Rich Buckler
Born(1949-02-06)February 6, 1949
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
DiedMay 19, 2017(2017-05-19) (aged 68)
Area(s)Writer, Penciller
Pseudonym(s)Ron Validar
Notable works
All-Star Squadron
Astonishing Tales (Deathlok)
Fantastic Four
Superman vs. Shazam!
World's Finest Comics

Rich Buckler (February 6, 1949 – May 19, 2017)[1][2] was an American comics artist and penciller, best known for his work on Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four in the mid-1970s and for creating the character Deathlok in Astonishing Tales #25. Buckler drew virtually every major character at Marvel and DC, often as a cover artist.


As a teenager in Detroit, Buckler was involved in comics fandom.[3] He attended the initial iterations of the Detroit Triple Fan Fair, eventually running the convention along with originator Robert Brosch in 1969–1970.[4][5]

Buckler's first comics work was as a teenager with the four-page historical story "Freedom Fighters: Washington Attacks Trenton" in the King Features comic book Flash Gordon #10 (cover-dated Nov. 1967). In 1971, he did some work for Skywald Publications but made a "wrong move" by attempting to date the daughter of Skywald's co-owner Israel Waldman.[6] At DC Comics, he drew the "Rose and the Thorn" backup stories in Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #117–121 (Dec. 1971–April 1972).[7]

Buckler drew the first three issues of writer Don McGregor's Black Panther series in Jungle Action vol. 2, #6–8 (Sept. 1973–Jan. 1974), a run that Comics Bulletin in 2010 ranked third on its list of the "Top 10 1970s Marvels".[8] He fulfilled a decade-long dream in 1974 when assigned to draw Marvel's flagship series, Fantastic Four, on which he stayed for two years.[9] During this period, Buckler created the cyborg antihero Deathlok, who starred in an ongoing feature debuting in Astonishing Tales #25 (Aug. 1974).[10] Also during this period, Buckler hired the young George Pérez as his studio assistant.[11]

Buckler collaborated with writer Gerry Conway on a "Superman vs. Shazam!" story published in All-New Collectors' Edition #C-58 (April 1978).[12][13] He drew the newspaper comic strip The Incredible Hulk for approximately six months in 1979.[14] Buckler was one of several artists to draw the comics adaptation of Xanadu in Marvel Super Special #17 (Summer 1980).[15] A Justice League story by Conway and Buckler originally intended for All-New Collectors' Edition saw print in Justice League of America #210–212 (Jan.–March 1983).[16][17][18] Buckler and Roy Thomas then created the World War II superhero team the All-Star Squadron in a special insert in Justice League of America #193 (Aug. 1981)[19] which led to the team's own title the following month.[20]

In 1983,The Comics Journal accused Buckler of plagiarism, saying that he had a reputation as a "swipe" artist who copied poses and layouts from previous artists' work.[21][22] Buckler sued the magazine for libel,[23] but later dropped the suit.[24]

Buckler worked for Archie Comics in 1983 and 1984, when that publisher briefly revived its Red Circle Comics superhero line, and he recruited Cary Burkett to write the Mighty Crusaders title.[25] In 1985, Buckler returned to Marvel and briefly drew The Spectacular Spider-Man with writer Peter David, where they produced the storyline "The Death of Jean DeWolff".[26] He also served as editor for a short-lived line of comics by Solson Publications, where in 1987 he created Reagan's Raiders.[27]

In 2011, Buckler drew a Djustine short story written by Enrico Teodorani for the Italian market.[28]

He was the author of three books on comic book artistry: How to Become a Comic Book Artist[29] and How to Draw Superheroes[30] (Solson Publications) in 1986, and How to Draw Dynamic Comic Books (Vanguard Publications) in 2007.[31]

In 2015, he became an Inkwell Awards Ambassador.[32][33] It was not uncommon for him to use the alias Ron Validar or simply Validar for his Marvel comics work when he was on exclusive contract with rival DC.[34] In this way he was able to skirt the spirit of the law if not the letter. His most prominent covers using this nom de plume were often inked by Ernie Chan.[citation needed]


Buckler died May 19, 2017, after a long battle with cancer.[2]


Arcana Studio

Archie Comics

Astral Comics

Atlas/Seaboard Comics

Continuity Comics

DC Comics

Deluxe Comics

Dynamite Entertainment

Gold Key

Image Comics

King Comics

Lodestone Publishing

Malibu Comics

Marvel Comics

Now Comics

Silverline Comics

Skywald Publications

Solson Publications

S.Q.P. Inc.

