The Buscema Slouch

The Buscema Slouch!

I have a one-shot column published at Comicosity this week, looking at a signature pose from one of the all-time great superhero artists. Yes, it’s the Buscema Slouch!

Silver Surfer #4, John Buscema

This article looks at the many ways and places John Buscema used the storytelling shorthand of a character slouching on a throne in his work. Check it out … and while you are there, be sure to explore the rest of Comicosity, one of my favorite comics sites!

Thanks to Comicosity for spotlighting The Buscema Slouch!

(And join me here tomorrow at Longbox Graveyard, when I look at another comic book master — Jack Kirby!)



Posted on January 15, 2013, in Announcements and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. ah yes: noticed; Kirby did a few of these as well; I hate to be a pedant but aren’y these ‘lounges’ rather than ‘slouches’ – ‘slouch’ suggests defeated, broken, cowed, whereas ‘lounge’ suggests rumination on what to do with all my power;

    can I suggest some other themes for pictorials:
    – streetlamps/streetlight;
    – skylines;
    – different renditions of the Hulk (do you remember an issue of FOOM?);
    – Gil Kane’s ‘crouches-poised-to-pounce-fingers-tensed’;
    – evolutions of the upper-left character ‘tabs’ on Marvel covers (and DC, although, as I remember, DC showed only cut-out figures rather than putting them in a ‘tab’ box);
    – evolution of comic company logos; evolution of comic title logos;
    – evolution of comic pricings/formats;
    – …


    • Maybe the word I was groping for was “slumping” rather than “slouching” but it’s too late now!

      These images are closely akin to the “Panel Galleries” I run every now and then at Longbox Graveyard, but as they concentrated on visual tropes (rather than storytelling tropes) the subject seemed a good one to contribute to Comicosity. As it looks like the topic is unlikely to continue over there, I may fold future installments into Panel Galleries here. The arched-backs and nostril shots of Gil Kane are a natural. I’ve started collecting examples of the “Kirby Corner,” too, where Kirby lent dimension to panels by positioning a face in the foreground, usually looking at the audience.

      I’ve got a million of ’em!


  2. Is this a Buscema thing? It’s definitely something I think of when I think of Silver Age Marvel despots, but it hadn’t really occured to me it might be specific to one artist.


    • It’s certainly not specific to Buscema, and I know other artists used this pose — I just most associate it with John B., probably thanks to that Loki splash page from Silver Surfer #4. I expect it can be traced back well before John B. but my scholarship on this particular subject is limited to grabbing some easy screen shots …


  3. Excellent post! One of the most vital elements of comic book storytelling is body language, something I think some of the current crop of artists really do not appreciate. Thanks for writing a blog about how effectively a true master artist, John Buscema, utilized this shorthand device to communicate characterization & personality to the readers.


    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Ben. It was a pleasure to write about John Buscema, one of my favorite comics artists. I’m most a fan of his Conan work and was stunned that I couldn’t find examples of this pose on that book (at least not in the quick flip-through I did of my Dark Horse Conan the Barbarian reprints).

      I’d like to follow-up on this post with some other examples of visual story-telling shorthand. We’ll see.


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