One of the all-time greats. Who could help but love the vivid intensity of his drawing, and the apparent ease with which it flowed. A brilliant story-teller, his design and use of juicy, moody blacks in his inking made for some of the most evocative work in the comics industry.
It was my privilege to meet and get to know him a bit when I first apprenticed for Murphy Anderson at the DC offices in 1972. Joe was a very sweet guy–and, to my surprise, very approachable (I found this to be true of many of comics’ deities–but at the time I hadn’t expected such talented “celebrities” to be such regular “Joes”).
Once when he was in need of some reference (a tiger, as I recall) I happened to have something in my portfolio that fit the bill. (By the way, I was actually shocked that Joe–a masterful renderer of all types of animals would even need reference–oh, ignorant novice that I was–why wouldn’t he?!). He borrowed the swipe and later asked how he could repay me. I asked if he’d do me a sketch–and he responded by doing me a wonderful sketch of Tarzan–signing it: “Love, Joe Kubert”. It’s one of my most treasured possessions (along with several other originals by Joe that I’ve managed to acquire over the years).
Of course, beside his own monumental contributions to the field, he also gave us the Kubert school and two sons who also do brilliant work. He must have been a hell of a good dad to have encouraged Adam and Andy to develop their talents–without withering in the shadow cast by their old man. I’m sure his other children are terrific people with their own talents, too.
He was always in such great shape–lifting weights and playing racquetball (he challenged me to a game some decades back, but I never took him up on the challenge–I’m sure he would have slaughtered me!) I always felt that he might be the one guy I knew who’d live to be 100. Well, he didn’t make it, but his work and his legacy will live on well beyond that. I’ll miss him. I salute him. My condolences and sympathy go out to his family and friends. He will be sorely missed.
I am deeply saddened to hear of Joe Kubert’s passing and offer my condolences to his family. Only several months earlier I had a discussion with him about pulp artists. We had talked only a few times, but that was enough to see how enthusiastic and so full of energy he was. Yes, not only was I saddened, but I was shocked to hear of his passing. Truly one of the greats.
Joe was a true legend in to industry with one of the most amazing and sustaining bodies of work. He was an artist, editor, writer, teacher and father, and in each of those ways he helped shaped the the world of comics for over seven decades. He represented everything right about comics and will truly be missed.
I knew Joe Kubert. I was a fan of Joe Kubert, ever since I saw his Tor..and then countless of his other characters including Sgt Rock. I asked Joe to work on a movie project I had called “Gabriel”" — that was set up at Paramount Pictures. And the Joe Kubert I met as a fan, turned out to be a kind and gracious gentleman.
I will miss him.
I was fortunate to enjoy a lovely lunch with Joe near DCComics. We talked about the comic industry, his school, and the awful pizza we were eating.
He was a true gentleman. RIP.
We are saddened to hear the sad news about Joe leaving the comic industry & we have some nice memories of Muriel and Joe. We were rivals as I drew Sgt. Fury for Marvel and he did Sgt. Rock for D.C. I taught at Kubert’s school and remember the first graduation class & how I told them they are now our competitors. We remember seeing Joe for the last time at the NY Comic Con a few years ago where our table was next to Gene Colan who also has gone to his happy resting place. Luckily we survived to see how great comics became as it was an industry that struggled to survive recognition and now Hollywood has put it on the screen forever & made billions while artists struggled with very little compensation & should all be remembered for their great talents, that being their legacy.
Dick & Lindy Ayers
Joe Kubert was a man who helped shape the comic industry with both his art and his school by helping to prepare the next generation of comics professionals. I rarely feel the need to live up to anyone when I’m working on a character but when I was assigned the New 52′s version of a modern Sergeant Rock, the grandson of the original whom Joe helped make famous Joe’s art inspired me to put something extra into those issues in an attempt to live up to the legacy he created with that character.
He was a major talent and a legend and he will be deeply missed. My thoughts are with Andy and Adam and the entire Kubert family.Tom DerenickThere’s probably nothing I can say about Joe Jubert’s passing that isn’t being said better by someone else — a writer, an artist, an editor, a student, a relative, a colleague, a friend — they all knew Joe Kubert the man.
