Monday, August 13, 2012

Joe Kubert, Comics Legend 1926- 2012

 Word is already spreading through the comics community that legendary artist and creator Joe Kubert has died at the age of 85. To newer comics fans, Joe is known as the father of Andy and Adam Kubert, or the name on the Kubert School. People a little older, like me, remember him for his work on characters like Sgt. Rock, Tor, Hawkman, and Tarzan- just to name a few. I could keep going, but considering Joe's career started in the 1940's and his work continued all the way up to now- well, the list would be long and impressive.
Part of what made Sgt. Rock so great was the reflection of real-life attitudes and effects of being in a war-zone.
 I won't go into reporting about his life and work. Rather, I thought it might be appropriate for me to say some things about how I looked at Joe Kubert's work, since I am a wanna-be comics creator. My favorite artist has always been Jack Kirby. His style was gears, dials, abstract blocks of shadow, stylized lines where you could recognize his handiwork immediately. It stood out. Close on that list of comics creators I most admire are Alex Toth, and Joe Kubert. Toth I loved for his ability to use black, his pacing, and his designs.
 Joe Kubert, I liked for the liveliness of his lines. He had a loose style- it looked tight, but effortless, as though he just drew it out of his head and when it got to the paper, it was right. His style was very good for war comics and fantasy comics- it added motion and grittiness tot he images. And it wasn't just the lines, but the use of shading to create suspense, or to make the readers fill in the what was in the shadows using their own imaginations. He revitalized Hawkman, and I can't quote where the interview was, but he said something to the effect that he didn't enjoy drawing superheroes except for Hawkman, because the character looked more like a fantasy figure than a typical superhero.
 Joe Kubert also shared his skills and techniques with those who wanted to follow in comics or animation. While I could never afford to even take the correspondence courses, his school's website offered up a treasure trove of samples and how-to pages for free. They may just cover some very basic things, but they are things that many creators tend to forget about or overlook. There is value in having a master show you things that are helpful and important.

Kubert showed a variety of skills that made his art timeless and classic.

The job of a comic artist is to tell the story, even without words, and Kubert was among the best.

Kubert even did toy art for GI Joe's Sgt Savage line. Savage looks a lot like another Sgt he drew, doesn't he?
 It goes without saying that Joe Kubert will be missed. Thank you for all the stories, all the art, all the instruction and all the joy.

1 comment:

  1. Just checking back for any new posts you may have written.
    I’ve been a follower on your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation.