Monday, August 13, 2012

Joe Kubert 1926-2012 RIP

It is with a very heavy heart that I type out this blog post.  My mentor, Joe Kubert, has become one with the Force.

He might not have known he was my mentor, but Joe Kubert was probably the most influential artist of my entire life.  I had hopes of meeting him one day and telling him exactly that.  To thank him for doing those little art lessons in Dynamite magazine in the 80's so that a sheltered kid like me could find them & learn so much from them.  I took the advice he gave for drawing people & things seriously.  I have kept them with me even as I have discarded the rest of the magazines.  I still have them & more importantly, I still use them.

Many of you probably have no idea who Joe Kubert is, who Sgt. Rock is, but you might know silver-aged Hawkman.  You might not recognize the name Kubert if you aren't into comics, but I'm going to bet you'd recognize his work.  Those of you who know my work are going to definitely be able to see the influence.

Joe Kubert's parents escaped from Poland with their 2 month old & made it to New York where they settled.  Joe, as a mere boy of 12,  hung around the comic studios just as the industry was starting.  He began to draw and his parents nurtured that.  Before he graduated high school he was already working in the industry.  At 14, he was already assisting on Will Eisner's "The Spirit".  His big break would be drawing solo for the All American Comic title "Hawkman" in 1944.

Joe kept drawing his whole life.  He was always great to the fans & lucky for us spawned a couple of great comic drawing sons.  Andy and Adam.

I can't really describe how important those little lessons in Dynamite were to me.  I can't really explain how much it meant to me to get my hands on silver age "Hawkman" comics and to study each line, trying to understand what made the images so intense.  So alive.  I spent hours every day trying to draw like Joe.  I wanted to keep the looseness he had and combine it with my colors, which were usually very vibrant.  Most of my non-social childhood was spent with lessons in magazines or comics by Joe Kubert.

I'll never get the chance to tell him thank you in person, so Joe, wherever you are...Thanks man.

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