Buscema’s Bullpen!

FOOM #13 had a one-page feature spotlighting the work of students attending John Buscema’s School of Comic Book Artists.

Buscema's Bullpen

What became of this next generation of talent, circa 1976?

Bob Hall went on to work for Marvel and DC Comics, enjoying a long run on Avengers in the 1980s, and turning in some of my favorite issues of Super-Villain Team-Up. He also worked for Valiant Comics in the 1990s.

Larry Mahlstedt went on to become an inker and cover artist for Marvel and DC.

Bob Downs became an inker for Marvel and DC, and I see he did some Ultraverse work, as well.

Mike J. McCann appears to have had no comics career, and he’s not the same as the Michael J. McCann who has enjoyed success as a crime novelist. Along with Charles Nanco and Josh Zissman, Mike appears lost to the mists of time!

Do you know more about Mike, Charles, and Josh (or any of the pros listed here?) Sound off, in comments, below!

See you soon for another FOOM Friday!


About Paul O'Connor

Revelations and retro-reviews from a world where it is always 1978, published every now and then at www.longboxgraveyard.com!

Posted on March 21, 2014, in FOOM Friday! and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I believe that Bob Hall also comes to Hastings College here in central Nebraska on a pretty regular basis to teach about comics during their January term. so he does appear more than willing to pass the mentoring/teaching along to another generation…


    • Nice. Some of the old pros have had little choice but to turn to education as their work goes (unjustly) out of style.

      Herb Trimpe wrote frankly about having to re-train himself as a teacher to continue earning in his life after comics, but I can’t find any trace of that essay on the web (and I hope I’m not confusing him with another artist).


      • yeah – but the same thing was true of the previous generation with the 70’s generation came in. Some older creators like George Tuska or Bill Everett or Frank Robbins still had friends that could keep some work coming to them, but look at how negative most of the letter columns were to the old-guard creators (at least in my memory). Many creative fields seem to have that tendency to cast the old out while celebrating the young.

        Trimpe is a very good case – and unfortunately, a lot of his work that I’d be willing to buy in collected form to get him some royalties is either before the time when they pay royalties or licensed work that isn’t worth their time to re-negotiate to reprint. I found this version of the article: http://www.hulklibrary.com/hulk/info/news-herbtrimpefired.asp


        • That Trimpe link is exactly what I was trying to find, Jim, thanks for unearthing it.

          Many of those older artists suffer for having their work judged only by a contemporary audience that has not seen their earlier labors, and views their (sometimes less energetic) current work as their entire legacy. I remember seeing Carmine Infantino for the first time via his often-indifferent work at Marvel in the late 70s, having only a vague memory of him being Editor In Chief at DC, and no knowledge of his sleek Silver Age work on the Flash. I have nothing against anyone who wants to keep working (and it is admirable when editors try to comply with that desire), but sometimes the market knows best, and it can damage an artist’s legacy to keep banging their heads against the wall.

          Then again, sometime the fans just get it wrong. And for an artist with bills to pay … right/wrong and legacy are the least of their concerns.


  2. Buscema had a school? Like Kubert’s training program? How awesome that must have been to attend. Put it on our list of ‘Top ten things to do with a time machine!” Loved Mahlstedt’s contributions to Legion of Super-heroes in the 80s, but had no idea he formally studied with Buscema. Sweet find!


    • I think this Buscema’s Bullpen appears in at least one more issue of FOOM — I’ll put up the scan here if I see another one.

      I remember seeing the ads for Buscema’s school in the back pages of Marvel Comics. Alas, it was just another mysterious feature of far-off New York — might as well be offering classes on the Blue Area of the Moon for all that I could get to them. Pretty sure he used to host guest lectures from Roy Thomas, Stan Lee, etc. as well.

      When you get that time machine running, let me know!


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