When we started doing a daily blog of comic book news (among other things) I had two stories that I dreaded writing... and one of them is this one.
Sunday, comic book legend and educator Joe Kubert passed away three weeks short of his 86th birthday.
As a young comic fan I was drawn to war comics and in the 1970's Joe was involved in one way or another with all of them. It was his signature that I saw on every cover i bought and his name attached to characters like Enemy Ace, Sgt. Rock and The Haunted Tank that helped shape my childhood. His work wasn't regulated to just war books; Flash, Hawkman, Batman, Tarzan and Tor all had his unique style that I gravitated too whether I wanted to or not!
Joe and his late wife Muriel established the Joe Kubert School in 1976 and very quickly became the place for artist to not only hone their craft but learn the business of comics. In fact in 1979 I sent away for information to the school complete with my phone number in hopes he would personally call me. He never did.
In the late 1990's I sent a letter to Joe and was so excited when I got an incredibly kind response on Kubert School letterhead. Still have it too. Along with my 'Super Dictionary' (which he did the cover and much art for) and my Treasury Sized 'The Bible' comic are three of my favorite and most cherished comic related items.
In 1999 I finally met Mr. Kubert; with sons Adam and Andy, at a Philadelphia comic show and after getting up my courage, had a nice conversation with the trio complete with a surprisingly firm hand shake from Joe. Andy Kubert sensing my nervousness, told me 'just call him Pop's', everyone does'. Classy sons from a classy man!
As Secret Identity began to take off, I was always wanting to do an interview with Joe, but because of one thing or another, never got to do one. But Joe and I had some great chats along the way and he and always made me feel like that 6 year old comic fan. I'm very thankful I had the chance to tell him how much his work meant to me and how my dad was also a big fan. Come to think of it, i think I told Joe this every time we chatted.
Many tributes have been posted on line and they all say the same thing! Joe was a gentlemen, a professional and loving husband and father. So to his family and friends I send my deepest condolences with this thought... in the sadness of his loss, Joe and Muriel are together again. That means more to me than another new cover staring the Enemy Ace.