Like many comic-book fans, I was greatly saddened to hear that Joe Kubert passed away today at the age of 85. He was truly one of the medium’s greatest talents, easily standing alongside the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Bill Everett, Jack Cole and any other legend one would care to mention.
I first encountered his work through DC’s Bronze Age war titles like Sgt. Rock and Blitzkrieg, but soon discovered his equally revelatory stints on the Golden- and Silver-Age Hawkman via reprints. Every so often, I’d run across a Viking Prince back-up or a Ragman cover and further marvel at the man’s ability to draw a striking and exciting comic.
Those traits would even translate to his earliest, more primitive Golden-Age efforts.
I’ll leave the biographical details and emotional tributes to those who had the pleasure to know and work with Kubert. For now, let’s just remember the man through his astounding body of work.
From Cat-Man Comics #10 (Holyoke, May 1942), here’s an example of early Kubert art starring the electrical super-hero known as Volton!
By the time a few years had passed, Kubert’s style progressed considerably. The difference can readily be seen in this Hawkman feature that was first printed in a “Wheaties Miniature Edition” of Flash Comics (DC Comics, April 1946). “The Scavenger Of The Skies” was written by Gardner Fox.
In the 1950s, Joe Kubert became managing editor of the small St. John imprint, which had already published some of the better comics of the era despite its relative obscurity to such titans as DC.
Kubert created one of his most enduring characters at St. John: Tor. As it was obviously a labor of love, the artist would revive the character several times in subsequent years for a variety of publishers.
Here is Tor’s first appearance in One Million Years Ago #1 (St. John, September 1953). The story is written and drawn by Joe Kubert. Note how his art has essentially evolved to what we recognize today as the classic Kubert style.
My sincerest condolences to Joe Kubert’s family, friends and fans. He will definitely be missed.