "We spoke with him at this year's San Diego Con. He brought a real pulpy paperback feel to his 'Officer Down' covers that seemed dead-on for Skinwalker. It took very little arm twisting to get him to say yes, and what he's brought to the covers has far exceeded our expectations."

Skinwalker #1 will arrive in stores on May 17.


Harris Comics on Thursday announced that Dawn Brown will be the artist on Vampirella # 7-10.

Brown is the creator and owner of the Image series Little Red Hot and Little Red Hot: Bound.

"Vampirella's a strong female hero who has stood the test of time," Brown said. "Plus, the fun subject matter of Vampirella was a welcome break from the somber tone of Little Red Hot. I promise I'm working hard to bring you guys my very best work!"

Harris editor Maureen McTigue said she had a challenge when looking for someone to fill in for regular artist Mike Mayhew.

"Mike's set such a high bar for the book's look that I needed to find a very specific style," McTigue said.. Dawn has that and more. She jumped at the chance and she's been more than just a pleasure to work with.

"She has a great visual sense and she bends over backwards for details. Just wait till you see the circus!"

Vampirella #7 is in stores in March. The Vampirella story, "Hungry Ghosts," is written by series regular John Smith with art by Brown. Joining the book for those four months is a Pantha story written by Smith with Mark Millar and fully painted by Mark Texeira.


Brian Pulido returns to write Evil Ernie again in Untold Tales of Evil Ernie Vol. II #1: Relentless, which ships on April 10 from Chaos! Comics.

The book, penciled by Jerry Beck, will be 48 black-and-white pages and will cost $4.99. It is from Chaos!'s Black Label imprint.

Here's how Chaos! describes the story: "The story takes place at Coaster Carnival, a premiere amusement park in Pittsburgh, and it is far, far away from the burgeoning 'psycho-plague' spreading on the East Coast. Alan McHenry, head of Security at Coaster Carnival, is retiring, celebrating his last day on the job when all Hell breaks loose. First, he has to locate a thieving runaway kid. Then the impossible occurs as the Undead invade, led by Evil Ernie, the most anti-authoritative character in comics history. How do the good guys get out of this one alive or do they?"

The story will also include the fictional death of Filip Sablik, a Diamond Distributors representative with whom Chaos! has worked.

"As a life long comics fan, I'm thrilled that Chaos! has chosen to immortalize me in one of their flagship books even if my comic life will be brief," Sablik said. "The added bonus is that I can now take some additional sick days for being dead!"

In other Chaos! news:

* The company will address the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 in Lady Death/Chastity/Bad Kitty: United #1, from writer Brian Augustyn and artist Ron Adrian.

Here's how Chaos describes the story:

"A young woman searches frantically for her husband, a WTC employee. As the situation grows bleaker, her search becomes more desperate, but hope drives her on. As her quest continues, the young woman encounters Lady Death, Chastity and Bad Kitty, all working to help at different points of the area we now call Ground Zero. Each of the heroic women have forsaken their usual pursuits to pitch in and help the recovery efforts. While a city reels and mourns, heroes of all stripes struggle together mightily to bring some light out of the terrible darkness."


Origin #4 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from Marvel Comics. The issue is written by Paul Jenkins, with art by Andy Kubert and a cover by Joe Quesada.

Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

"At long last, the story of Logan's past is told. Jenkins delivers the captivating story set in the early 20th century and reveals answers to some of the questions that have been in Marvel readers' minds for years: Who was the man named Wolverine? When did he acquire his powers? Who was his family?"

Origin #4 will be 32 pages and will cost $3.50.



Peter Parker: Spider-Man #39 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from Marvel Comics. The issue is written by Paul Jenkins, with art by Mark Buckingham and Wayne Faucher and a cover by Humberto Ramos.

Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

"The return of Dr. Octopus. Kicking off an intense three-part saga featuring the return of one of Spider-Man's most infamous foes."

Peter Parker: Spider-Man #39 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.25.



X-Force #123 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from Marvel Comics. The issue is written by Peter Milligan, with art and cover by Mike Allred.

Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

"'Nuff Said! Don't tell Doop, but the X-Force is about to embark on their quietest mission ever."

X-Force #123 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.25.



Incredible Hulk #36 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from Marvel Comics. The issue is written by Bruce Jones, with art by John Romita Jr. and Tom Palmer and a cover by Kaare Andrews.

Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

"When the Hulk is implicated in an unspeakable act, Bruce Banner must embark on a harrowing voyage that will force him to confront the deepest truths about himself -- and the beast inside him. "The Gang's All Here," part 1 of 4. The fugitive hero's life just got more complicated. Not only have two deadly black op agents been dispatched to track him down by all means necessary, but also an old friend - and rival -who's intimately acquainted with the both Banner and the monster inside him - a man by the name of Doc Samson."

Incredible Hulk #36 will be 32 pages and will cost $2.25.



Marvel Mangaverse: New Dawn #1 will arrive in stores on Wednesday from Marvel Comics. The issue is written by Ben Dunn, with art and cover by Dunn.

Here's how Marvel describes the issue:

"What if Manga artists created the Marvel Universe? Welcome to a world unlike any readers have seen before. A world populated with wild reinterpretations of favorite Marvel characters - but a world also starved for energy. So desperate is the need that an Energy Well is built on Stark Island that will tap into an unlimited source in the Negative Zone. There is only one scientist that can tap into that source - a scientist named Bruce Banner! In this bookend issue, we introduce a cadre of characters that readers will see as brand new but also with a hint of nostalgia. Expect lots of cool stuff, such as: Hydra is teamed up with Namor to conquer the world! Dr. Strange is a Victorian doctor with Tigra as his sidekick. Ant-Man is a rock star/super scientist. The Wasp is a brilliant inventor and occasional tease to Bruce. Iron Man is now Iron Girl. And the Hulk is a 20-stories-tall monster bent on destruction."

Marvel Mangaverse: New Dawn #1 will be 48 pages and will cost $2.99.



  • Toy Biz has released four new images from its Marvel Legends line of Captain America, Hulk, Toad and Iron Man. The second series will include Doctor Doom, Namor, Human Torch and Thing.


  • Marvel Enterprises has promoted Bill Jemas to chief operating officer. The announcement was made by Marvel CEO Peter Cuneo.

  • Coming Saturday: First looks, Static news -- and much more!!!
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