Sal Buscema was the youngest of four children, preceded by brothers Al (b. July 28, 1923; deceased) and John (1927–2002), the latter of whom became a celebrated comic-book artist; and sister Carol (b. June 22, 1929; deceased). Their father, who was born in Italy and died in 1973, was a barber. Buscema grew up a fan of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant comic strip, of George Tuska's comic-book art, and of commercial illustrators such has Robert Fawcett, Al Parker, and Norman Rockwell, and called his artist brother John "greatly responsible for me pursuing drawing. ... John was definitely an inspiration". Like John, Buscema attended the High School of Music & Art, graduating in 1955. He got his start as a comic-book inker in the early 1950s when his brother agreed to let him ink comics pages; this led to Sal helping John by doing occasional background art on Dell Comics series John was drawing.