From my vantage point in far-flung Brazil, I only knew Joe Kubert the artist. I wasn’t there for his early works on Hawkman or creating 3D comics or even his inking on the first issue of the Flash revival at the end of the ’50s. But I sure was there as a child, as a fan, when he took on the classic Tarzan character — one already handled by such stellar talents as Hal Foster, Burne Hogarth, and Russ Manning — and he made Tarzan his own, one I can clearly picture in my mind’s eye to this very day.
Sgt. Rock, Fax From Sarajevo, and so many other of his works offered a unique style, powerful visuals, and the sense a master storyteller was at work. He cared enough about this business not only to stay in it his whole life, but to form a school where others could learn from his experience and wisdom.
Of course, every book he ever wrote or drew is something from which we will continue to learn. In that sense, we will all remain his students.
Mike Deodato, Jr.
I am so sad to hear this; Joe was one of the greats–in stature, talent, generosity. He was my mentor, as he was to so many others, at the unique school he founded. He leaves an enduring legacy with the school and in his powerful, moving art. No one could push a pencil or brush loaded with ink like Joe. I’ll never forget his teaching, the critiques, the “golden moments”, the huge belt buckles, his look of pride in class when we “got it”. I’ll be thinking of Adam and Andy; your giant of a Dad will be sorely missed.
Incredibly sorry to hear that Joe Kubert has died. His work on 60’s strips like Hawkman and Sgt. Rock imprinted on my psyche at an early age. It may surprise some of you to know that I was obsessed with war comics as a kid; none moreso than Rock.
Kubert was a giant of our industry, a singular talent up there on the mountaintop with masters like Gil Kane, Will Eisner and Jack Kirby. His art was dynamic, powerful and, most of all, rich with humanity and emotional impact. Like Kirby, he was one of comics’ greatest cover artists. Like Eisner, Kubert got better with time and age, one look at his recent graphic novel, Yossel, more than proves that point: his work achieved an elegance and simplicity that made storytelling seem effortless, easy.
I never met Joe Kubert—but when someone whose work you love passes, it feels deeply personal…and I guess it is, because you have met them, in the deeps of your soul, through that work.
My heartfelt condolences to Mr. Kubert’s family and friends.
A sad day for all of us in the industry. A giant, a legend, a trail blazer, an inspiration to many of us, a master story teller, a teacher and instructor on how to use our skill and talent to the highest level.
As per all legends, he will be greatly missed.
My sincere condolences to his surviving family, friends and colleagues. He was one of the very best and made the Comic Books industry a very enjoyable experience.
One thing every artist is always asked is to name their influences. I’ve always found it amusing the wide variety of artists people come up with trying to connect my art with others. While it is true that an artist is influenced by everyone and everything, there are always a few select creators that made such an indelible impact that they might be called “influences”. For me, the list is short and Joe Kubert is at the top. Kubert’s Sgt. Rock was among the first comic books I ever saw and it set me on the creative path I am still on today. Kubert was a king.
Mark A. Lester
I barely knew the man and legend. But I do know that, to my shock, he accepted my invitation to be an ambassador for my Inkwell Awards last year and to be associated with us. This lent us a huge amount of credibility and exposure as he was debatably (although I doubt anyone would debate it) our top creator to represent us on the front lines, which says an awful LOT considering our other brilliant ambassadors and their talent & reps). And he personally handed out three Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund Awards to his students for us at the school that bears his name, a school that represented the sequential art field like no other. He was so active, strong and busy that I figured he’d surely be around for some time to come. Starting professionally at the age of TWELVE, he was one of the final surviving innovators of the golden-age of comics and one who helped to develop our sequential art form as a teacher and mentor for decades. Honestly, it’s more of a loss to this industry and community than I can even properly express.
I sincerely extend all of my best wishes to his family and loved ones on behalf of the Inkwell Awards family. May he rest and peace. Thanks a lot, Joe!
Joe Kubert’s career in the comics field began in the early 40s at age 12 (give or take a year) and didn’t end until his death on August 12, 2012 at age 85. In between he produced over 70 years of magnificent comic book art and encouraged hundreds of budding cartoonists who attended his Kubert School. He also maintained a reputation as one of the nicest guys in the business and in the process raised two sons who carried on the family business.
He and his mentor, the late Will Eisner, were among the very best the comic book field has ever produced.
He was, and remains, one of my heroes.
Michael T. Gilbert
Joe Kubert passed away today–a presence in my life from his beautiful artwork in the comics of my childhood, his generosity while I was doing The Comic Reader, literally decades of working together in many combinations including the joy of having him illustrate my scripts and seeing our relationship grow into friendship.
