Comics industry remembers Joe Kubert, ‘a friend, a teacher, an influence and a giant’ [Updated]
“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,” J.M. DeMatteis wrote on his blog. “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 a kind elegance and simplicity that made storytelling seem effortless, easy.”
In a lengthy remembrance, Mark Evanier shares a story from a mid-1970s San Diego Comic-Con:
Everyone loved Joe. Everyone respected Joe. He was among a handful of artists whose speed and natural ability caused others to gape and express their envy. One year at the Comic-Con in San Diego (the same mid-seventies con where I took the above photo), Joe was asked to do a drawing for a charity art auction. He stepped up to an easel with a big, yard-high piece of drawing paper on it. He picked up a box of pastel chalks. He turned to the easel —
— and in under a minute, there was this drawing there of Hawkman. It was an incredible, detailed drawing that might have taken another artist an hour and been a third as good. Other artists working on nearby easels stopped and blinked in amazement.
Speaking of amazement, I find it wonderful and amazing that even at 85, Kubert was still drawing, and still drawing well. His next project, Joe Kubert Presents, was announced earlier this year for an October release.
Many creators have taken to Twitter or Facebook to remember Kubert, and I’ve rounded up some of their comments below:
Paul Levitz: “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…”
DC Entertainment: “We are saddened to learn of the death of our colleague and friend Joe Kubert. An absolute legend in the industry, his legacy will not only live on with his sons, but with the many artists who have passed through the storied halls of his celebrated school. His latest work on Before Watchmen: Nite Owl was among his best, and we are so honored to have worked side-by-side with such an unforgettable force in both comics and in life.”
Dan DiDio and Jim Lee: “For those of us who knew him personally, as well as those of us who knew him primarily for his remarkable talent and impact on our industry over the years, Joe Kubert was part of the DC family. On behalf of our executive team, as well as everyone at DC Entertainment who cares about Joe and the whole Kubert family, we send our prayers, our sympathy and our deepest appreciation for everything he’s contributed to comics over the course of his life and career. Until the very end, Joe was creating art that will live on for generations and we will all miss him deeply.”
Marv Wolfman: “Joe gave me my first editorial job in 1971 as his editorial assistant then my first series to write, John Carter of Mars. He was a brilliant artist, teacher, editor and all around person. His talent and his wisdom will be missed.”
Michael Allred: “I’m stunned in learning of the passing of Joe Kubert. While Joe was there almost from the very beginning of the comic book industry, he seemed as ageless as his work is timeless. He never lost a beat. What a loss to everyone. Of course, most especially to his wonderful family. But what a legacy. What an incredible phenomenal astounding legacy. You might imagine how thrilled I was when he did this incredible piece for me. Love ya forever Joe!”
George Perez: “Rest in peace: Joe Kubert. You’ve inspired so many in this industry, including me. Thanks for all the years of wonder and imagination, and the willingness and dedication to passing down so much of your knowledge and experience to the generations that followed. You have left a great legacy like few others could ever hope to achieve. May we prove worthy of it all.”
Stuart Immonen: “We are completely heartbroken. He was better than all of us. Thank you Joe Kubert.”
Ron Marz: “Nobody in this business has ever cast as long a shadow as Joe Kubert did. And nobody ever will. #LongLiveJoe”
Cully Hamner: “I loved Joe Kubert as a kid, and dammit, he was still doing vital work. We should all follow his example.”
Peter David: “My deepest condolences to Andy, Adam and the rest of the Kubert clan. Your dad was a class act all the way.”
Gail Simone: “I have many artists I love, I have one artist that’s my favorite. Rest in peace to Joe Kubert, maker of heroes. ”
Marc Silvestri: “This comic [The House of Mystery #292] hangs on a wall in my office and contains my first professional work. The cover is by Joe Kubert. The man’s talent was immense and his influence immeasurable. He was in a class all his own, my condolences to his family.”
Jimmy Palmiotti: “I sat and looked over some of the art I owned of Joe … broke my heart there isn’t more coming. Joe left us more than a legacy, he left us two brilliant artists … chips off the old block. Andy and Adam…sorry for your loss today.”
Scott Snyder: “So sorry to hear about the great Joe Kubert passing. Leaves such a tremendous legacy though. Love and thoughts w/his family.”
Phil Hester: “Tough to process the Joe Kubert news. I kind of believed he would outlive me. His art will outlive us all. Kubert crossed the finish line at 85 having never lost a step. Legendary.”
Terry Moore: “So sorry to hear of Joe Kubert’s passing. Wonderful man, great talent, fantastic legacy.”
