Where to even start with this one?
Comics legend Joe Kubert passed away Sunday morning, August 12, at the age of 85. Kubert was a peerless editor, writer, and artist, best known not only for his work on characters like Sgt. Rock, Tor, Tarzan and Hawkman, but also for moving non-fiction work like FAX FROM SARAJEVO. As if his six-decade career as a creator weren’t enough, Kubert was also known and revered for his incredibly influential work as a teacher and mentor, founding The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art (now known simply as The Kubert School), where Kubert and a faculty of working professional artists have taught thousands of students in its over three decades of instruction, with many of its graduates going on to notable careers in the comics industry.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Joe Kubert, and I’m at a loss at what to say about Mr. Kubert that so many others haven’t said better. Instead, I think the best way to honor him here is the way we’ll be honoring Kubert and his legacy for generations to come: by admiring his work.
Here are just a few of my favorite Joe Kubert pieces:
Scott Tipton offers his condolences to the Kubert family and all who knew Joe. If you have questions about Joe Kubert or comics in general, send them here.
As I was preparing to leave the military, I decided to try a shot at getting into comics. I was an incessant doodler, but never much of an assured artist. However, I made a lot of progress after reading Betty Edwards Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. So, I put together a portfolio and applied to the Kubert School. I went up to New Jersey for an interview and portfolio review, with an instructor (not Mr. Kubert). While the instructor asked me questions and critiqued what was my then best work, I was staring at a painting hanging behind him. It was Tarzan wrestling with a crocodile, painted by Joe Kubert. I never felt so intimidated in my life (including while being inspected by an admiral). I looked at the simple beauty of that work and my far cruder drawings and thought I never had a chance. As it turned out, I was accepted to the school, but couldn’t swing it financially (long story, but I wasn’t eligible for the GI Bill, nor financial aid), so it was a dream that didn’t quite pan out, though I at least had the satisfaction of knowing that I had enough potential for them to offer me a slot. Even though life worked out differently, it was a nice feeling and a great experience.
Kubert’s work was always amazing, though I am partial to Enemy Ace, Viking Prince, Tor, and his lesser seen Abraham Stone stories; and, his Tarzan stands with Foster and Hogarth.