Tekno Comix (Big Entertainment)

Tiger Comics

Topps Comics

Warrant Publishing

Warren Publishing


  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Rich Buckler, Prolific Marvel and DC Comics Artist, Dies at 68". The Hollywood Reporter. May 20, 2017. Archived from the original on May 21, 2017.
  3. ^ Siegel, Howard P. "Made in America," BEM #16 (December 1977).
  4. ^ Cooke, Jon B., ed. (2005). "Rich Buckler Breaks Out! The Artist on Deathlok, T'Challa, and Other Marvel Tales". Comic Book Artist Collection Volume 3. TwoMorrows Publishing.
  5. ^ Bails, Jerry; Ware, Hames (n.d.). "Buckler, Rich F." Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. Archived from the original on February 18, 2016.
  6. ^ Buckler in Cooke, p. 72: "I was told that I'm not Jewish enough - understandable since I'm not Jewish (I'm a mixture of German, Irish, and French - but I look mostly German). Anyway, I'm married to a Jewish girl now."
  7. ^ Cassell, Dewey (May 2013). "A Rose By Any Other Name...Would Be Thorn". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (64): 28–32.
  8. ^ Sacks, Jason (September 6, 2010). "Top 10 1970s Marvels". Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on August 1, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  9. ^ Thomas, Roy. "Bullpen Bulletins," Marvel comics cover-dated January 1974.
  10. ^ Sanderson, Peter; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1970s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 166. ISBN 978-0756641238. Created by artist Rich Buckler and writer Doug Moench, the original Deathlok was Colonel Luther Manning, a soldier in an alternate, post-apocalyptic future. ((cite book)): |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ O'Neill, Daniel Patrick (July 1994). "Career Moves". Wizard (35). Archived from the original on September 7, 2009.
  12. ^ Hamerlinck, P.C. (December 2012). "When Worlds Collide The Colossal-Sized Confrontation Between Superman and Captain Marvel". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (61): 65–68.
  13. ^ All-New Collectors' Edition #C-58 at the Grand Comics Database
  14. ^ Cassell, Dewey (February 2014). "Smashing into Syndication: The Incredible Hulk Newspaper Strip". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (70): 37–40.
  15. ^ Friedt, Stephan (July 2016). "Marvel at the Movies - The House of Ideas' Hollywood Adaptations of the 1970s and 1980s". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (89): 64. The interior [art] was a group effort with over a dozen people credited with different aspects of the artwork (including layouts by Rich Buckler and Jimmy Janes, and finished pencils by Michael Nasser [Netzer], Brent Anderson, Joe Brozowski, Al Milgrom, and Bill Sienkiewicz).
  16. ^ Justice League of America #210 at the Grand Comics Database
  17. ^ Wells, John (October 24, 1997), "'Lost' DC: The DC Implosion", Comics Buyer's Guide, no. 1249, p. 132
  18. ^ Wells, John (December 2012). "The Perils of the DC/Marvel Tabloid Era". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (61): 6.
  19. ^ Catron, Michael (June 1981). "Thomas Revives WWII Superheroes". Amazing Heroes. Stamford, Connecticut: Fantagraphics Books (1): 28–30. All-Star Squadron, DC's new World War II-era superhero series debuts in May in a 16-page preview insert in Justice League of America #193.
  20. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. The creative team of writer Roy Thomas and artist Rich Buckler on All-Star Squadron offered readers a nostalgic glimpse back in time, albeit through the slightly distorted lens of Earth-2's history. ((cite book)): |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ "Plagiarism: Rich Buckler Signs his Name to Jack Kirby's Work". The Comics Journal. No. 83. August 1983. pp. 33–35.
  22. ^ "Rich Buckler Answers His Critics". The Comics Journal. No. 86. November 1983. pp. 28–31.
  23. ^ "Rich Buckler Sues Comics Journal and two of its Writers for Libel". The Comics Journal. No. 88. January 1984. p. 13.
  24. ^ "Buckler Drops Comics Journal Libel Suit". The Comics Journal. No. 93. September 1984. pp. 11–12.
  25. ^ Cobb, Bradley S. (2001). "Cary Burkett Interview". The Mighty Crusaders Network. Archived from the original on December 15, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
  26. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1980s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 150. ISBN 978-0756692360. Revered as one of the finest Spider-Man stories ever told, this four-part saga, written by Peter David and penciled by Rich Buckler, was a decidedly dark tale for the usually lighthearted web-slinger. ((cite book)): |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  27. ^ Reagan's Raiders at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on December 21, 2016.
  28. ^ "Djustine". EF edizioni (in Italian). Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  29. ^ Buckler, Rich (1986). How to Become a Comic Book Artist. Solson. ISBN 0-9615671-1-2.
  30. ^ Buckler, Rich (1987). How to Draw Super-Heroes. Solson. ISBN 0-9615671-5-5.
  31. ^ Buckler, Rich (2007). How to Draw Dynamic Comic Books. Vanguard. ISBN 978-1-887591-95-9.
  32. ^ "Ambassadors". Inkwell Awards. Archived from the original on January 28, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  33. ^ Almond, Bob (January 11, 2016). "Rich Buckler Made Inkwell Awards Ambassador, Plus Roster Changes" (Press release). First Comics. Archived from the original on March 19, 2016.
  34. ^ Rich Buckler as Validar at the Grand Comics Database
Preceded byBarry Windsor-Smith The Avengers artist 1972 Succeeded byJohn Buscema Preceded byJohn Buscema Fantastic Four artist 1974–1976 Succeeded byGeorge Pérez Preceded byJosé Luis García-López World's Finest Comics artist 1979–1982 Succeeded byTrevor Von Eeden Preceded byKeith Pollard Fantastic Four artist 1989 Succeeded byWalt Simonson