Kubert, Joe 1926-
Kubert, Joe 1926-
Born October 12, 1926, in Yzerin, Poland; immigrated to United States; son of Jacob (a kosher butcher) and Etta Kubert; married Muriel Fogelson, July 8, 1951; children: David, Daniel, Lisa, Adam, Andrew.
Office—Joe Kubert's World of Cartooning, 37B Myrtle Ave., Dover, NJ 07801; fax: 973-537-7699. E-mail—[email protected]
Comic book artist, illustrator. DC Comics, New York, NY, director of publications, 1967-76; founder and president of Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, 1976—. International Museum of Cartoon Art, advisory board. Military service: Served in the U.S. Army.
New York Press Club, Society of Illustrators, National Cartoonist Society (past president), International Museum of Cartoon Art advisory board.
Burroughs Award, 1972; National Cartoonist Society awards, 1974, 1980; Inkpot Award, 1977; Big Five Collectors Society Award (hall of fame), 1997; Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, 1997; Comic Con award for teaching, 1997; United Kingdom art award, special achievement, 1997; Will Eisner Award, 1997, for best graphic novel; Harvey Award, 1997; Jack Kirby Award, 1997; Will Eisner Hall of Fame Award, 1998; Ignatz Award.
Abraham Stone: Country Mouse City Rat, Malibu Graphics, 1992.
(With others) Rise of the Midnight Sons: Ghost Rider/ Morbius/Darkhold/Nightstalkers/Spirits of Vengeance, Marvel (New York, NY), 1993.
(Illustrator) Bill Black and Ralph Mayo, Golden-Age Greats: Fighting Females, AC Comics/Paragon Press, 1995.
(Illustrator, with Joe Madureira) Scott Lobdell, X-Men: Legionquest, Marvel (New York, NY), 1996.
(Illustrator, with others) The Origin of Generation X, Marvel (New York, NY), 1996.
(Illustrator, with son, Adam Kubert) X-Men Visionaries, Marvel (New York, NY), 1996.
Fax from Sarajevo: A Story of Survival, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 1996.
(Illustrator, with son, Andy Kubert) Scott Lobdell, Onslaught: "The Awakening," Marvel (New York, NY), 1997.
Superheroes: Joe Kubert's Wonderful World of Comics, Watson-Guptill Publications (New York, NY), 1999.
(With others) Batman Black and White, DC Comics (New York, NY), 1999.
(With Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson) The Hawkman Archives, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Nicky Wright) The Classic Era of American Comics, McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Books (New York, NY), 2000.
(With others) Enemy Ace: War in Heaven, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2001.
Tor (two volumes), DC Comics (New York, NY), 2001-02.
(Illustrator) Stan Lee, Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe, DC Comics (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Carmine Infantino) Jesse James: Classic Western Collection, Vanguard Productions (Somerset, NJ), 2003.
(Illustrator) Claudio Nizzi, Four Killers, Volume 1: The Lonesome Rider, Dark Horse Comics (Milwaukie, OR), 2003.
Yossel: April 19, 1943, ibooks, 2003.
Jew Gangster: A Father's Admonition, ibooks, 2005.
Tarzan: The Joe Kubert Years, three volumes, Dark Horse (Milwaukie, OR), 2006.
Illustrator of and contributor to comic book series, including Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace, Flash, Firehair, Newsboy Legion, and Tarzan; creator of strip "Tales of the Green Beret."
Joe Kubert entered the world of comics at the age of twelve as an inker while he was attending the High School of Music and Art in New York City. His first published work appeared during the 1940s, and he illustrated and inked for various publishers. Kubert served in the U.S. Army during the 1950s, became a freelancer upon his return, and with his friend, Norman Maurer, he developed the process that led to the 3-D comic book. Among the titles that used this process were Tor and Mighty Mouse. Kubert then began work- ing primarily for National (now DC Comics), creating two outstanding war features with writer Robert Kanigher. Sgt. Rock and Enemy Ace: War in Heaven are still praised for the realism of Kubert's artwork. The central character of the former first appeared in Our Army at War, while the German aviator of the latter was first seen in Star-Spangled War Stories.
Michael Uslan wrote in America at War that Kubert's "highly stylized, gritty, piercing illustrations embody all the horrors of war and the intricacy of detailed war machines. When Kubert's soldiers crawl across Italy on their bellies, you see the pain, the weariness, the insanity of war in the faces of the soldiers…. It is Kubert's hard-hitting interpretation of war that the readers have been viewing since the early days of Our Army at War, and it is his style that acts as the model for nearly every artist who has followed him."
