Joe Kubert: An appreciationWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
One may feel one’s own mortality when a relative or friend passes away, or dwell upon the mortality of others in the same situation. Then there are the giants among us whom we’ve never met, yet when they pass, so weighty is their footprint upon your psyche that they too make you sit up and realize how fleeting life can be. One such giant was the late Joe Kubert, one of the last of the comic book artists who made their mark in the Golden Age of comics and a legend through and through.
Kubert, born in Poland in 1926, entered the nascent comics industry at the tender age of 13. Within a few years, he was drawing the characters who would form the foundation of the superhero firmament, most notably the Hawkman. In fact, when the hero was revived years later in the Silver Age, Kubert was there to pick up where he had left off with the Winged Wonder and make him his own. Today, a comic fan cannot look at Hawkman without seeing Kubert’s distinctive take on the character in his or her mind’s eye. His art was of a type that stood out from the rest, impossible to confuse with anyone else’s. A true original.
His recent death sent ripples through the thoughts of both professionals and fans, prompting many to reflect upon stories of their “first Kubert comic” or a treasured Kubert sketch or even just a simple handshake with the man at a convention. He touched even more lives through his famous art school and by rearing a new generation of comic pros in his two sons, Andy and Adam, both of whom have garnered their own fans and fame in recent years.
And as for that mortality … Kubert’s death hopefully leads us to remember those favorite comic pros who are still with us, still working and providing us with the thrills and chills we love. Too often have writers and artists, especially those from the Golden Age, passed on without receiving their due, such as in the sad case of Batman’s co-creator, Bill Finger. We have the examples before us; we should never allow it to happen again. Joe Kubert heard the words of appreciation from his fans — now we must say those same words to those who followed in his footsteps.