COMICS TITAN JOE KUBERT GONE: FAREWELL TO THE MASTER
Comics royalty artist/ teacher JOE KUBERT who co-created Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace and the first 3-D comics has died at 85. The unimaginable loss of Kubert is trending on Twitter worldwide.
After being born in Poland in 1926, Kubert immigrated to the United States. Kubert grew up in the East New York section of Brooklyn before beginning his career in comics during the 1940s at the age of 12.
He found fame as an artist, writer and editor at National Comics now known as DC, as he first put ink to paper delineating the “combat happy Joes of Easy Co.” and their hard as nails leader, the war weary Sgt. Rock.
Collaborating with writer Bob Kanigher, Kubert’s unique brand of storytelling brought raw emotion coupled with cinematic intensity that lifted Rock from the gung-ho cliché comics war hero to a realistic three dimensional characterization that won him admirers worldwide.
In the 1950s Joe co-created with Norm Maurer the very first 3-D comic books including his own creation, the prehistoric caveman “Tor” who battled not only dinosaurs but his own tribe. Kubert also brought swashbuckling heroics to the comics with his “Prince Valiant” inspired yarns of “The Viking Prince”.
Kubert then helped launch the Silver Age of comics for DC in the 1960s drawing “Hawkman”, newly reinvented by writer Garden Fox as an intergalactic alien on Earth. Alongside his wife, Hawkgirl, they battled the menaces of the present with the weapons of the past.
But it was in the pages of Star Spangled War Stories that Kubert achieved his masterpiece, the saga of “Enemy Ace”. Set during the “blood drenched skies” of World War One, Enemy Ace was told from the enemy’s point of view. The German ace, Von Hammer was despised by his own men as a merciless “killing machine” as he was continually tormented by his own guilt and alienation.
Kubert’s former assistant at DC, best-selling author Jeff Rovin told The ENQUIRER, “Enemy Ace was a statement about the Viet Nam war – THAT -- and maybe because Joe just liked to draw bi-planes.”
And draw them he did – swooping arcing panels that lead the reader’s eye from page to page in a breathtaking gutsy style full of bravado and yet with quiet insight depicting the lonely angst of a fierce warrior who’d rather not kill. His only friend a wolf.
After DC was awarded the Edgar Rice Burroughs license for Tarzan, Kubert breathed new life into the fabled apeman – propelling the Jungle Lord to new heights embellished by Joe’s sinewy expressionism.
In 1976, Kubert and his wife Muriel opened The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, N.J. where scores of his students leapt from talented amateur to seasoned professional – including his sons Andy and Adam.
Meanwhile, Kubert strode forward with several award winning graphic novels – among them “Jewish Gangster” and "Yossel -- April 19, 1943”.
"I was, and still am, the luckiest person in the world," Joe Kubert told the Newark Star-Ledger, saying he saw his artistic endeavors as not just work -- but his life.
Never retiring, Kubert kept drawing, "Not because I have to but because I WANT to."
Former DC publisher Paul Levitz mourned on Facebook, “The world of comics is so much better for his contributions as an artist, a pioneering self-publisher, editor, writer and teacher.
“Somewhere, there's a spirit with the strongest handshake ever getting ready to start drawing on clouds...”