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Kubert at the Big Apple Convention in Manhattan, October 17, 2009.
|Born||(1926-09-18)September 18, 1926|
|Died||August 12, 2012(2012-08-12) (aged 85)|
|Notable works||Sgt. Rock|
|Awards||Alley Award (1962, 1963, 1969)|
National Cartoonists Society Awards (1974, 1980)
Eisner Award (1977)
Harvey Award (1997)
Joseph Kubert (//; September 18, 1926 – August 12, 2012) was an American comic book artist and founder of The Kubert School. He is best known for his work on the DC Comics characters Sgt. Rock and Hawkman. His sons, Andy Kubert and Adam Kubert, have themselves become successful comic-book artists.
Kubert's other creations include the comic books Tor, Son of Sinbad, and Viking Prince, and, with writer Robin Moore, the comic strip Tales of the Green Beret.
Kubert was inducted into the Harvey Awards' Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1997, and Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1998.
Kubert was born September 18, 1926 to a Jewish family in a shtetl called Yzeran (Jezierzany), in southeast Poland (now Ukraine). He was the son of Etta (née Reisenberg) and Jacob Kubert. He emigrated to Brooklyn, New York City, United States, at age two months with his parents and his two-and-a-half-year-old sister Ida. Raised in the East New York neighborhood, the son of a kosher butcher, Kubert started drawing at an early age, encouraged by his parents.
In his introduction to his graphic novel Yossel, Kubert wrote, "I got my first paying job as a cartoonist for comic books when I was eleven-and-a-half or twelve years old. Five dollars a page. In 1938, that was a lot of money". Another source, utilizing quotes from Kubert, says in 1938, a school friend who was related to Louis Silberkleit, a principal of MLJ Studios (the future Archie Comics), urged Kubert to visit the company, where he began an unofficial apprentice and at age 12 "was allowed to ink a rush job, the pencils of Bob Montana's [teen-humor feature] 'Archie'". Author David Hajdu, who interviewed Kubert and other comics professionals for a 2008 book, reported, however, that, "Kubert has told varying versions of the story of his introduction to the comics business at age ten, sometimes setting it at the comics shop run by Harry "A" Chesler, sometimes at MLJ; however, MLJ did not start operation until 1939, when Kubert was thirteen".
Kubert attended Manhattan's High School of Music and Art. During this time he and classmate Norman Maurer, a future collaborator, would sometimes skip school in order to see publishers. Kubert began honing his craft at the Chesler studio, one of the comic-book packagers that had sprung up in the medium's early days to supply outsourced comics to publishers.
Kubert's first known professional job was penciling and inking the six-page story "Black-Out", starring the character Volton, in Holyoke Publishing's Catman Comics #8 (March 1942; also listed as vol. 2, #13). He would continuing drawing the feature for the next three issues, and was soon doing similar work for Fox Comics' Blue Beetle. Branching into additional art skills, he began coloring the Quality Comics reprints of future industry legend Will Eisner's The Spirit, a seven-page comics feature that ran as part of a newspaper Sunday supplement.
1940s and 1950s
Kubert's first work for DC Comics, where he would spend much of his career and produce some of his most notable art, was penciling and inking the 50-page "Seven Soldiers of Victory" superhero-team story in Leading Comics #8 (Fall 1943), published by a DC predecessor company, All-American Comics. Through the decade, Kubert's art would also appear in comics from Fiction House, Avon, and Harvey Comics, but he was otherwise worked exclusively for All-American and DC. Kubert's long association with the Hawkman character began with the story "The Painter and the $100,000" in Flash Comics #62 (Feb. 1945).
In the 1950s, he became managing editor of St. John Publications, where he, his old classmate Norman Maurer, and Norman's brother Leonard Maurer produced the first 3-D comic books, starting with Three Dimension Comics #1 (Sept. 1953 oversize format, Oct. 1953 standard-size reprint), featuring Mighty Mouse. According to Kubert, it sold a remarkable 1.2 million copies at 25 cents apiece at a time when comics cost a dime.
At St. John, writer Norman Maurer and artist Kubert created the enduring character Tor, a prehistoric-human protagonist who debuted in the comic 1,000,000 Years Ago (Sept. 1953). Tor immediately went on to star in 3-D Comics #2-3 (Oct.-Nov. 1953), followed by a titular, traditionally 2-D comic-book series, written and drawn by Joe Kubert, that premiered with issue #3 (May 1954). The character has gone on to appear in series from Eclipse Comics, Marvel Comics' Epic imprint, and DC Comics through at least the 1990s. Kubert in the late 1950s unsuccessfully attempted to sell Tor as a newspaper comic strip. He also contributed work to Avon Periodicals, where he did science-fiction stories for Strange Worlds and other titles.
