A BIRTHDAY SALUTE by the celebrated Mr. K…


In Direct Conversations: Talks with Fellow DC Comics Bronze Age Creators (available, should you desire, on Amazon, Howard Chaykin said of artist Rich Buckler (February 6, 1949–May 19, 2017) that he “arrived fully formed. Rich came into the business a couple of years later than I did, even though he was a year or so older than me. He was the only one of our generation who arrived ready to do precisely the service that fans wanted. I’ve always felt… he would have had a career on a par with Buscema because he had the skill set and was really good.”

Rich Buckler was really good. Rising out of the fertile Detroit fan community of the 1960s, the fanzine artist was drawing comics stories for Warren Publishing and Skywald Publications and DC Comics by the early 1970s. His first major break came on his work with writer Don McGregor on the landmark Black Panther series in Jungle Action #6-8 (September 1973–January 1974), which led to a run as artist of Fantastic Four, all while he was creating his cyborg antihero, Deathlok (Astonishing Tales #25, August 1974).

Buckler at an early-’70s Seuling Con, by Bruce Mittelman

At DC, the prolific Buckler turned out a steady stream of stories and covers, including the Superman vs. Shazam All-New Collector’s Edition #C-58 (1878), Justice League of America, and stories for DC Comics Presents, Star Hunters, Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane, World’s Finest and other titles, and he was the co-creator with Roy Thomas of the All-Star Squadron. He would later go on to work for Archie’s Red Circle Comics on the revived Mighty Crusaders and return to Marvel for a while on The Spectacular Spider-Man.

I was a fan of Rich’s work. He was a clean, solid artist straight out of the old-school comic book tradition. I only ever really collaborated with him once, when he drew my script for a Superman/Batman team-up in an issue of World’s Finest, but he managed to cram my bloated, overwritten tale into the allotted page count while maintaining some semblance of storytelling.


(* As it turns out Rich did only 11 World’s Finest covers, so I’ve rounded up my list to 13 with the inclusion of a couple of Superman-related covers Rich drew for stories I was involved with during that period. Just go with it, OK?)

World’s Finest #243 (Feb. 1977). Veteran John Calnan inked Rich’s debut World’s Finest cover. If you squint, you can still find some Buckler in there.

World’s Finest #259 (Oct.-Nov. 1979). Rich was much better served with Dick Giordano as his inker, as he was on most of the covers that follow, unless otherwise specified.

World’s Finest #260 (Dec. 1979-Jan. 1980). It was the best of times in comics, it was the worst of times, but as the Dark Knight makes clear here, a Batman’s gotta do what a Batman’s gotta do!

World’s Finest #267 (Feb.-March 1981). With the Challengers of the Unknown along to explain the gravity of the situation.

World’s Finest #269 (June-July 1981). Rich could force his perspective along with the best of them!

World’s Finest #270 (Aug. 1981). Extra points for the period perfect cover copy!

World’s Finest #280 (June 1982). A nice piece, inked by Steve Mitchell (another of my Direct Conversations victims).

World’s Finest #283 (Sept. 1982). Rich and inker Frank Giacoia had me at “Composite Superman”!

DC Comics Presents #49 (Sept. 1982). I only supplied the dialogue for Rich’s pencils over Roy Thomas’ plot, but at least I got to dabble with Captain Mar… I mean, Shazam!

World’s Finest #286 (Dec. 1982). Surrounded!

Superman #378 (Dec. 1982). A most Schwartzian cover with, to quote Arlo Guthrie, “circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was.”

World’s Finest #287 (Jan. 1983). Batman brings it to Superman, inked by Romeo Tanghal.

World’s Finest #321 (Nov. 1985). There would be only two more issues of World’s Finest after this one, so time was running out for everyone, even Chronos, inked by Karl Kesel.


— 13 COVERS: A RICH BUCKLER Birthday Celebration — 2022 Edition: DEATHLOK. Click here.

— 13 COVERS: A RICH BUCKLER Birthday Celebration — 2021 Edition: THE FLASH. Click here.

Sure, you know PAUL KUPPERBERG as the prolific writer of over a thousand comic books for such characters and series as Superman, Aquaman, Doom Patrol, Vigilante, Life with Archie, Bart Simpson, Scooby-Doo, and dozens more for DC Comics, Archie Comics, Bongo Comics, and others, and that he is also the creator of the series Arion, Lord of Atlantis, Checkmate and Takion, and is a former editor for DC, Weekly World News, and WWE Kids Magazine. But Paul is also the author of numerous books, including the superhero novel JSA: Ragnarok and the comics industry-based murder mystery, The Same Old Story, not to mention (but we will anyway) Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing Comics, I Never Write for the Money, But I Always Turn in the Manuscript for a CheckDirect Comments: Comic Book Creators in their Own WordsDirect Conversations: Talks with Fellow DC Comics Bronze Age Creators, The Unpublished Comic Book Scripts of Paul Kupperberg and Son of the Unpublished Comic Book Scripts of Paul Kupperberg. You can follow Paul at and at

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Rich Buckler was always one of my favorites. Happy birthday to Rich. I received my copy of the book a couple of days ago and I heartily recommend it. Great stuff!

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  2. Oh, I remember these! And I remember Buckler’s work and name! I had no idea he had passed away! 🙁

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  3. Love Rich Buckler drawing Superman and Batman in World’s Finest.
    The Mr. Freeze story by Paul in WFC #275 is for me in the sweat spot of World’s Finest stories, #265-288.

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