I had the privilege of interviewing Joe recently for the new Taschen volume, and the voice that came through was a man more gracious to his teachers and more filled with the belief that he was lucky to have spent his life doing what he loved…sentiments that were of his essence.
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…
Joe was such an inspirational figure. Aside from his phenomenal talent, he showed us that if we were really serious about making it in the comics industry , you had to put in many hours at the drawing table, and that there were no shortcuts to becoming good at your craft. He showed me a lot about work ethics, as well as always bring a kind and supportive man. He will truly be missed.
God bless Joe Kubert . He was kind to me and helped me when I was an aspiring writer, taking the time to talk to me once a week on the phone. I’m proud to say that that we became business friends for the last 25 years, he always remained kind and had a handshake like a massive vise. He was a great talent, teacher and true professional. Rest easy, Joe.
Joe Kubert’s work on Sgt. Rock for DC stands among some of the best war stories in comic history, his style which highlighted and reinforcing the horrors of war stand vividly in my memories.
Even in the beginning of the superhero industry, Joe Kubert had a distinctive style that made him stand out. He brought a depth and a rough-edged charm to superheroes that enhanced their humanity and gave a sense of realism. He’ll be missed by generations of fans and students who will succeed but not replace him.
Not only was Joe a legend in our field, he also defined the word gentleman.
I am very saddened by the news of Joe passing away.
Joe was and still is a Great artist and teacher.
He launched many artists’ careers in his time and I was one of them.
He taught me to always hit my deadlines and to be a full artist.
Not just a penciler, inker or colorist.
My first Published work was a back up story in SGT. ROCK.
Joe’s teachings guided me on every panel I drew for CATWOMAN.
It was a great honor to be taught by him.
His words and art will always inspire me.
Joe Kubert… He was in so many ways a giant of a man. A stong man but with the heart and soul of the great artist. He had all the qualities that count, beginning with wisdom, integrity and perspective and never letting his artistry demands override his family priorities. He inspired me as a boy, firing my imagination every month, quickly pulling me into the world of comic books with The Viking Prince, followed later by Sgt. Rock, Hawkman, and Enemy Ace. His artwork was powerful, emotion-filled, and spoke to me. When I would first become a professional comic book writer, I hit the jackpot! Knowing what a total fan of Joe’s I was, Sol Harrison and Denny O’Neil of DC surprised me by having Joe draw my first cover on The Shadow #9! But Joe never rested on his laurels. When other artists failed to evolve their skillsets with the passage of time into their later years, Joe honed his and took his talents to the next step, remaining contemporary and relevant in the process. He pushed the creative envelope with his own original novels that defined the best of graphic story-telling. And meanwhile? He devoted the second half of his life to educating kids and developing generation after generation of new art talent for the comic book industry. And how many people can claim they were consistently active and vibrant working in comics for 70 years, 1942-2012? Farewell to yet another great inspiration, mentor, and dear friend! I will miss our lunches where we talk about comics, movies, and life, itself. Use the wings, Joe… use the wings….
As a kid, I was hugely influenced by Joe Kuberts Tarzan. I learned to ink from a one page lesson he did in a Tarzan treasury edition, and I sat with Joe on my very first comic convention panel as a professional. His work was always a revelation, and he just kept getting better and better as the years went on. The news of his passing is very sad indeed. My deepest condolences go to his family and friends. His influence on the comic industry will be felt for a long time indeed.
Joe Kubert gave me my first editorial position back in 1971 as his editorial assistant then my first series to write, John Carter of Mars for the back of Tarzan. He was a brilliant artist, teacher, editor and all around person. His talent and his wisdom will be missed.
I knew Joe since I was a boy. We were neighbors and I didn’t realize he was a legend until I got older. He didn’t act like a legend. I ran into him in ShoptRite last year–he was on line to pay for his groceries and I snuck up behind him. “Isn’t it strange not to have people standing on line to see you?” I said and Joe turned around and laughed. He was a regular guy, except he was better than everyone at most things and didn’t let on. Joe was an exceptional family man, exceptional artist and teacher, a keen businessman… playing paddleball or handball into his mid-eighties, creating great art every day, that vice-like handshake of his, always a twinkle in his eye. I was so pleased to know him, to stop by the school from time to time, to be able to participate in the scholarship awards there each year, and have Joe involved in charity projects I was running. He was just aces, this terrific guy who never seemed old, just big and strong and excellent. I was sure he’d be around forever.
