Remembering Comic Book Creator Joe Kubert on His Birthday, September 18

Each month at The Splintering we choose a different comic book artist to remember on their birthday. We select the artist based on their influence on others artists and their contributions to the field of comic books. There are so many great artists to choose from, but there’s only one I can think of that actually founded a school in order to instruct and prepare future artists for a career in the comic book industry. 

Our Army At War #104 (March 1961)
Brave and the Bold #35 (May 1961)

Joseph Kubert was born on September 18, 1926 in southeast Poland, an area which is now geographically part of Ukraine. He didn’t spend much time in Europe growing up however, as his parents moved with him to Brooklyn, NY when he was only two months old. Showing exceptional talent from a very young age, Kubert got his first paying job as a cartoonist prior to his teen years.

Weird War Tales #1 (October 1971)
Tarzan #212 (September 1972)

Like so many other great artists of the time, Kubert could work in any genre in comic books and be a success. Although known mostly for his war titles, he could also deliver compelling sequential pages in western, superhero, and horror titles. Without a doubt though, it was his time on war titles, namely Sgt. Rock that turned Joe Kubert into a household name.

Our Fighting Forces #164 (February 1976)
Men of War #5 (March 1978)

Kubert didn’t have a long list of characters he co-created like some of the other creators we’ve spotlighted, but what makes Kubert’s list so different is that it seems like each character he co-created became a memorable one: Sgt. Rock, Hawkman, Hawkwoman, Enemy Ace, Gentleman Ghost, Shadow Thief, Viking Prince, the Unknown Soldier. All of these characters still live on in the DC Universe, and through their animation as well. 

The Unknown Soldier #246 (December 1980)
DC Comics Presents #66 (February 1984)

It’s easy to just say that the artists we’ve spotlighted have inspired other artists that came after them, but in Kubert’s case, we can actually list artists who successfully graduated from the Joe Kubert School. Those graduates include: Stephen Bissette, Jan Duursema, Tom Mandrake, Bart Sears, Tim Truman, Lee Weeks, Shane Davis, Amanda Conner, Andy Smith, and Rick Veitch, to name a few. Although Joe Kubert is no longer with us, his memory lives on in his art, his students, and his namesake school which he founded. 

Airboy #50 (October 1989)
Conan the Cimmerian #1 (July 2008)

“I always wanted to do this work. I’m one of the most fortunate ones I think, and that is, I was able to work it out so that I am doing that which I love to do, always have loved to do, always look forward to doing and so it’s never been work for me.” – Joe Kubert

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