Memory is a tricky thing.
Those names and details that mean so much to you early in life can follow you around silently, laying low in the background of your subconscious, until one day, when you read a post on Twitter or Facebook, suddenly emotions you didn’t know you had come roaring to the forefront.
Example, you ask?
Here’s an example. When I was just a tiny kid, and my parents recognized my love for comic books, one of the first things they bought me was ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS.
This paperback collection by Stan Lee reprinted the first appearances of all of Marvel’s earliest, landmark characters, along with Stan’s recollections and, for each character, a more modern, 1970s contemporary example of the kind of stories they were then telling with that character. And to my young, fevered, comic-book-crazy mind, these stories came to represent the cornerstones of the Marvel House of Ideas. If creators were in this book, they were Marvel. Stan Lee. Jack Kirby. Steve Ditko. John Romita. And in the case of the Incredible Hulk, Herb Trimpe.
That contemporary Hulk story from ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS was burned into my brain. “A Clash of Titans,” from INCREDIBLE HULK #118, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Herb Trimpe.
To this day, I can see those panels in my mind in an instant. Lady Dorma rescuing a drowning Bruce Banner.
An underwater Hulk battling it out with Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner.
Hulk using his devastating hand-clap maneuver.
Namor trying to suffocate Hulk with an underwater whirlpool, and the Hulk breaking it up with a mighty green grasp.
To this day, when I think of the Hulk, I think of Herb Trimpe’s Hulk.
Herb Trimpe passed away unexpectedly Monday morning at the age of 75. He had a long, legendary career at Marvel from the late 1960s through the mid-1990s, working on such series as INCREDIBLE HULK, GODZILLA, SHOGUN WARRIORS, G.I. JOE and many others, as well as being responsible for so many iconic Marvel covers, not to mention being the first artist to draw Wolverine, which alone is enough to mark his place in the history books forever. When he was laid off by Marvel during their dark times of bankruptcy and poor management, to Mr. Trimpe’s great credit, he embarked on a second career as an art teacher following his departure from Marvel, as well as serving as a grief counselor and chaplain at Ground Zero following the horrifying events of 9/11. He also continued to be involved in the comics industry, working at IDW Publishing in recent years on various projects, in addition to being an active figure on the convention circuit.
I never had the privilege of meeting Herb Trimpe, but from those who have, I hear nothing but the kindest words and fondest recollections of a remarkable man. He will be missed.