Born in Brooklyn, New York, John Buscema showed an interest in drawing at an early age, copying comic strips such as Popeye. In his teens, he developed an interest in both superhero comic books and such classic adventure comic strips as Hal Foster's Tarzan and Prince Valiant, Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon, and Milton Caniff's Terry and the Pirates. He also showed an interest in commercial illustrators of the period, such as N.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, Dean Cornwell, Colby Whitmore, Albert Dorne, and Robert Fawcett, and in the fine arts, the Italian Renaissance artists in particular.
In the 1950s, Buscema contributed material to several titles published by the now-defunct Charlton Comics including Ramar of the Jungle and Nature Boy. Many of Charlton's properties were later acquired by DC Comics, but none of them were characters that Buscema had any direct involvement in creating.
Buscema worked with DC Comics for the first time in 2000, initially doing both pencils and inks on a black-and-white Batman short story (Batman: Gotham Knights #7, 2000). He reunited with Stan Lee on the 2001 one-shot Just Imagine Stan Lee and John Buscema Creating Superman. He finished the pencils on 2004's Superman: Blood of My Ancestors, begun by Gil Kane, who had since died, and had just signed on for a five-issue miniseries with Roy Thomas, JLA: Barbarians. Shortly after finishing the first issue, Buscema, diagnosed with stomach cancer a few months earlier, died at the age of 74.
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