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When We First Met – A Collection of Joe Kubert Firsts!

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!’” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Today, in honor of the legendary Joe Kubert, this week is a collection of some Joe Kubert-related firsts!

The Digital Comic Museum is a great resource for old comic books now in the public domain. Sadly, they do not have a great copy of Cat Man Comics #8, featuring the Volton story that was Joe Kubert’s first comic book work.

Here is one iffy page from the copy that they do have…

Now two issues later, we DO have a great copy (courtesy of Marc Burkhardt) of the Volton story in Cat Man Comics #10…

You can barely tell it is Kubert! It WAS 1942, though, and he was just a young teenager.

Over a decade later, here is the first appearance of Tor from One Million Years Ago #1…

Six years later, Kubert was the artist for the lead story of G.I. Combat #68 (written by Robert Kanigher), which debuted a soldier known as “The Rock”…

Later in the story, we see the Rock in action…

After Bob Haney, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito introduced “Sgt. Rocky” as part of Easy Company in Our Army At War #81, Kanigher and Kubert officially debuted Sgt. Rock in 1959′s #83…

In 1965′s Our Army at War #151, Kanigher and Kubert introduce Enemy Ace…

In 1966′s Our Army at War #168, Kanigher and Kubert introduced the Unknown Soldier…

After he saves Rock a few more times, he is seemingly killed, but we know better, don’t we?

Finally, in 1972′s Tarzan #207 (DC’s first issue with the Tarzan license), Kubert got his crack at the lord of the jungle…

(click on the double spread to enlarge)

Marvelous work. Joe Kubert was brilliant. A true comic book legend.

15 Comments

This may be quite the argument starter, but I think Joe Kubert has had more of an impact on comics today than the other JK, Jack Kirby, did. Try to find a comic nowadays than hasn’t been worked on by Kubert school graduate.

nice tribute given joes amount of work figured it would have been hard to narrow down what to feature here as a tribute to a true big comic legend now sadly using his talents for god

“Pale face schlemiels”??? Kanigher RULES

Is it just me or does that first page of Volton look a lot like a Manhunter from Green Lantern? At first I wondered why they’d use such a poor Green Lantern scan before reading more.

In these days when comics are trying to be movies or TV, it’s easy to forget just how GOOD the medium can be as itself, using its own conventions and language to tell a story.

Kubert was (and always WILL be) a master who pushed comics past their self imposed limits into the realm of true art, and these scans are a good demonstration of that. There’s some incredibly powerful stuff here.

Joe also helped conceive the way that 3D comics were done. That’s worth noting.

Very cool work indeed. Also interesting to see how much he evolved before becoming the Kubert we know.

What about Firehair? Don’t forget Firehair! (Showcase 85-87)

Excellent tribute! Suprised however, that you didn’t include his work on Hawkman. He’s contected to that character almost as much as he is Rock.

@Jeff Ryan, I actually agree. Kubert’s influence has been vastly underated in my opinion.

They say comics did not “grow up” till the 1980s. Obviously they did not read Enemy Ace.

There are many background elements to Kubert’s 1950s work that resemble the work of Steve Ditko’s, such as rocks and trees, as well as hands and profiles. Sometimes their art from the ’50s is indistinguishable. So is Joe Kubert a major influence on Ditko or did they influence each other?

The early Volton work looks like a sort of Lou Fine or Cole (Jack?LB? I can’t remember) vibe. Certainly those artists were worth “apeing” or they may’ve been at the same company.
Maybe the young Joe was told to draw in that style, because that style sold comics.

Pete, Kubert worked at the Eisner studio, where Fine and Jack Cole both worked, and undoubtedly he was very influenced by them. I definitely see what you’re saying. Not sure who published Cat-Man Comics (GCD says Holyoke, not sure who was behind that. Dang hyphen in there made it hard to find!), but it’s possible that it was packaged at the Eisner studio.

re Timothy: In both Kubert and Ditko’s cases, it was a case of both artists (and a number of others at the time) being heavily influenced by the art and storytelling of the sadly-forgotten Mort Meskin. There have been a couple of books in the last few years that focused on this artist’s incredible work, published by Fantagraphics.

But yeah, both artists had a common influence (and some of Kubert’s early inking jobs (around 1946 I recall hearing) were for Meskin.

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