Rich Buckler, bronze age Marvel & DC artist, passed away on Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer. Spider-Man fans would know him primarily for his brief run on Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man with writer Peter David. The highlight of that collaboration was The Death of Jean De Wolff, an acclaimed storyline that has the strange habit of being consistently rated as the fourth-best Spider-Man story ever, including on the Crawlspace list.
As editor James Owsley recalled, he wanted each Spider-Man book to have its own identity. Spectacular would focus “on stories with a serious, “grown-up” tone and more complex themes that happened primarily at night and wherein Spider-Man wore, primarily, his BLACK uniform.” It had a visual style and tone influenced more by Hill Street Blues than any comic book. This was an excellent fit for Buckler’s style, as he captured the grit of the city, and the emotions of the characters, with storytelling that was powerful but easy to follow.
His non-wallcrawler accomplishments in comics include co-creating Deathlok for Marvel, and the All-Star Squadron for DC. Other notable work includes a two year run on The Fantastic Four, six months on the Incredible Hulk comic strip, and various mini-series about golden age heroes. Books he illustrated at some point include Batman, The Flash, Jonah Hex, Avengers, The Justice League of America, The Warlord, Black Panther, and Thor. He wrote two books How to Become a Comic Book Artist, and How to Draw Dynamic Comics, both with introductions by Stan Lee.
He wrote a series of essays about his early days in the comics industry for the blog 20th Century Danny Boy. His website includes samples of his work, including the surrealist paintings he focused his energies on during the later years of his life.
News of his passing was followed by tributes from the companies he had worked for, and the artists he had inspired.
Marvel is deeply saddened by the loss of artist Rich Buckler. We offer our condolences to his family, friends, and fans worldwide. pic.twitter.com/zDpbZuj95b
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) May 21, 2017
Deathlok was true subversive 70’s sci-fi and quite a good looking boy. R.I.P. Rich Buckler, one of my early Marvel art gods pic.twitter.com/k0SQ8Il4Ix
— Joss Whedon (@joss) May 21, 2017
#RIP the great Rich Buckler
A tremendous talent.
– Alex Ross (@the alexrossart)
Our condolences to his family and friends.