Comic artist Rich Buckler died at the age of 68 on Friday after struggling with cancer for a long time, his family, friends and Roy Thomas, who worked with him at both Marvel and DC confirmed to Bleeding Cool News.
Aardwolf publishing had been helping him with his medical expenses. They started an initiative early in 2016 by putting up his works on sale. A copy with an original drawing from Buckler cost $58 while if it was without the unique sketch it cost $22.
Buckler was a revered artist who worked on all the major characters and series of both Marvel and DC comics. He co-created the character “Deathlok,” who first appeared in 1974’s “Astonishing Tales #25 of the Fantastic Four series” and the DC comics’ super-team “All-Star Squadron.”
He was known for his work on titles like the “Fantastic Four,” “Astonishing Tales,” “Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane” and “Jonah Hex” throughout 70s and 80s. Buckler’s first publication was 1968’s “Flash Gordon #10” by King Features. He joined the Black Panther title “Jungle Action” and worked with writer Don McGregor before he started working on the Fantastic Four title from 1974. “Death of Jean DeWolff,” considered one of the best storylines of the Spider-Man series (Spectacular Spider-Man), was created by Buckler in collaboration with Peter David.
Back in 2010, Buckler recounted the inspiration and making of Deathlok on comic historian Daniel Best’s blog, “In creating Deathlok, what I came up with was so surreal and ‘out of left field’ that I wondered if it even fit in with Marvel’s universe of super-heroes. Actually, I strongly suspected that he wouldn’t. He wasn’t a hero, that’s for sure.”
“The concept would have elements of mind control, military black ops, terrorism, science gone mad, and a dark apocalyptic future scenario with a main character who was a computer-programmed assassin gone rogue. As the idea developed it began to take shape and form as a wild paranoid fantasy that I thought fit perfectly with the times we were living in,” he continued.
“It seemed to be a time for the creation of a new archetype – one that would reflect the technological age we all were headed into (or, rather, the future that our world leaders seem to be making sure we are heading into). Maybe not exactly a new Superman – or maybe something even beyond the ‘superman’ concept – a character who would encounter much of the insanity of the modern world that I perceived even in my early twenties.”
Marvel confirmed the news on Twitter saying: “Marvel is deeply saddened by the loss of artist Rich Buckler.” They offered condolences to his friends and family.
Joss Whedon, the writer of “The Avengers” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and the upcoming Batgirl issues, tweeted: “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.”
Buckler, also the author of two books, “How to Become a Comic Book Artist” and “How to Draw Superheroes,” was an imperative artist of his age. The incredible amount of work he had done inspired a generation of artist including George Perez and many more.