Download Superman Vs. Shazam!
(All New Collectors Edition #58)
RICH BUCKLER needs no introduction--having drawn virtually every character in the DC or Marvel universes, illustrated the stories of the biggest writers in comics, and having worked for every major comics publisher of the 70s and 80s; the guy's a legend in the business. He was very friendly when I asked him for an interview about his career in general and his work on the Superman vs. Shazam! treasury comic:
TreasuryComics.com:Did you pursue a big project like Superman vs Shazam or did DC call you?
Rich Buckler:It was Dick Giordano's idea. When the assignment came up, I was being "groomed" as the next Superman artist (after Curt Swan). That didn't happen, of course, but I really enjoyed working on that book!
TC:How long would it take you to do a project of this size and length? Did you have to turn down other work to be able to do it?
RB:I never turned down work! That just wasn't done. The size I worked with was fairly close to the standard original size (maybe 15% bigger), and there was no crunching deadline. I just kept the work coming into the offices at a regular pace--there was a lot of trust, and I was always a steady worker. What appealed to me was the opportunity to draw Captain Marvel/Shazam in Superman's universe (that is, to draw him less cartoon-like, and more realistic).
TC:In just the treasuries alone, Superman was pitted against The Flash, Shazam!, Wonder Woman, and Muhammad Ali! Any insight why Supes was so pissed off in the 70s?
RB:It was the marketing people--they're the ones who went ape! They made their deals and came up with ideas (trying to reach a wider audience, I would guess) and then it was up to the creative people to make this stuff into an entertaining comic book.
TC:I know that comic pages are done up and then reduced for printing. When working on a book meant for a treasury, did you do the art even bigger? Did you have to make any artistic adjustments for it being printed at that bigger size?
RB:The art was printed almost the same size that it was prepared. What made things so different was the story length--72 pages, and no ads! That meant that the writer (Gerry Conway) and I could pull out the stops--with plenty of BIG ideas. That translated into splashy graphics with bigger figures, giant close-ups, lots of room for for two-page spreads, splash pages for chapter breaks, and half-page panels.