Matt Fraction: “That upcoming Joe Kubert TARZAN artist’s edition just became all that much more essential. Goodnight, Joe. Love to Adam & Andy. And thanks.”
J.K. Woodward: “I wasted my whole life and never just walked up and shook the man’s hand. I’ve avoided meeting so many of my heroes because I’m afraid, but there’s nothing worse than missing the opportunity. We owe you so much Joe! I’m so sorry I wasted my opportunity to meet you — your work taught me so much.”
Mark Waid: “Joe Kubert was a friend, a teacher, an influence and a giant. My condolences to the family.”
Waid shared this image on Twitter, showcasing some of the characters Kubert worked on over the years:
Andy Kuhn: “Rest In Peace, Joe Kubert. You were an unbelievably huge inspiration to me, and thousands of others. Words fail…..”
Jason Aaron: “I thought Joe Kubert would outlive us all. The man worked harder on his slowest day than the rest of us do on our best. RIP Papa Joe.”
Erik Larsen: “Joe Kubert was one of those artists who seemed to defy the rules by getting better as he aged.”
Paolo Rivera: “The man could draw the way some people can talk — without effort, with no hesitations, pauses, or filler. Couple that with a lifetime of masterpieces, goodwill, and teaching and you have the makings of a legend.”
Francesco Francavilla: “Comics has lost another of its GREATS: So long, Joe Kubert, thank you so much for everything you gave us. We will be forever in your debt.”
Chris Burnham: “Joe Kubert… Wish I had time to draw Enemy Ace, Hawkman, Tor, and Sgt Rock on a pyramid of multi-colored cubes.”
Jeff Lemire: “Im deeply saddened to hear of Joe Kubert’s passing he was my favorite cartoonist and a huge inspiration for me. Rest in peace, Joe.”
Tony Daniel: “Sad day for comics. Rest in Peace to a true Master, Joe Kubert.”
Mark Brooks: “So sad to hear of the passing of Joe Kubert. His legend will live on for generations of young artist to learn from. Well done, Mr. Kubert.”
Mike Norton: “RIP Joe Kubert. His influence is undeniable. He literally taught generations to make great comics.”
Kurt Busiek: If Joe Kubert had peaked with Hawkman in ’61, he’d have had a memorable and accomplished career. If he’d peaked with Enemy Ace, in ’65, too. But Joe Kubert was one of those artist who just kept getting better. His TEX: THE LONESOME RIDER, from 2005, is brilliant, gorgeous stuff.”
Kyle Baker: “I admire the fact that Joe Kubert never stopped improving. At an age when most cartoonists stagnate, he was asking me about computer art.”
Joe Hill: “Ah, very sad to hear about Joe Kubert passing. Kubert’s Sgt. Rock is the only Sgt. Rock.”
Colleen Doran: “Ladies and gentleman, Joe Kubert has left the drawing board. #RIPJoeKubert”
Kevin Mellon: “I was learning from Joe before I even went to the Kubert school and will continue to learn from him for the rest of my life.”
Ray Fawkes: “Terribly sad to read of Joe Kubert’s passing. His work, and his impeccable work ethic, were a great lesson to us all.”
Thomas Scioli: “Joe Kubert’s Hawkman had it all. Scary monsters, wild sci-fi concepts, moodily rendered superkinetics.”
Peter Krause: “I wish I could draw as well as Joe Kubert did. I’ll keep trying. Rest well, Mr. Kubert. Thanks for keeping the bar high…”
Ty Templeton: “Joe Kubert. One of the pillars of the sky. He never stopped getting better.”
J.T. Krul: “Very sad to hear of Joe Kubert’s passing. Can his influence even be measured with existing technology?”
Matt Seinrich: “Joe Kubert. Much love. Deeply saddened. Little known fact, he helped @sethgreen and I figure out how to make Robot Chicken. RIP.”
Sterling Gates: “My heart and condolences to the Kuberts. We think about how the industry lost a legend… they lost a father, a husband, a teacher, a man.”
- Brian Cronin shares 25 great Joe Kubert covers.
- Alex Dueben’s profile of Kubert from Memorial Day 2011.
- Kiel Phegley spoke with Kubert and his sons about the Kubert School last year.
- Graphic NYC’s profile of Kubert from 2009.
- Scott Morse shares a comic he wrote and drew that was heavily influenced by Kubert’s war stories.
- Todd Nauck shares a picture of Hawkman he drew in honor of Kubert.
– Comic Book Resources Assistant Editor Andy Liegl contributed to this report