This is the first post of what will be a reoccurring feature; posts that feature fabulous Superman & Captain Marvel artwork with a common theme in mind. Some of these will be commissions or sketches (like the next post, which is do out on Friday), and others like this post will feature some of the original artwork progression for iconic pages and/or covers featuring Captain Marvel and Superman.
If you were to think of one artist that goes with Superman & Captain Marvel on a cover together, odds are Rich Buckler would be the name that came to mind. No other artist out there has tackled more covers featuring the Last Son of Krypton vs. the World's Mightiest Mortal than Rich Buckler, who is an extraordinary artist that was very prominent at both DC and Marvel Comics in the 70's and 80's for both interior artwork, and especially covers. Along with Ross Andru and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Rich Buckler was a key artist responsible for defining the house style and sleek look of Superman on the covers of his 3 ongoing titles, Action Comics, DC Comics Presents, and Superman. Luckily for us fans, that also meant some gorgeous covers also featuring the Big Red Cheese next to the Man of Tomorrow, typically trading blows, even if the two super-powered Titans never found themselves at odds inside of the issue itself.
One of the most iconic covers from the Bronze Age era of DC Comics, was the fantastic Buckler & Dick Giordano cover to the Superman vs. Shazam! Treasury Comic, which was All-New Collectors Edition #C-58 from 1978, seen in the house ad pictured to the left, with the original artwork above.
Obviously, being a fan of both characters, I would much rather see the Last Son of Krypton and the World's Mightiest Mortal working together to tackle a common threat, instead of repeatedly finding themselves at odds with one another and fighting each other. That said, seeing these two powerful heroes exchange blows on a cover makes for quite the eye-catcher and attention grabber, and can't help but pique the interest of the casual and devoted comic fan alike. In addition to the Superman vs. Shazam Treasury cover & interiors, Buckler also drew the gorgeous covers (and interiors) featuring both Superman & Captain Marvel for DC Comics Presents #33, 34, and 49, as well as the cover and interiors to All-Star Squadron #36. All-Star Squadron was a series written by Roy Thomas that featured stories set in the Golden Age and fit continuity wise in between the Golden Age adventures of the members of the team. So in the story that spans All-Star Squadron #36 & 37, we see the Golden Age Captain Marvel (Earth-S) square off against the Golden Age Superman of Earth 2 (this is an analog, not a 1 for 1 swap, more on that in a later post). You can see the Buckler pencils with Jerry Ordway inks for All-Star Squadron #36 below, next to the colored, finished cover that hit stands.
Many of the stories I've mentioned today featuring Rich Buckler's fantastic art can be found in the Superman vs. Shazam! Trade Paperback Collection. It collects the Treasury Comic story, as well as the 3 issues of DC Comics Presents featuring Buckler's artwork, as well as DC Comics Presents Annual #4, which is written by Roy Thomas & Joey Cavalieri with artwork by Gil Kane. That would be a great book to add to your collection if you don't already own the stories in some other format.
That'll do it for this time out, don't forget to come back to the blog on Friday for another art post, this time featuring some fantastic commission pieces and sketches by the late, great Dave Stevens. And be sure to check in on Sunday January 31st, for the very first episode of the Superman & Captain Marvel Power Hour Podcast! And with that, I'll leave you with this, a fantastic Captain Marvel convention sketch done by Rich Buckler in recent years.