Saturday 11 June 2011

John Buscema's all-time Top Ten Avengers covers.

As my stat counter's gone mad and is currently crediting all my blogs with three times as many visitors as they normally get, I might as well cash in by posting another of those Top Tens that stat counters love. My favourite Marvel artist was always Big John Buscema, and The Avengers was possibly my favourite Marvel mag, so, what better excuse to combine my twin loves and create a Top Ten list of my all-time favourite John Buscema Avengers covers?

As always I have to warn the unwary that this list is compiled with neither expert knowledge nor unusual intelligence, so you may not agree with any or all of it.

Avengers #45, the Super-Adaptoid
Number 10.
Vince Colletta's inks aren't ideal for John Buscema's pencils but The Avengers #45 shows you can never go wrong in having a giant figure menacing your heroes - even if it's only the somewhat uncharismatic Super-Adaptoid.

Avengers #59, Yellowjacket
Number 9. 
The Avengers #59 sees the first ever appearance of Henry Pym's millionth incarnation Yellowjacket. I would rate this higher, as I love the drama of it but, as I've said elsewhere, I've never been able to stand all that red. So, although the colouring's in no way shape or form John Buscema's fault, I've been forced to mark it lower than I otherwise would have.

Number 8.
In Avengers #56, Captain America's still fretting over the death of Bucky, to the extent that he uses Dr Doom's old time machine to find out just what happened on the fateful day he and his own Boy Wonder had their last adventure together. There's something about this cover that doesn't feel typically Buscema-esque to me but it shows off his gift for visually conveying emotional drama.

Avengers #61, Ymir, Surtur and Dr Strange
Number 7. 
The Avengers #61 sees the Avengers and Dr Strange take on the twin threats of Ymir and Surtur. Maybe it's my imagination but, although it's credited to John Buscema, to me there've always seemed to be hints of Gene the Dean Colan in its portrayal of Surtur and Ymir.

Avengers #58
Number 6. 
Lashings of white, as The Avengers #58 has our heroes burst out of the cover at us. Buscema's strength was always drawing the human figure in elegant and dynamic poses, and he uses that gift beautifully here.

Avengers #60, the wedding of the Wasp and Yellowjacket, the Ringmaster's Circus of Crime
Number 5. 
The Avengers #60 presents the big day as the Wondrous Wasp marries the not so wondrous Yellowjacket - but not if the Ringmaster's Circus of Crime have their way. You've got to love that snake. You've got to love those floating heads.

Avengers #54, the Masters of Evil and the Black Knight
Number 4. 
With The Avengers #54, Buscema uses three visual planes to show us the plight of the Avengers, the malice of the Masters of Evil and the would-be heroics of the Black Knight, without overcrowding the page.

Avengers Annual #2, the original Avengers vs the new Avengers
Number 3. 
The Avengers Annual #2 literally flings the evil original Avengers up against the then current line-up. The power, the passion. It's like Michelangelo all over again. You have to feel sorry for poor old T'Challa though. Frankly, I don't fancy his chances against the Hulk.

Avengers #83, the Valkyrie and the Lady Liberators
Number 2. 
The Avengers #83, and a perennial Steve Does Comics favourite, as the male chauvinist pigs get a good bashing from the Valkyrie and the Lady Liberators. Aside from all else that's good about this cover, I have to love the way Buscema puts the Wasp right up front so we can see her.

Avengers #57, Behold the Vision
Number 1. 
What a way to introduce everyone's favourite synthezoid, as Avengers #57 sees the Vision makes his bow. Not that he looks here like he'd ever dream of bowing to anyone. With this kind of drama, could anyone be left in any doubt we're seeing the debut of a  character who'll change Avengers' history forever?


Terence Stewart said...

Oh, my stats have gone mad too, Steve!

Great choice of covers - my No.1 spot would have gone to #83; those male chauvinist pigs had it coming.....

Steve W. said...

I was tempted to put #83 at number 1 but I worried that my pro-Valkyrie bias might be distorting my judgement.

Booksteve said...

This may be the first of these kind of lists that I agree with completely! Great stuff!

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Booksteve.

borky said...

"His Name is Yellow Jacket!"

...but originally it was White Jacket, until this one time, when he was a bit the worse for 'wear' *wink! wink!* he couldn't get the front of his trunks down quickly enough an', well, "Oh, god! No! No! name's now...Yellow Jacket..."

As soon as I saw this guy on the cover it went straight back in the pile!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these. Between Buscema and Gene Colan (RIP) I almost became a Marvel fan back then.

Steve W. said...

You're welcome. :)

Shell said...

Okay, you got it right with all 10 and even finished strong with the the best Avengers cover of all time, Avengers #57. I helped write a similar list, with the same number 1 choice, but we picked from all the covers at We would be happy to swap links, if you like.

Doug said...

Steve --

Coming to this REALLY late! But, I wanted to say that when scrolling through the list, your comment about all of the red on Avengers #59 hit me at the exact same time I came to a conclusion about said cover. I'd always assumed that the background was some sort of a target; until this time when it reminded me of the black on the front of Ant-Man's costume. Wow! Could this be an homage to all three eras of Hank Pym?

Nah... but food for thought.


Steve W. said...

Better late than never, Doug.

As for the red, I've always assumed it was just there because someone thought red would leap out at people from the spinner racks.

Andreasheavymetaller1978 said...

Very good list.Two of my favorites are no.78 with Ape-Man holding off the ground Captain America and Black Panther and and 90.Also 152,131,126,120,166...

SUBZERO said...

Also late to the party, I have come up with my own list :

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the link, Subzero. I've given your post a plug on Twitter.