Joe Kubert was in a class of his own. One of the greatest Silver Age Artists in an age of many great artists, I only met him once and he was a warm and decent man who gave a good chunk of his life teaching others how to do comic well. He will be missed.
Oh man! What sad news. I always found Joe to be an inspiration. So many artists decline as they get on in years, and he totally defied the passing of time. I’m saddened, but I celebrate the fact that he was doing what he loved until the end. My thoughts and prayers go out to Adam and Andy.
The only good Joe Kubert story I have is kind of second-hand. One time at the church I attended, a woman who had been to Sarajevo came to speak to us about the war and the conditions that still existed there. I went up to her afterward and asked her if she knew about Joe Kubert and FAX FROM SARAJEVO. Her eyes lit up. She did indeed know about him and the book, and praised them both.
Joe was one of the pros that I enjoyed meeting over the years. I met him on several occasions and enjoyed each time. He always provided me with a weath of information. When Bob Cosgrove and I interviewed him on the opening of his school, he took a good hour to show us around and made us feel right at home. He was always a gentleman and will be sorely missed.
Joe was an inspiration to so many, and for me…well, he was the guy that did it his way and kept it classy all the way through. His work will live forever in our hearts and his passion can be felt in every single drawing.
No matter how many times I met Joe, each and every time, i felt like a 14 year old fan boy and was always in constant awe. Comics will never be the same…we lost a master storyteller and a gentle soul.
Well, I knew something was off about today, I could feel it in the air. Just heard the saddest news. Joe Kubert has passed away, he was only 85. This really is horrible, and my heart goes out to the Kubert family. I never had the luxury of meeting him, though I certainly would have loved that. I came to Kubert appreciation a little late in the game. Surprisingly, because I had been exposed to so many great variety of artists from his era before. There was something I just wasn’t getting about his work whenever I encountered it. But there was damn good reason others wanting to learn turned to what he had to offer, why he started a school for our beloved craft. Wasn’t until I’d become a more educated seasoned artist myself that I truly understood the genius of what his work is. Not was, but is, because it will remain a vital part of my understanding of good art for as long I live, it will always be fresh and inspiring, probably well past my life, uplifting others.
James H. Williams III
I did not know Joe Kupert personally. But like most of my peers I grew up with his art. Many were the days I filled reading the comics he drew. Though there are far too many to mentioned here, I have to say that when I think of him I see, ENEMY ACE and TARZAN the most. The grace, style, and energy of his lines, whether his figures were at rest, or in motion, seemed so natural and effortless. He was a true artist who happened to draw comics. His family has lost an important part of their lives. And so I wish them the strength they need to make it through these most difficult days. To those of us who knew and respected his work, I hope we will continue to strive for that kind of excellence in the art we create. For those who enter this field, never knowing his name or work, I hope others will let them know that he is one of the shoulders on which stand
Mr. Kubert’s legacy is massive and enduring – His brilliant work, the creators he inspired, the creators he taught through his school, and his sons that continue in his path and blaze their own trails. His passing is a tremendous loss to the industry, but the stories and characters he leaves behind will be celebrated forever.
Joe Kubert had an enormous influence on me as a kid, and my formative years as an artist, especially his Tor comics for St. John and his pioneering 3D work. In those days I got my hands on anything Joe drew, from his great war comics work to his beautiful Foster homage Viking Prince. Joe could draw dinosaurs before people to how to draw dinosaurs! He was a true natural and a one-of-a-kind. In 1980 Joe, Will Eisner and I went to Spain together with Joe’s lovely wife to receive various wards from the good people of Barcelona. From the moment we boarded the plane, Joe was an “instant” old friend. I loved to crack him up, just to see that smile, hear that great laugh. I miss you already, Joe. God love you– millions of American kids did in the 1950′s and beyond–and peace be with you, brother.
I only met him only once — a true gentleman. Best Tarzan artist of all time. Most graceful comic artist that ever lived. I knew John Buscema pretty well and John considered Joe the best.
It was a privilege to be in the same business as Joe Kubert.
By the time I got into comics Joe Kubert was already a living legend at DC. I loved everything he did from War Comics to Super Heroes, even Sgt. Savage and his Screaming Eagles toys. Joe gave a realistic look to everything he worked on. Back in 2005 I had the privilege of interviewing Joe. It is always a joy to talk to one of your heroes on the phone. Between his art, his school and his children Joe will live on forever in our hearts.
