Hawkman, by Joe Kubert

Joe Kubert was an artist, editor and teacher, who has been active in nearly all aspects of the comic book industry during his long career. He was influenced by Milton CaniffHal Foster and Russ Heath. Born in New York, Kubert began his career at the early age of 12. He was assigned by MLJ Publications to do inking on some of Bob Montana's 'Archie' pages. Kubert then attended the High School of Music of Art, where Alvin Hollingsworth was his classmate. At the same time Kubert began a collaboration with the Harry "A" Chesler shop. Now aged 16, he worked for  publications like Smash Comics, Speed Comics and Police Comics, while also doing coloring and inking assignments.

Tales from the Green Berets, by Joe Kubert (1966)
'Tales From The Green Berets'. 

For Holyoke Publications, he made features like 'Voltono', 'Flagman' and 'Alias X' for Cat Man Comics and Captain Aero Comics, as well as back-ups for Blue Beetle. He was additionally present at MLJ with 'Boy Buddies' and 'Black Witch', and at Quality with 'Phantom Lady' and 'Espionage'. In 1942, he first worked for DC (then still called National Periodicals), the company he would work for most extensively during his career.

Tales of the Green Beret, by Joe Kubert
'Tales From The Green Berets'. 

He worked on many features, such as 'Johnny Quick', 'Dr. Fate', 'Hawkman', 'Zatara', 'Newsboy Legion', 'The Flash', 'The Vigilante' and 'Sargon the Sorcerer'. Throughout the 1940s, Kubert was also present in comic books by Fiction House, Harvey and Timely. After his military service (1950-52), he contributed some stories to EC, Lev Gleason and Timely-Atlas, often with colleagues Norman Maurer and Carl Hubbell.  He also illustrated war comics for E.C., scripted by Harvey Kurtzman. Afterwards he became managing editor of St. John Publications, where he created 'Tor' and supervised the first 3-D comic books (starring among others 'Mighty Mouse') with Norman and Leonard Maurer.

Danny Dreams, by Joe Kubert (from Tor)
'Danny Dreams'. 

In the mid-1950s, Kubert returned to DC Comics and worked on stories with 'Prince Viking', 'Sgt. Rock' (co-created with Robert Kanigher) and 'Hawkman'. He also did war stories like 'The Haunted Tank' for G.I. Combat. Between 1965 and 1967, he made 'Tales of the Green Berets', a daily strip for the Chicago Tribune. He was assisted by John Costanza. Despite its distinctive graphic qualities, it did not become a success, due to society's budding anti-war sentiments. Kubert eventually passed the pencil of this series to John Celardo.

From 1967 until 1976, he was director of publications at DC Comics, supervizing the production of 'Tarzan', 'Korak', 'Sgt. Rock', 'Ragman' and 'Weird Worlds' comic books, but also continued to draw for some of them, mainly 'Tarzan' (1972-75). Kubert was assisted by Nestor Redondo on 'Tarzan' and another jungle comic, 'Rima the Jungle Girl' (scripted by Robert Kanigher, 1974-1975). 

The Haunted Tank, by Joe Kubert
'The Haunted Tank'. 

In 1976, he founded the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, New Jersey. Throughout the years, the school has educated many of the field's present-day leading comic artists, including Kevin AtkinsonStephen BissetteSergio CarielloSherm CohenKevin ColdenAmanda ConnerToby Cypress, Kim DeMulder, Dave Dorman, Felipe Echevarria, John Gebbia, Bill Hauser, Joshua Janes, Jim Keefe, Pat Kennedy, Tim KennedyT.J. KirschRex LindseyAlex MaleevTom MandrakeDorit Maya-GurMin Sung Ku, Rags MoralesGraham Nolan, Bjorn Ousland, Jorge PachecoDan Parent, Mark Pennington, Marc Piskic, Ed PiskorDavid Schwartz, Bart Sears, Eric Shanower, Daniel Shelton, Cara Sherman-Tereno, Barry T. Smith, Todd Smith, Alec Stevens, Gabe SwarrTayo Fatunla, Rich TomassoJohn TotlebenTimothy Truman, Carlos Villagrán, Adam WarrenLee Weeks, Bill White, Derrick J. Wyatt, Thomas Yeates and Ron Zalme. Among artists who've taught at Joe Kubert School are Kubert himself, Sal Amendola, Darren Auck, Richard AyersDavid Boller, Tex BlaisdellJune BrigmanJosé DelboHy EismanLee EliasMilt NeilDan Parent, George Pratt and Fernando RuizBart SearsAlec Stevens

During this period, Kubert continued to do art for covers as well as some 'Big Ben Bolt' stories. In 1977, he launched the Sojourn review, together with Yvan Snyder.

Tor, by Joe Kubert

During the 1980s, Kubert, either alone or with some of his students, worked on newspaper strips like 'Winnie Winkle'. In the second half of the decade, Kubert wrote and drew a collection of Biblical oriented comic strips called 'The Adventures of Yaakov and Yosef' for Tzivos Hashem, the Lubavitch children's organization, and Moshiach Times magazine.

comic art by Joe Kubert
Comic art by Joe Kubert.

In 1991, he inked one of his son Andy's episodes of 'The Punisher', and created 'Abraham Stone' for Marvel and the Former-Yugoslavian agency Strip Art Features. The colorist for 'Abraham Stone' was Bojan Kovacevic.  Also in that same year, he relaunched 'Tor' for Atomeka Press and later Epic Comics. In 1994, he teamed up with Doug Murray to create the war story 'Night of Hell' for Medal of Honor Special at Dark Horse, as well as 'River of Blood' for Punisher War Zone at Marvel.

Abraham Stone, by Joe Kubert
'Abraham Stone'.

In 1992-93, Kubert chronicled the fax transmissions with his friend and business partner Ervin Rustemagic, who was situated behind the Bosnian war lines, in the graphic novel 'Fax from Sarajevo', published by Dark Horse in 1996. In 2001, he drew 'The Lonesome Rider', a story of the classic Italian western 'Tex Willer', published by Bonelli and distributed through SAF. Since the mid-2000s, he is the artist for PS Magazine, publication of the US military. Still going strong in old age, Kubert created new graphic novels in 2003 and 2005, 'Yossel: april 19, 1943' and 'Jew Gangster' (2005). He returned to 'Tor' with the mini-series 'Tor: A Prehistoric Odyssey' in 2008.

In 1997 he received the Jack Kirby Comics Industry Award and in 2015 the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award. 

Illustrator, writer, researcher, teacher and editor - Joe Kubert was truly a multi-faceted talent. Both his sons Adam and Andy have also become successful comic artists. Joe Kubert passed away in August 2012, shortly before his 86th birthday. His final work was inking his son Andy's pencils on 'Before Watchmen: Nite Owl', of which the first issue appeared in June 2012. A mini-series called 'Joe Kubert Presents' was announced by DC to launch in October 2012.

Panels from Joe Kubert stories for 'Our Army at War' inspired Roy Lichtenstein's 'Live Ammo (Blang)' (1962), 'Live Ammo (Tzing)' (1962), 'Live Ammo (Take Cover)' (1962), 'Scared Witless' (1962) and 'Grrrrrrrrrrrr!!' (1965).

Joe Kubert was a strong influence on Maarten GerritsenGerard GoffauxEverett PeckSebastião Seabra, John SeverinJulio Shimamoto and Ron Wagner

Tex, by Joe Kubert


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