Art Collection · Drawing · John Buscema · Look Here

Look Here: Five sketches by John Buscema

From our modest collection of original art by various hands, here are five small sketches by John Buscema for you to peruse; if you click the images displayed below so as to enlarge them, you will find that the uploaded images are actually large enough to repay close study:


All five of the above sketches currently reside in a 12 x 12 inch, 3-ring scrapbook album in our living room. In case you’re wondering how they’re displayed, each sketch is attached to the centre of one side of an acid free sheet with acid free photo corners. Works for me.


But please remember: don’t just take; link. (Yes, I’m talking to you, PNN.)

UPDATE (01 April 2012):

I just posted a second batch of five sketches by John Buscema. I hope you enjoy seeing them!

4 thoughts on “Look Here: Five sketches by John Buscema

  1. I too collect John Buscema… I had the honor to meet him shortly before he passed away in his last San Diego and he signed a splash page (unfinished) that he has done for Conan the Rogue. I actually seen another version in France, both almost finished and superior to the published one… I think he tried several times to do it, and never happy with the results, he did a faster version at the end… I also have a page of sketches and a couple pages inked by himself… I proposed to Dark Horse to do a big omnibus collecting all his Conan stories pencilled and inked by himself, but they were not interested…. sigh!


  2. I’m very disappointed at what Dark Horse has done with the Marvel Conan comics. I don’t like the new colouring at all. I did buy the two-volume set devoted to Barry Windsor-Smith’s run on Conan, though I really should have resisted because I hate it! On Red Nails, especially, I noticed that someone has done a LOT of tiny “touch-ups” to the artwork — so much so that it is no longer art by “Barry Smith”; it’s art by “Barry Smith and a meddling gang of gremlins.” I suppose the Dark Horse team of colourists, whoever they are, thought they were “improving” the drawing or some such, but what they really did was fall into the trap of thinking that THEY were the stars of the show, that THEY were going to transform some rough-hewn old comics into slick “graphic novels” that would appeal to a new generation of comics readers who expect — nay, demand! — photoshopped colour with a vengeance.

    The upshot of Dark Horse’s trivial pursuit, however, is that rather than preserve an idiosyncratic “Marvel Masterwork” for future generations, they have merely homogenized and defaced and diminished it…

    For me, the definitive versions of “Red Nails” remain the black and white version that appeared in Savage Tales #2 (Oct. 1973) and #3 (Feb. 1974) and the colour version that was published in Marvel Treasury Edition #4: Conan the Barbarian (January 1975). I include the Marvel Treasury Edition version because Barry was an active participant in that reprint project. I’m pretty sure he himself did the colour for “Red Nails,” and I know for sure that he tinkered a bit with his art, but the additions and corrections to the Marvel Treasury Edition version were sensitively done, they were done by the same hand that originally produced the artwork, and they were done less than a year after the original black-and-white publication.

    Which is to say, the Marvel Treasury Edition version of “Red Nails” wasn’t a case of old Barry correcting young Barry; it was young Barry investing all he had into a work that (along with “Song of Red Sonja”) turned out to be the capstone of his early career in comics.

    The Dark Horse colourists, btw, also ruined “Song of Red Sonja” — along with the rest of Barry’s Conan comics — with their busywork! It must be so disheartening for Barry to see all of his hard work from those years mired in greasepaint and mud.

    Anyway, Jose, I’m very sorry to hear that Dark Horse didn’t see the value in an omnibus of John Buscema’s solo work on Conan, but given their track record with the Marvel Conan reprints, I’m sort of glad they passed on the project. Maybe someone with a real appreciation for Buscema’s work will do a great collection some time in the future.

    Speaking of which, perhaps what Dark Horse should do is let IDW publish an “Artist’s Edition” of Conan stories and covers pencilled and inked by John Busema. I know that I would buy a volume like that in a heartbeat!


  3. That sounds like a great idea… I will ask them if they are interested…

    I agree with you 100% on the recoloring of BWS. This is also something I proposed, a restored edition of the stories with the original coloring (which in about half of the stories was done by BWS himself) when they decided to do the hardcover. I even made some samples. It almost came to pass, but to avoid any further costs it was decided to run the files they already had from the reprints they were doing. I even gave them a copy of a long article where BWS talked about how much he hated these new colors… oh well…


  4. BTW, Jose, what do you think of Dark Horse’s The Chronicles of King Conan? (I didn’t even realize the reprint series existed until yesterday.) Do you know if Dark Horse’s production team used the original comics as a guide for the new colour, same way as they did when they published Tarzan: The Joe Kubert Years? I quite like the colour in the Joe Kubert volumes, and I’m happy to own them in hardcover; I’ve also purchased all of the Tarzan: The Jesse Marsh Years hardcover collections that have been published so far, and haven’t experienced even the slightest twinge of buyer’s remorse.

    Should I consider buying the King Conan reprints, too?


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