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CSBG Archive

R.I.P. Joe Kubert

We lost yet another master of the comic book art form today, as the legendary Joe Kubert passed away today at the age of 85. Kubert is known for his amazing artwork on comics like Sgt. Rock, Hawkman, Tarzan, Tor, Enemy Ace, Unknown Soldier, Fax from Sarajevo and so much more.

Our condolences to his friends and family.

Read on to see some examples of how brilliant Kubert was…

Kubert is likely best known for his Sgt. Rock work, but Enemy Ace is where I think his art shone brightest.

Enemy Ace, the German fighter pilot war hero from World War I, was the lead feature in Star Spangled War Stories from #138-145, #147-150.

That’s a relatively short run, but in that time – boy, Joe Kubert and Robert Kanigher sure produced some fine, fine comic books.

The series began in 1968, so they were able to be a bit more graphic/depressing than they would be in the past, and when you’re dealing with, well, the enemy, you know the stories are not going to be pleasant ones. However, when you see that you’re dealing with two masters of the form like Kanigher and Kubert, you also knwo that the stories will be high in quality.

The quality came through in two different ways.

One way was the sheer detail and gripping nature of the battles, where Kubert’s art shone so brilliantly…

Secondly, there was the over the top dramatic nature of the situation.

This sequence from a later issue shows this beautifully…

Such amazing work.

Joe Kubert was one of the finest comic book artists we’ve ever had the pleasure to see and since he was continuing to put up quality work right up to his death, his passing did not just deprive us of nostalgia, it deprived us from currently great work.

Here is a gallery of 25 great Kubert covers.


One of the best to ever do it. RIP to him and congratulations on the body of work that he left.

a true legend, rest in peace sir

Farewell, Mr. Kubert…

A true master of the art.

“Is there beyond the silent night
An endless day;
Is death a door that leads to light?
We cannot say.
The tongueless secret locked in fate
We do not know. — We hope and wait”

R.I.P. Mr. Kubert, you will be missed.

One of the all time greats. Prayers and condolences for the Kubert family

All the best to Andy and Adam. A lot of us have dads who are legends, but Joe was truly a *legend*.

So unfortunate. Not only did Kubert himself produce a plethora of fine art in his career, but his two sons are also remarkable artists, not to mention people like John Totleben, Tom Mandrake, Rick Veitch, and others that graduated from the Joe Kubert School. Quite an artistic legacy the man left behind. I’m happy that new work of his will still hit the stands for the next two months in the form of the Nite Owl mini-series.

And the 4th page shown above, the one with long diagonal panel in the middle, is a truly amazing comic book page. Layouts like that show the medium at its best.

What a giant. And what a great choice on your part, Brian, to go with his masterful Enemy Ace pages.

When the Classics Forum’s members chose their 12 favorite covers ever a couple of Christmases ago, my No. 1 pick was STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES #138, which blew me away at the tender age of 8. At the not-so-tender-age of 52, it still does.

Condolences to his family, and congratulations on a wonderful life, career, family, and legacy.
It’s sad to lose a great artists and person, but we can rejoice that he got to experience a long energetic life, and accolades for his creativity and talent.

Damn. Fax From Sarajevo was amazing, too, and I wish I’d told him that when I met him. Fortunately I DID get to meet him a year and a half ago, and he signed a couple things for me.

Damn. Condolences to his family.

Thanks, Dan. I am putting together a quick “25 Great Kubert Covers” gallery (not the “greatest,” as that’d be impossible) to give people a quick appreciation for how amazing he was as a cover artist, and Star Spangled War Stories #138 is, in fact, on the list. What a great cover.

Ooh, SSWS 148 or 149, with the dog on the cover! Yeah, it’s just a personal choice, and probably not “greatest” worthy, but I like it.

An absolute giant of the medium, RIP Joe. Condolences to the boys and family. Too many of the greats have passed on in recent years.
Will be sorely missed.

RIP to a legend and inspiration. It takes a generous soul to give us such amazing work.

It takes a legend to set up an educational facility and correspondence courses in order to teach those who wish to join him in comics.

My condolences to his family and friends. Still, a very sad day. Glad he lived such a long life, creating up until the end. If only we were all so lucky.

Damn, my second favourite (to Russ Heath) artist dies in the midst of a return.

Thank you, Joe, for a lifetime of brilliant work!

Jan-Michael Sutton

August 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Thank you for everything Joe. My time at The Kubert School defines me to this day.

I was a student at the Kubert School from ’94-’97, and the news is still sinking in. I’ll miss him as an artist and as a man. RIP, Joe.

So sad to hear of the passing of Joe Kubert. The man was true talent and innovator. And to think that age 85, Joe Kubert was still producing new work. The man will be missed but his art will live on.

I felt such a blow when I read this news. RIP, Mr. Kubert, you are missed. Thank you for all the great comics you’ve written and drawn. Also, for creating your school which helps new artists learn to tend their craft. While I’m very sad I never got to meet you, I am happy to have loved your art, when you were alive.

I hope his friends and family pull through his passing.

I honestly thought he was immortal. I have the utmost respect for anyone who continues to work at their craft well into their twilight years, and Kubert was still at the top of his game, even in his 80s.

I remember his great work when DC took over the Tarzan titles, too. And his Rima, in a similar vein.

My God. I just got a sketch from him about 6 weeks ago. A master among masters.

Rest in peace Joe. You will always be a favourite – for millions of us.

How was he only 85? At what age did he start working for DC? I thought he drew Hawkman in All-Star in the early to mid-40s – obviously I’m mistaken?

Like some other Golden Age artists, Kubert began working in comics while still in high school.