He taught us all how to draw, how to dream and how to live a meaningful life with class, honor and dignity. We mourn the loss of a giant who walked amongst us with kindness and humility.
As a kid, when I was first noticing different artists’ styles, I was not impressed by the likes of Joe Kubert. I thought his work was “too sloppy”. But I’m not that dopey, and it didn’t take me long to learn to appreciate Joe’s wonderful draftsmanship, creativity, freshness and storytelling. Now I just love to drink deeply from the cup of Kubert – his lush art is always brilliant, insightful and seemingly effortless.
Having the good fortune to get to know Joe a bit over the past few years, I learned to respect him even more. What a great family man, teacher and entrepreneur!
But aside from his phenomenal accomplishments, I was always struck by his graciousness and humility. One time, I told him how impressed I was with the layout of an old Men of War cover. His face lit up, and he seemed genuinely thrilled. As if my my meager observations meant anything. But somehow, he made me felt like it. When I’d (shamefully) ask him for an autograph, he’s always provide one but with a true eagerness, as if he was signing for royalty or ahead of state. He had that unique ability (I imagine because he had such a limitless talent) to make everyone around him feel special or talented. I couldn’t walk away from a visit with Joe without feeling inspired, excited and resolving to be a little better.
The first time I ever attended San Diego Comic Con, I was a rookie writer with just a few books published. I was scheduled to do an autographing at the Malibu Comics booth and took my seat beside the legend that is Joe Kubert. I sat stunned for a few minutes before finally getting the courage to say “Mr. Kubert, it is an honor to be signing autographs beside you.” He gave a jolly laugh, playfully elbowed me in the ribs and said, “the honor is all mine, kid.” It’s who he was.
The best of us is gone.
Everyone talks about what a big burly guy Joe was, which he was but I always found him elegant. Elegant in speech, and movement in contrast to the raw power of his art and belly laughs for that matter. Sure Kirby was The King but when I turned a page on one of Joe’s pages sometimes it would take my breath away.
Those incredible swirling etched lines on Hans Von Hammer’s face punctuated by the tidal wave of ink defining the furry collar framing his face. Tarzan’s taut, defined muscles against the controlled storm of fur on the gorilla battling him. It didn’t get better than that folks.
Joe once honored me by asking I lecture at his school in front of the entire school. I gave my usual talk about the history of comic art and how to appreciate the greats who came before us peppered with many references to Joe. I was a little embarrassed. I had to reassure him and the students that I was not mentioning him so much just because he was there, I always included him in my talks.
When I first met Joe I told him “I have to say something to you but there’s no follow-up. You are the best.” What else was there to say.
I’m one of 5 or 6 people who ever got to ink Joe Kubert’s work.
What an honor. What a horrible opportunity to disgrace myself in front of the world.
I was to ink two pages of Joe’s pencils (PENCILS!!) for the African famine relief comic Heroes for Hunger DC was putting out.
The pages showed up. They were beautiful. Just like Kubert inked pages but waiting for my ink to potentiality screw them up.
I inked them for a while, HATED what I had done (fear) and put them away for a week. Eventually I dived back in and thought I had done a good job not losing the flavor of the work (Marshal Rogers thought they credited me incorrectly for pages that Kubert had inked).
I sent Joe copies to get his feed back. It was like throwing a feather into a wishing well and waiting for the splash. I finally called Joe for his reaction. “They weren’t bad”. I was crest fallen. Months later Andy Kubert told me that was a rave review from his father.
A true legend, Joe Kubert is one of the top artists of all time. I grew up reading Joe’s stories fresh off the stands beginning with TOR and the 3-D comics. The VIKING PRINCE series in BRAVE AND THE BOLD was exciting and innovative. His HAWKMAN revival in the Silver Age still stands tall among the best of the best. His inks on Carmine Infantino’s pencils on SHOWCASE 4 in 1956, the rebirth of the FLASH, puts that book in the top 10 of my all time favorite comic books. I still enjoy collecting Joe’s Golden-Age comics work and am thrilled by each “new” find. We had Joe as guest years ago at OrlandoCon where he was a crowd pleaser and did many drawings for the fans. I mean this respectfully, he was a cartoonist in the truest sense. His style is unique. No other artist can touch Joe Kubert. He will live on forever thru his tremendous body of work.