Joe Kubert, the legendary comic book artist and founder of The Kubert School, died August 12.
Revered for his work on DC Comics characters like Sgt. Rock and Hawkman, as well as comic books and strips such as Tor, Son of Sinbad, Tarzan, Viking Prince and Tales of the Green Beret.
Kubert was born in Poland and emigrated with his family to Brooklyn, New York, attending Manhattan’s High School of Music and Art as a teenager and later sharpening his skills at the Chesler studio.
Kubert began working for DC in the ’40s, etching out a remarkable career that would see him land numerous accolades, including Alley, National Cartoonists Society, Eisner and Harvey Awards.
Kubert and Robert Kanigher‘s Sgt. Rock has become one of the most iconic comic book characters ever created, ranked as the 78th greatest comic book hero of all time by IGN and the 183rd greatest comic book character ever according to Wizard magazine.
As DC’s director of publications from 1967 to 1976, the late great also founded The Kubert School. Formerly known as the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art or Joe Kubert School, the influential establishment is described as the only accredited school devoted entirely to cartooning. Its alumni includes several high-profile comic book artists and cartoonists. Two of its most famous students are Kubert’s sons, Adam and Andy.
Paying tribute to the towering figure, several luminaries of the comic book world have praised Kubert’s work, life and legacy, painting a picture of a well-loved and respected man with a flair for comics and teaching.
Marvel’s Stan Lee said of Kubert, “Joe Kubert was one of the best! Not only as fine an artist as any in comics, but also a talented teacher. His Kubert School turned out many terrific illustrators and let’s not forget his sons Adam and Andy, who, by following in his gigantic footsteps, are also among comicdom’s best artists. Joe was a credit to his profession and a true friend to all in comics.”
Eisner Award-winner Mar Waid compared Kubert to the greats. “In the world of comics, Jack Kirby and Will Eisner may have been more influential artists, but Joe Kubert was its most influential man. Even if he were to be remembered solely for his body of illustration work, he’d still be one of the greats, but by opening the Kubert School in 1976, he was able to personally mentor and educate literally thousands of successful artists who owe their careers to his teachings.”
Frank Cho added, “I’m stunned at the news of Joe Kubert’s passing. To me, he was one of the great ironmen of the comic book industry. Not only was he a prolific artist, he was also a fantastic teacher who, with his wife, Muriel, created The Kubert School. … His career spanned seven decades, which is unheard of, and only matched by Stan Lee at this point.
“I met him couple of years ago in Baltimore Comic Con,” Cho continued. “Not only was he still strong as an ox — his bone-crushing handshakes are legendary — and looked 20 years younger than he was, but he still had that glint in his eyes, a creative passion unsquelched by age.
“From what I hear, he was still drawing to the very end, staying true to his character.”
Mark Evanier continued, “Joe was one of the most important artists to ever work in comics, as evidenced just by the vast number of other artists who started off copying his work, learning from his work and– for a lucky group — attending his school. He drew with intensity and testosterone and a sense of drama and somehow made it look easy and impossible in every panel. His characters had depth and you could hear them thinking on every page. Plus, he was a nice man, too.
“Joe Kubert’s work and reputation were as rock solid as anyone from his generation. I only spent time with him once [in Germany in 1994], but I liked him a lot. He reminded me of my father-in-law. [I’m] betting you’ll hear the word ‘father’ a lot from American comics pros and students.”
Craig Yoe described Kubert as “strong,” “passionate” and “of course sharp as a tack.” Paul Levitz called him “a host of superlatives”.
A titan of the industry, Kubert will be missed.
Head on over to KubertSchool.edu for more information on his passing.
Have a look at some pics of Kubert’s work below.