I don’t know how many of his works I have read hundreds? Part of the reason I love comics. RIP Joe.

Joe started in comics very young. Such a tremendous career! Those Enemy Ace pages are great picks, Brian.

Joe leaves so much behind… Sons Adam and Andy, both industry pros like their dad. The School, which has given us generations of talent. Joe Kubert, like Kirby and others of their generation has clearly left his mark.

Joe Kubert, Legend. He shan’t be forgotten. Rest easy, Joseph.

Enemy Ace was the comic book that made me realize that comics could be an art form, not just Lois and Lana silliness. His Tarzan brought me back to comics after I thought I had outgrown them.

The best. Simply the best. The best.

Aw, dammit!

Damn, this just ruined my night. Condolences to his friends and family. R.I.P Joe Kubert.

I was shocked to see this. R.I.P. to a legend and an inspiration.

I became a Tarzan fan because of Joe Kubert. After that, I became a Sgt. Rock fan. From then on, I became a Joe Kubert fan.

Thank you, Joe!

It’s just not fair! Just a couple of days ago, there was that Nite Owl review and there was Joe, still at the top of his game.

Dammit! Dammit!! Dammit!!!

Joe, you pretty much ARE comic books to me.

R.I.P. Joe! You were the BEST!

I’m glad Brian was on this one. I sat down a couple of different times tonight to try and write an appreciation and I couldn’t… I couldn’t even get a start, Kubert was too big. There’s just too much. The guy was good at everything. In an industry rife with various fan cliques and petty gossip and silly internet brawls, I think the one thing that EVERYBODY was agreed on was that Joe Kubert was awesome.

Condolences to his family and loved ones.

Oh, man. What lousy a way to start the day, getting news like this…
Like Greg noted above, there’s just no words. My sincerest condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.

When I was a kid, I thought Tarzan was the most awesome thing ever. Then Kubert did his version and awesome just wasn’t a big enough word.

I truly think that in any adaption from one medium to another, Kubert’s Tarzan is the best.

R.I.P., Joe. My condolences to the family, and to the comics world at large. We shall not look upon his like again.

One of the greats.

I met Joe, again, at the NYCC in 2010. I gave him my copy of GI Combat 86 to sign and I asked him about the official first appearance of SGT ROCK. I said to thim that even the Overstreet Price Guide doesn’t know exactly. He signed the book, looked at me and said “I have no idea”. He was just happy to be there. The mystery will forever remain now. Goodbye Joe.

I don’t want to take away from this appropriate celebration of a great career and life, but one quick aside —

Brian, it’s such a rare thing to see anyone else use the term “passed away” any more, and I think you for it. It seems like in the past 5 or 10 years, everyone has started just “passing,” as though there was some secret international agreement that “passed away” was either too long or insufficiently euphemistic. Someone died; it isn’t like they managed to scrap through with a “D” average. If “passed away” is too hard then maybe one shouldn’t be writing about the topic of death, at all.

— and with that said, thank you to Joe Kubert for the legacy he has left with us.

As was said repeatedly above, he was one of the greats. A great shame to see him gone. Condolences to the family and all of us fans.

I don’t want to take away from this appropriate celebration of a great career and life, but one quick aside –

Brian, it’s such a rare thing to see anyone else use the term “passed away” any more, and I think you for it. It seems like in the past 5 or 10 years, everyone has started just “passing,” as though there was some secret international agreement that “passed away” was either too long or insufficiently euphemistic. Someone died; it isn’t like they managed to scrap through with a “D” average. If “passed away” is too hard then maybe one shouldn’t be writing about the topic of death, at all.

– and with that said, thank you to Joe Kubert for the legacy he has left with us.

I understand the idea, but I dunno, I’d like to think that we talk about ALL the great comic book creators here. I mean, I know Kubert’s greatness came up a lot recently. I saw someone mention that they found out the news right after they were looking at some Kubert art in a different feature on this site.

That said, sure, I guess I could do some sort of “Living Legends” type deal for the site.

I met Joe Kubert about ten years ago at a convention. I was the last one in line, at the end of the day. I asked Mr. Kubert if he was doing sketches. He replied, “no,” and I thanked him for signing my comics. He signed my Hawkman Archives hardcover, gave me with a wry smile, and drew a Hawkman head sketch.

RIP, Joe Kubert. You were one of the all-time greats, and a heck of a nice guy.

Beach Blanket Django!

August 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm

The comic industry as lost a master of the form, but gained another creative angel in Heaven.
R.I.P. and go with the angels, Mr. Kubert.

I did this pencil sketch on the link below (to the page in my DeviantArt gallery) in tribute to Joe Kubert.
It depicts 4 of the more prominent characters he’s worked on in the past (Sgt. Rock, Hawkman, Tor, and Tarzan) standing over his tombstone in repose.

I loved Joe Kubert’s work on The Unknown Soldier. Admittedly, after creating that character, he only worked on the series for a short time before handing it off to others. But it was such a brilliant concept, and Kubert did continue to provide amazing covers for the entirety of the series’ run. A few months ago, I wrote up some thoughts on the Showcase Presents collection…


I really wish that DC would publish a second volume.

Another indication of Kubert’s genius & creativity was the Tor miniseries he wrote, illustrated & colored only a few years ago. He was in his early 80s at the time, and it was absolutely beautiful work. Kubert was at the peak of his powers right up until the end. He really was a living legend.

[…] As fans and professionals alike mourn the loss of Joe Kubert, I made it my personal mission today to read dozens of obituaries and bum myself out. Instead, I was filled with awe by Kubert’s massive body of work, his impact on the industry, and how he made the amazing look so effortless. […]

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