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Rich Buckler passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He was 68 years old. His career spanned decades starting in 1967 to the present and in the 1970s-1980s he had significant runs at the mainstream publishers like Marvel Comics (Jungle Action with Black Panther, Fantastic Four, Thor, Spectacular Spider-man, and Astonishing Tales with Deathlok, a character he created), Archie Comics (Red Circle Comics line), and DC Comics (All-Star Squadron as created by both Rich and Roy Thomas, Justice League, World’s Finest Comics). Rich, or “Ron Validar” a 1970s pseudonym, rendered a wide assortment of covers for the “Big Two”; in a sense his work became a cover house style for them to draw in readers. As an artist he specialized as a penciller, inker, painter, an editor (Archie) and even a writer who wrote How-To books for Solson Publications. He also mentored and recruited artists as assistants that entered the comic book field. Two examples being George Perez and Denys Cowan.
In 2015 Bob Almond asked Rich if he’d accept the position of Inkwell Awards ambassador after listening to Rich repeatedly praise the necessity of comic book ink artists, a position that he accepted. He followed-up in 2016 with a reworked article on his views of inking for exclusive use at the Inkwell website. Rich was the last ambassador inducted to the non-profit organization to date.
Joe Goulart, a former Inkwell core committee member and close friend of Rich, shared the following announcement on his Facebook timeline and the FB Inkwell group page today:
“Yesterday the Art Community lost one of its greatest Ambassadors. Rich Buckler lost his long battle with cancer. Rich, having put smiles on so many of his fans faces, is an understatement to his ability to bring comic heroes to life in comics. From the Avengers, to Superman, from the Fantastic Four to the Secret Society of Super Villians, from Black Panther to Black Lightning, from Namor the Sub-Mariner to the Crusaders, and to his Iconic Creation of Deathlok. Rich was not only an artistic creator I had the privilege of bringing to my shows’ artists alley, Rich was my friend. Along with his wife, Mila, they became a part of my life and my family.
I will cherish all the times and memories Rich and I have spent together, he is no longer suffering.
Rest in peace my dearest friend.
RIP, Rich Buckler.
Heaven now has an artist of utmost talent.
I will miss you.