Many artists have influenced me in my life…but Joe Kubert always has a special place in my heart.
I was obsessed with DC Comics war books as a kid, Sgt Rock, The Unknown Soldier, GI Combat, Men of War and Weird War Stories.
My favourite thing about all these books was the covers…invariably drawn by this incredible behemoth of an artist, Joe Kubert. His figures had such pathos, the weight of the world was on their shoulders, as they were raked by machine gun fire, attacked by Panzers, or dive bombed by screaming Stukas.
Joe’s best covers were his ‘hidden enemy’ ones…were some unsuspecting american patrol would enter a village with a caption like ‘It’s ok guys, the krauts have all gone!’ while the SS actually are all hiding behing rubble and broken walls. It was a motif he did masterfully, and made his own.
Joe Kubert also ran the the Joe Kubert school of Comic Book Art, and I used to fill in the application form in every comic book I had… hoping I’d one day get there…and be taught by the great man himself. Sadly, this never happened, I couldn’t afford it, and it was in the USA…
I did study his drawings though, and spent hundreds of hours copying them, hoping something might rub off.
I was lucky enough to meet him briefly at UKCAC in 96 when Dave Gibbons interviewed him. I chatted to him in the bar, after he’d just signed for 3 hours. He was an absolute gentleman, and extremely open and kind. He was everything I’d hope as a kid. He made a huge impression, and I vowed if ever I managed to become a comic book professional, I’d always have time for people that might want to talk to me… If Joe could take time for me, I owed that to others too.
To hear that he’s gone is heartbreaking. I wanted him to live forever…. dispensing his knowledge, his wide smile, and his huge handshake onto future generations.
My thoughts are with his family, all of whom are tremendously talented, and generous, as professionals and teachers. What a legacy.
I wish I could’ve met him properly again..to thank him, for those few moments when I awkwardly spoke to him as a young aspiring artist. (to embarrassed to show him my work)
The best I can do is try and inspire others, the way he did me.
Thank you Mr Kubert, for your beautiful art, your stories, your lessons, and for taking a moment to speak to a fan whom really was awestruck. I’m actually crying as I write this.
I suppose I’d better go and finish my work…a little strip…for DC comics. Seems appropriate.