Silvio "Sal" Buscema was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1936 and spent his entire childhood there. In 1956, Sal was restless and wanted to get his stint in the U.S. Army over with so he could start a career as an artist. In those days, the military draft was part of life for a young man and people wouldn't hire anyone for a long-term position if they hadn't completed their military service first. After being drafted, he was stationed at Fort Belvoir as an illustrator. He got out of the Army and worked for Creative Arts Studio in Washington, D.C. Following in the footsteps of his big brother John, Sal joined Marvel Comics in 1968 and was soon given his first official assignment: to ink Silver Surfer #4, pencilled by his brother.
Overshadowed by his big brother, who had been working for Marvel Comics since 1948, and who was known for his incredible rendering of Marvel's first family, the Fantastic Four, and the Silver Surfer, Sal spend the first few years of his career inking over his brother's pencils on the Silver Surfer and over Barry Windsor-Smith's pencils on Conan the Barbarian.
Having proven himself, Sal was given regular pencilling chores for the Submariner, starting with issue #25 in May 1970. Through the seventies (70s), Sal also pencilled or inked issues of Amazing Spider-Man, the Avengers, Captain America, Daredevil, the Defenders, the Fantastic Four, the Mighty Thor, the Incredible Hulk, ROM: the Space Knight and most importantly Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man (PPSM). It was while working on PPSM that Sal established a record for the longest running stint for a penciller on the same title. Sal pencilled 18 of the first 20 issues of PPSM, left to work on other titles, and came back onboard in 1988 with issue #134. He then worked his way up to issue #238 (in 1996), handling both the pencilling and inking chores for close to 80 issues out of that stretch.
During that same period, Sal became known as the only comic book artist inking over his own pencils. In fact, he was once heard saying that "pencilling is work, inking is a pleasure". It was also during that same stretch – more so in the late eighties (80s) – that Sal drastically changed his pencilling style. His drawings became more aggressive with stiffer lines and the pictures more clearly defined. Some say it was the advent of then-young artists such as Todd MacFarlane and later on, Erik Larsen that pushed Sal to modify his pencilling techniques to meet with the current trend. However, by paying close attention to his earlier work on PPSM, the exact same pencilling style can clearly be distinguished; the only difference being that someone else inked over his pencils.
In the 1990s, besides working for Marvel, Sal started inking such series as Superman, Superboy and Creeper for DC Comics. In the mid-90s, Sal went into semi-retirement but continued working arduously. Most recently, since early 2000, Sal has been working on and off on the Spider-Girl title, handling the inking chores.
Sal has also been active in community and church theatre productions, including "Fiddler on the Roof" and "1776". He did some artwork for the church as well as some of the backdrops for their theatrical productions. He and his wife, Joan, attend the Jubilee Christian Center and currently reside in the Golf Community of Gainesville, Virginia. Previously, they and their three sons were long-time residents of Fairfax Station, also in Virginia.