Monday, August 13, 2012

Joe Kubert Passes

   Joe Kubert, one of the last legendary comics artists of the Golden Age has passed away at age 85. When Cliff called to tell me, I was stunned. It seemed like Kubert, who started his professional career while still in his teens and was still doing artwork right up to the time of his death (I read a comic book he had inked, just last week.) was indestructible. He had been active in comic books almost since their creation, producing work from the 1930s right up to 2012.
   I think my first exposure to Kubert was his work on the DC incarnation of Tarzan in the early 1970s. It's possible that I had previously seen some Sgt. Rock comics, the work for which Kubert is arguably best known, but I know it was his Tarzan that really caught my attention. Later I would see reprints of his artwork on Hawkman, Rock, Tor, Viking Prince, and so many other features.
   Kubert's style changed a lot over the years, but his strong inkline is identifiable very early on. His layouts were also easy to spot, original and personal, not like anything anyone else had done. Kubert was one of those artists who could lavish a lot of detail on some panels and make stark minimalism work in others. His visual storytelling was among the best. leading a reader from panel to panel and making it look easy.
   In addition to being an amazing artist, Joe Kubert also opened a school for comics art. The number of professional artists working today who owe their careers to the Kubert School are vast. Two of Kubert's sons, Adam and Andy, are well know comics artists today. Kubert's influence on the comics industry is huge.
   After learning of Kubert's death I pulled out the Dark Horse collections of his Tarzan comics work and sat down to once again marvel over Kubert's amazing artwork. It seemed a fitting tribute. The comics industry has lost a true legend this week.

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