In the field of illustration, few men make waves the way they once did when they started out. The true greats blaze a trail until they finally put down the pencil and never grow stagnant with the coming talents. That was Joe Kubert and with his passing goes a lifetime of incredible gifts he has given us along the way.
Joe Kubert will be remembered for his War stories; for his barbarian stories; for his school. But he will also be remembered by this artist as a man who kept up with the times and crafted brilliant works of art every day of his life without any show of wear and tear. Kubert inspired with textured lines and expressive forms to tell some of the most exhilarating stories in the graphic novel medium. It’s easy to lose the groove or have your style fade with the oncoming artists, but Joe never let his work become dated. In fact, he used his artistry to empower his strengths as an illustrator by telling stories that not only suited his style, but stories that carried his own voice through each wonderful endeavor. Stories that only he could tell.
There’s a lot to be said about a man who started a school for comic book illustrators. A man with two very popular and talented sons that not only work in the industry, but also teach at the school their father started. A family of individuals with very different styles that came together to work FOR the art. It’s powerful and it’s the reason why, when I first looked at colleges, the Joe Kubert School of Art was my top pick. It had never been done before and it was headed by the master himself. Though I didn’t have the money, I longed for that experience and to this day I still dream of attending. What masterful things he could have taught me. What a different artist I would be.
Joe has left us with a legacy that will not only carry on, but he has also left us as a prominent figurehead of both respect and talent to be revered by generations to come. And though we artists are quick to site the ones that crafted us; the ones we love; and the ones that helped us develop our own style, deep below all of that pizzazz is the strong foundation that Joe Kubert started and continued being until his death and even now into the future for artists everywhere just beginning to pick up a pencil.
I will remember him always and like the many artists before him, I will never forget what he’s given me and I will strive to keep his work alive for the sake of what I believe to be the most important form of art in existence. Thank you, Joe. You aren’t just a legend–you are a hero.