For E.C., Kubert drew a few stories for Harvey Kurtzman's Two-Fisted Tales, alongside E.C. stalwarts Wally Wood, Jack Davis and John Severin.
DC Comics and Sgt. Rock
Beginning with Our Army at War #32 (March 1955), Kubert began to freelance again for DC Comics, in addition to Lev Gleason Publications and Atlas Comics, the 1950s iteration of Marvel Comics. By the end of the year he was drawing for DC exclusively, working on such characters as the medieval adventurer Viking Prince, the superhero Hawkman, which would become one of his signature efforts, and, in the war comic GI Combat, features starring Sgt. Rock and The Haunted Tank, two more signature strips.
From 1965 through 1967 he collaborated with author Robin Moore on the syndicated daily comic strip Tales of the Green Beret for the Chicago Tribune.
Kubert served as DC Comics' director of publications from 1967 to 1976. During his tenure with DC, Kubert initiated titles based on such Edgar Rice Burroughs properties as Tarzan and Korak. Kubert also supervised the production of the comic books Sgt. Rock, Ragman and Weird Worlds. While performing supervisory duties he continued to draw for some books, notably Tarzan from 1972 to 1975. Kubert also did covers for Rima the Jungle Girl from 1974 to 1975. Kubert and writer Robert Kanigher created Ragman in the first issue (Aug.-Sept. 1976) of that character's short-lived ongoing series.
In the early 1960s, Kubert moved to Dover, New Jersey, where he and his wife Muriel founded The Kubert School and raised their five children: David, the eldest, followed by Danny, Lisa, and comic-book artists Adam and Andy Kubert.
Kubert wrote and drew a collection of faith-based comic strips beginning in the late 1980s for Tzivos Hashem, the Lubavitch children's organization, and Moshiach Times magazine. The stories, "The Adventures of Yaakov and Yosef", were based on biblical references, but were not Bible stories. Many were based on stories of the Lubavitcher Rebbes and their disciples.
Kubert made a return to writing and drawing in 1991 with the Abraham Stone graphic novel Country Mouse, City Rat for Malibu Comics' Platinum Editions. He returned to the character for two more stories, Radix Malorum and The Revolution published by Epic Comics in 1995.
Also for Epic Comics, he delivered the four-issue Tor miniseries in 1993. 1996 saw the publication of Fax from Sarajevo, initially released as a 207-page hardcover book and two years later as a 224-page trade paperback. The non-fiction book originated as a series of faxes from European comics agent Ervin Rustemagić during the Serbian siege of Sarajevo. Rustemagić and his family, whose home and possessions in suburban Dobrinja were destroyed, spent two-and-a-half years in a ruined building, communicating with the outside world via fax when they could. Friend and client Kubert was one recipient. Collaborating long-distance, they collected Rustemagić's account of life during wartime, with Kubert and editor Bob Cooper turning the raw faxes into a somber comics tale.
Kubert drew a pencil-illustrated graphic novels,Yossel: April 19, 1943 (2003) and 'Jew Gangster' (2005) both from IBooks. In 2003, Kubert returned to the Sgt. Rock character, illustrating 'Sgt. Rock: Between Hell and a Hard Place' a six-issue miniseries written by Brian Azarello and wrote and drew "Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy", a six-issue miniseries in 2006. 2005 also saw the publication of 'Tex, The Lonesome Rider', written by Claudio Nizzi and published by SAF Comics.
As of the mid-2000s, Kubert was the artist for PS Magazine, a U.S. military magazine, with comic-book elements, that stresses the importance of preventive maintenance of vehicles, arms, and other ordnance.
In 2008, Kubert returned to his Tor character with a six-issue limited series published by DC Comics entitled Tor: A prehistoric Odyssey. In 2009, Kubert contributed a new Sgt. Rock story for Wednesday Comics, published by DC. His son, Adam, wrote the story, his first foray at scripting. In 2011, he did the introduction and lenticular 3-D front cover for Craig Yoe's Amazing 3-D Comics!
Kubert died on August 12, 2012, three weeks short of his 86th birthday.