Kubert drew superheroes like Hawkman and then took a respite from comic books to draw the strip "Tales of the Green Beret," based on the book by Robin Moore. The strip ended after two years, in part because of antiwar sentiment.
After returning to DC, Kubert was assigned to a number of new titles, including Tarzan. His work on the series was deemed outstanding, and he was chosen to write, edit, and draw Tarzan of the Apes, and also to adapt other texts by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Fax from Sarajevo: A Story of Survival is Kubert's graphic novel about the 1992-94 experiences of Ervin Rustemagic, a comics agent Kubert had met years earlier at an Italian comics convention, and with whom he stayed in touch and developed a friendship. Rustemagic was working from his office in Holland in March 1992 when he faxed Kubert a message, telling him that he and his family were returning to Dobrinja, a suburb of Sarajevo. His wife and children were homesick, and the situation seemed to have calmed. When they returned, however, the conflict escalated, and Serb bombing destroyed their home and possessions. They took refuge in another building, and over two years, Rustemagic faxed Kubert, sometimes more than once a day, communicating conditions in the war zone. Because he had media credentials, Rustemagic was able to escape first, then get his family out. They were granted citizenship in Slovenia and relocated there.
Kubert used the information from these faxes in writing and drawing his black-and-white documentary of the experiences of the family. "The graphic novel format is ideally suited to bring the events to life in a compelling way," wrote Betsy Levine in School Library Journal. Booklist contributor Gordon Flagg wrote that Kubert's work "renders political conflict understandable and with plenty of personal impact."
Yossel: April 19, 1943 is a graphic novel in which Kubert has inserted himself as the young boy who is the central character. Kubert's family left Poland for the United States in 1926, the year of his birth, and the boy Yossel lives in the Warsaw ghetto at an age that approximates Kubert's own if his family had remained. His rough, penciled drawings dramatically emphasize the brutality of existence under Nazi rule, including the horrors of the concentration camps and of the ghetto uprising, which was brutally suppressed. Flagg wrote that "the visual looseness … conjures a potent intimacy that adds to the story's impact."
Peter Siegel reviewed Yossel for Artbomb.net online, writing that Kubert's uninked and unfinished drawings give the story the appearance of a sketchbook, "but it's a truly perfect companion to the raw and often graphic story he's telling here. Yossel is the accomplished artist in the twilight of his career mustering his powers one more time to give us his most sincere achievement."
A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that Kubert's "signature graphic style … marks him as one of mainstream comics' most talented and celebrated interpreters of the horrors of war."
Following the success of Yossel, Kubert wrote and illustrated another graphic novel, Jew Gangster: A Father's Admonition. As its title indicates, the story follows the adventures of a young Jewish man in Brooklyn who gets involved in the world of organized crime in the early decades of the twentieth century. Though a reviewer for Publishers Weekly found the plot clichéd, the writer went on to observe that Kubert's drawings "lovingly evoke a long-gone moment in New York history." Booklist contributor Gordon Flagg also noted the B-movie feel of the book, adding that Kubert's drawings not only provide authenticity to this book but also make "most other comics artists look pallid."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Graphic Artists, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 1, pp. 164-166.
Uslan, Michael, editor, America at War, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1979.
Booklist, October 1, 1996, Gordon Flagg, review of Fax from Sarajevo: A Story of Survival, p. 315; October 15, 2003, Gordon Flagg, review of Yossel: April 19, 1943, p. 400; September 1, 2005, Gordon Flagg, review of Jew Gangster: A Father's Admonition, p. 76; November 15, 2005, Gordon Flagg, review of Tarzan: The Joe Kubert Years, Volume 1, p. 35; March 15, 2006, Gordon Flagg, review of Tarzan, Volume 2, p. 41; August 1, 2006, Gordon Flagg, review of Tarzan, Volume 3, p. 61.
Publishers Weekly, September 23, 1996, review of Fax from Sarajevo, p. 72; August 15, 2005, review of Jew Gangster, p. 40; October 31, 2005, review of Tarzan, Volume 1, p. 39; March 27, 2006, review of Tarzan, Volume 2, p. 65.
Reviewer's Bookwatch, January, 2006, review of Tarzan, Volume 1.
School Library Journal, June, 1997, Betsy Levine, review of Fax from Sarajevo, pp. 151-152.
Artbomb.net,http://www.artbomb.net/ (January 3, 2004), Peter Siegel, review of Yossel.
Dark Horse Comics Online,http://www.darkhorse.com/ (January 3, 2004), interview with Kubert.
Joe Kubert Home Page,http://www.kubertsworld.com (July 28, 2008).