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Uncle Slam is owned by ME!
Today's art scan is a little glimpse into old-school Marvel superhero comics. This time, it's an issue of ROM from the late '70's (I think). The art is by two of the most solid craftsmen you could imagine, Sal Buscema and Joe Sinnott. When I need to pull the name of a penciller out of my brain to typify a solid craftsman... a guy who will always get the job done, and will rarely take your breath away, Sal is usually the guy. He's a solid draftsman, a very solid storyteller, and his work is always clear, concise, and accessible. Sinnott, through his association with Kirby on their long run on Fantastic Four, some of the best superhero comics ever done, is more highly regarded than Sal. His work, though, typifies the same kind of ethic. Joe's work is similarly solid, predictable (and I do not mean that in a negative way), and accessible.
Together, these guys make a comic that is everything a kid could ask for in a fun, well-crafted superhero book. When I was a kid, I loved ROM for a couple of reasons. First, I was there when #1 hit the stands, and that was a big deal for me. It was exciting to know that I could get each and every issue of a book, no matter the quality. Second, ROM was cool looking! When I saw that first cover, of a shiny robot with a glowing eye, I was sold!
This panel comes from that batch of pages I bought at the show in New York for four bucks each. Not bad, huh? This flashback panel has so much going on! It's a great example of how to pack a panel with information and depth without making anything confusing. Sal knows how to put the information out there so clearly, so efficiently. He makes it look easy and, believe me, it is not.
As for the inks, well... I will admit that Joe isn't really among my favorites. I tend to prefer guy whose line is more spontaneous- more lively. Don't get me wrong, Joes line isn't boring by any stretch... but it is a bit more monotonous than guys like Giordano, Drake, and Robbins. Still, I greatly admire Sinnott's work. There are a number of things that make it successful, even if it doesn't specifically fit my tastes:
1- Solid drawing ability underlines everything Sinnott does. For me, this is not always a good thing. I wish, for instance, that he had left Kirby a little more raw. But, he knows his stuff, and he makes sure that everything his brush touches is well-formed and attractive.
2- Textures! Joe is a master at using texture to create depth and a sense of comics shorthand realism. This is a tiny panel, but we see it here. Check out Power Man's hair, inked with such boldness and precision, even though Joe is just dotting at the page with a splayed out brush.
3- Confidence! This is a crucial part of any successful inker. Each line Sinnott makes looks as if he KNEW it was the right line. He sells each and every mark he makes.
Okay... enough outta me. Enjoy the old-school genius, and come back for more tomorrow!
All characters owned by Marvel!