Kubert's several awards and nominations include:
- the 1962 Alley Award for Best Single Comic Book Cover (The Brave and the Bold #42)
- a 1963 write-in Alley Award for "Artist Preferred on Sea Devils
- a special 1969 Alley Award "for the cinematic storytelling techniques and the exciting and dramatic style he has brought to the field of comic art"
- 1974 and 1980 National Cartoonists Society Awards for best Story Comic Book, plus a 1997 nomination for Best Comic Book.
- The 1997 Eisner Award for "Best Graphic Album: New", for Fax from Sarajevo
- The 1997 Harvey Award for "Best Graphic Album of Original Work," for Fax from Sarajevo
- Tarzan: The Joe Kubert Years (Dark Horse Comics)
- Tor (DC Comics)
- Horn, Maurice. Contemporary Graphic Artists: A Biographical, Bibliographical, and Critical Guide to Current Illustrators, Animators, Cartoonists, Designers, and Other Graphic Artists. Gale Research Co., 1986. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
- Joe Kubert at the Lambiek Comiclopedia. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
- Meth, Clifford (June 4, 2005). "Joe Kubert: From Shtetl to Grand Master - Part One". "Meth Addict" (column), ComicsBulletin.com. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080820053033/http://www.comicsbulletin.com/meth/111759071768379.htm.
- Kubert, Joe (2003). "Excerpt from Yossel". JBooks.com. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. http://www.jbooks.com/firstchapters/index/FC_Kubert1.htm.
- Steve Stiles. ""The Genesis of Joe Kubert", Part 1, by Steve Stiles". Stevestiles.com. http://www.stevestiles.com/kubert1.htm. Retrieved 2012-06-08.
- Hajdu, David. The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America, page 357. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. ISBN 0-374-18767-3; ISBN 978-0-374-18767-5.
- Joe Kubert at the Grand Comics Database
- Wallace, Daniel; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1940s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Artist Joe Kubert began his most memorable work on the gravity-defying superhero Hawkman in this issue..."The Painter and the $100,000" written by Gardner Fox marked the start of a long and fruitful run between illustrator and character."
- "WonderCon Special Guests," Comic-Con Magazine (Winter 2010), p. 20.
- "Joe Kubert Interview: A Myth in the World of Comics". UniversoHQ.com. c. 2001. Archived from the original on January 22, 2011. http://www.universohq.com/Quadrinhos/interview_kubert01.cfm.
- The Tor samples consisted of 12 daily strips, reprinted in six pages in Alter Ego #10 and later expanded to 16 pages in DC Comics' Tor #1.
- McAvennie, Michael "1970s" in Dolan, p. 151 "Tarzan enjoyed a prolific period in comics when DC acquired the rights to novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs' iconic ape-man. Much of that success should be attributed to writer, artist, and editor Joe Kubert, a lifelong Tarzan fan whose gritty, expressive style was perfect for the jungle hero."
- McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 171 "Writer Robert Kanigher's origin of the frayed hero was pieced together into moody, coarse segments by Joe Kubert and Nestor, Frank, and Quico Redondo."
- Jennings, Dana. "Paper, Pencil And a Dream", The New York Times, December 14, 2003. Accessed March 29, 2012. "Mr. Kubert said that Dover, which has 18,000 people and is bisected by the Rockaway River, suits him. He and his wife, Muriel, raised their five children here, and it was here that they opened their school."
- Kuperinsky, Amy (August 12, 2012). "Joe Kubert, N.J. comic book legend, dead at 85". The Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey). Archived from the original on August 12, 2012. http://www.nj.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2012/08/joe_kubert_dead_dies_85_nj.html. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
- "Kids Zone - Bookshelf - Comics". Chabad.org. http://www.chabad.org/386330. Retrieved 2012-06-08.
- Dark Horse Comics (November 1996), ISBN 1-56971-143-7
- Dark Horse Comics (October 1998) ISBN 1-56971-346-4
- Renaud, Jeffrey (July 22, 2009). "Wednesday Comics: The Kuberts". Comic Book Resources. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=22150. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Joe Kubert|
- Official website
- Joe Kubert at the Comic Book DB
- PS Magazine
- PaulGravett.com: "Joe Kubert: Rock & A Hard Place"
- Comic Geek Speak Podcast Interview (November 21, 2005)
- Interview for Graphic NYC (March 2009)
- Archive of Molnar, Phillip, "Comic's Kuberts Teach Art to Next Generation", Associated Press via Newsday,
Joe Kubert Cover Gallery
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Mark Evanier Talks About Joe Kubert: