Joseph Kubert ( September 18, 1926 – August 12, 2012) was an American comic book artist and founder of The Kubert School. He is best known for his work on the DC Comics characters Sgt. Rock and Hawkman. His sons, Andy Kubert and Adam Kubert, have themselves become successful comic-book artists.
Kubert’s other creations include the comic books Tor, Son of Sinbad, and Viking Prince, and, with writer Robin Moore, the comic strip Tales of the Green Beret.
Kubert was inducted into the Harvey Awards’ Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1997, and Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1998.
ith one of the longest, most productive careers in American comics, he was a pillar of such energy and strength that as dynamic as his art was, the man himself seemed to surpass it. Kubert’s start in comics sounds like something out of the annals of the child welfare agency now: as a mere boy of 12 or so, he hung around the studios of the burgeoning comics industry of the late 30s—not exactly the most savory place for a kid, perhaps, but he loved to draw, and his family encouraged that interest. It was at MLJ Studios (the precursor to Archie) that Kubert recalled getting his his first job, helping ink a Bob Montana story while he was just a young teen. (The exact details of Kubert’s first comics job don’t seem to have ever been established, such being the drifting memories of a man with a long life behind him.) Although he did go to high school—the High School of Music and Art—by the time he graduated he was already working with several publishers, and coloring reprints of Eisner’s Spirit. Harvey, EC, Fiction House — Kubert worked for them all, creating the prehistoric warrior Tor, for St. Allen and becoming the seminal Hawkman artist for the Silver Age DC.
In his introduction to his graphic novel Yossel, Kubert wrote, “I got my first paying job as a cartoonist for comic books when I was eleven-and-a-half or twelve years old. Five dollars a page. In 1938, that was a lot of money”.Another source, utilizing quotes from Kubert, says in 1938, a school friend who was related to Louis Silberkleit, a principal of MLJ Studios, urged Kubert to visit the company, where he began an unofficial apprentice and at age 12 “was allowed to ink a rush job, the pencils of Bob Montana’s [teen-humor feature] ‘Archie'”.Author David Hajdu, who interviewed Kubert and other comics professionals for a 2008 book, reported, however, that, “Kubert has told varying versions of the story of his introduction to the comics business at age ten, sometimes setting it at the comics shop run by Harry “A” Chesler, sometimes at MLJ; however, MLJ did not start operation until 1939, when Kubert was thirteen”.
Beginning with Our Army at War #32 (March 1955), Kubert began to freelance again for DC Comics, in addition to Lev Gleason Publications and Atlas Comics, the 1950s iteration of Marvel Comics. By the end of the year he was drawing for DC exclusively, working on such characters as the medieval adventurer Viking Prince, the superhero Hawkman, which would become one of his signature efforts, and, in the war comic GI Combat, features starring Sgt. Rock and The Haunted Tank, two more signature strips.
From 1965 through 1967 he collaborated with author Robin Moore on the syndicated daily comic strip Tales of the Green Beret for the Chicago Tribune.
Kubert served as DC Comics’ director of publications from 1967 to 1976. During his tenure with DC, Kubert initiated titles based on such Edgar Rice Burroughs properties as Tarzan and Korak. Kubert also supervised the production of the comic books Sgt. Rock, Ragman and Weird Worlds. While performing supervisory duties he continued to draw for some books, notably Tarzan from 1972 to 1975. Kubert also did covers for Rima the Jungle Girl from 1974 to 1975. Kubert and writer Robert Kanigher created Ragman in the first issue (Aug.-Sept. 1976) of that character’s short-lived ongoing series.
In the early 1960s, Kubert moved to Dover, New Jersey, where he and his wife Muriel founded The Kubert School and raised their five children: David, the eldest, followed by Danny, Lisa, and comic-book artists Adam and Andy Kubert.
Kubert wrote and drew a collection of faith-based comic strips beginning in the late 1980s for Tzivos Hashem, the Lubavitch children’s organization, and Moshiach Times magazine. The stories, “The Adventures of Yaakov and Yosef”, were based on biblical references, but were not Bible stories. Many were based on stories of the Lubavitcher Rebbes and their disciples.
As you can see from looking at any page of his art, Kubert excelled at the larger-than-life characters and fantastic action required by the pulp comics industry. And when I say excelled I mean he nailed it in every line and panel with a completely distinctive style that was sleek and rugged at the same time. He possessed an immense natural talent—one that developed quickly and surely, as shown by his early entry into professionalism. It’s all the more remarkable that he was able to pass on his knowledge. Many people with Kubert’s innate genius can no more talk about it than they can learn a new style. That was not the case with Kubert, and he was so committed to helping others learn the rules and guidelines of comics that he opened perhaps the most famous school for comics artists—and the only school devoted solely to cartooning, The Kubert School in Dover, NJ, which he opened in 1976 with his wife Muriel, and ran until his death. Its first graduating class included Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, and Tom Yeates, enough to cement its legacy right there, but the hits kept coming with such graduates as Amanda Conner, Tom Mandrake, Timothy Truman, Matt Hollingsworth, Tim Truman, Jan Duursema, Alex Maleev, Bart Sears, Kevin Colden, Eric Shanower and many more. And of course his two youngest sons, Adam and Andy, have become indispensable parts of the comics world themselves.
Kubert made a return to writing and drawing in 1991 with the Abraham Stone graphic novel Country Mouse, City Rat for Malibu Comics’ Platinum Editions. He returned to the character for two more stories, Radix Malorum and The Revolution published by Epic Comics in 1995.
Also for Epic Comics, he delivered the four-issue Tor miniseries in 1993. 1996 saw the publication of Fax from Sarajevo, initially released as a 207-page hardcover book and two years later as a 224-page trade paperback. The non-fiction book originated as a series of faxes from European comics agent Ervin Rustemagić during the Serbian siege of Sarajevo. Rustemagić and his family, whose home and possessions in suburban Dobrinja were destroyed, spent two-and-a-half years in a ruined building, communicating with the outside world via fax when they could. Friend and client Kubert was one recipient. Collaborating long-distance, they collected Rustemagić’s account of life during wartime, with Kubert and editor Bob Cooper turning the raw faxes into a somber comics tale.
Kubert drew a pencil-illustrated graphic novels,Yossel: April 19, 1943 (2003) and ‘Jew Gangster’ (2005) both from IBooks. In 2003, Kubert returned to the Sgt. Rock character, illustrating ‘Sgt. Rock: Between Hell and a Hard Place’ a six-issue miniseries written by Brian Azarello and wrote and drew “Sgt. Rock: The Prophecy”, a six-issue miniseries in 2006. 2005 also saw the publication of ‘Tex, The Lonesome Rider’, written by Claudio Nizzi and published by SAF Comics.
As of the mid-2000s, Kubert was the artist for PS Magazine, a U.S. military magazine, with comic-book elements, that stresses the importance of preventive maintenance of vehicles, arms, and other ordnance.
In 2008, Kubert returned to his Tor character with a six-issue limited series published by DC Comics entitled Tor: A prehistoric Odyssey. In 2009, Kubert contributed a new Sgt. Rock story for Wednesday Comics, published by DC. His son, Adam, wrote the story, his first foray at scripting. In 2011, he did the introduction and lenticular 3-D front cover for Craig Yoe’s Amazing 3-D Comics!
Kubert died on August 12, 2012, three weeks short of his 86th birthday.
Info taken from the following website: http://www.comicsbeat.com/2012/08/13/joe-kubert-an-unparalleled-life/