Thursday, 5 April 2012

Joe Kubert Part 1

It is a cliche that a picture paints a thousand words and the greatest artists are able to express emotion and movement with a few pencil markings on a page.  The greatest were also storytellers as skilled as the finest cinema directors.

Jack Kirby, Carmine Infantino, Steve Ditko, Gil Kane, Gene Colan, Joe Kubert, Curt Swan, Jim Steranko, Murphy Anderson, Russ Heath, Neal Adams, John Buscema, John Romita, John Severin, Wally Wood, Ramona Fradon, Bruno Premiani, Marie Severin, Jim Mooney, Nick Cardy and Dick Sprang are all on my list of the greatest artists of the Silver Age.

Let's start with Joe Kubert.

Sgt. Rock, Bulldozer, Little Sure Shot, Jackie Johnson, Mlle. Marie, The Losers, the crew of the Haunted Tank and WWI air ace Steve Savage, the Balloon Buster
Art by Joe Kubert

Hawkman and Hawkgirl
Art by Joe Kubert

I love Joe Kubert, everything he draws is magnificent.  He is a great storyteller and an excellent stylist.  A titan in the comics field who has educated generations of artists via his Kubert School in Dover, New Jersey.  He co-created Tor for St John in 1953 with Norman Maurer.  Tor was an early experiment in 3-D comics, the 2-D version made its debut in 1954.

 Tor Art by Joe Kubert

Kubert made his name with DC Comics working mainly with Bob Kanigher on numerous war strips and he will forever be associated with Sgt. Frank Rock and Easy Company.
Sgt. Rock by Joe Kubert

The prototype for Sgt.Rock appeared in G. I. Combat #68 (1959) in a story edited, plotted and scripted by Bob Kanigher and drawn by Joe Kubert.  The character evolved and appeared in Our Army at War #81 (1959, script by Bob Haney, pencil art by Ross Andru, inks by Mike Esposito),  Our Army at War #82 (Haney again with Mort Drucker providing art) and eventually the character fully emerged as Sgt. Rock in Our Army at War #83 with the strip's enduring team of  Kanigher and Kubert.  Whilst Sgt. Rock was DC Comics premier war strip and Kubert's art was expressive, moody and action packed my absolute favourite war strip is Enemy Ace.

Star-Spangled War Stories #138 (April/May 1968)
Art by Joe Kubert

Enemy Ace was created by Kanigher and Kubert in 1965 and first appeared as a back up in Our Army at War #151.  Unusually for a war comic the strip the "hero" was German and killed Allied pilots in the skies above the trenches in World War I. 

Enemy Ace deserves a post to itself and also expect more Kubert, I haven't mentioned Tarzan, Viking Prince, Hawkman or Kubert's involvement in the creation of the Silver Age Flash.  Plenty more to come.  We will end with this:

Enemy Ace by Joe Kubert, does it get better?

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