A Tribute to the of

Here is the interview I enjoyed with Joe Kubert

Prof:  You enjoyed a long and productive partnership with Bob Kanigher at DC, clear back to that first Silver Age story of the Flash in Showcase #4.  How was he to work with?  Which titles were the most fun to work on? Joe Kubert:  It was a great experience and I enjoyed illustrating all his stories.

Prof:  Did you have any trouble navigating the Comics Code?  JK:  No.

Prof:  What were things like in the DC bullpen?  Who were your friends? JK:  Busy.  Jack Adler and all the guys in production.

Prof:  You worked on virtually every major character in the DC catalog at one time or another, going back to 1944.  Are there any you enjoyed working on more than others?  JK:  I enjoyed them all – in retrospect.

Prof:  You are particularly identified with the war titles such as Sgt. Rock and Enemy Ace.  Was any of your inspiration from your own time in the service overseas?  JK:  No.

Prof:  Your sons have followed you into the illustration business.  Does it feel satisfying to watch them develop their talents?  JK:  I feel it's a miracle.

Prof:  You operate the only accredited school devoted entirely to cartooning and have an impressive list of alumni.  Has this "second career" been as good as or better than your first?  JK:  This (the school) is not my career.  I am a cartoonist – first, last and always.

Prof:  Are there any Golden Age characters you wish had survived into the Silver Age?  JK:  None come to mind.

Prof:  Did you have any concerns about the super-heroes disappearing in the 40's?  Did it look like your work might evaporate?  JK:  No.

Prof:  What sort of research did you do for the Viking Prince title?  JK:  Books, illustrations, Prince Valiant.

Prof:  Your inking style was unique.  How did you choose to render form at a time when the DC house style was to mostly just indicate stuff with a simple outline?  JK:  Purely intuitive and never questioned by DC or anyone else.

Prof:  Do you think inking with a brush, as opposed to inking with a pen, is becoming a lost art? It seems few people do it anymore, but it is essential to your style.  JK:  I don't think so.

Prof:  Your knowledge of military gear is legendary.  How did this come about? Through references, or is it all in your head?  JK:  Reference.  ALWAYS reference.

Prof:  Who were your influences? Hal Foster maybe?  JK:  Hal Foster, Alex Raymond and Milt Caniff.

Prof:  Whose idea was Jackie Johnson, and was there any opposition to having a black soldier in Easy Company?  JK:  Bob Kanigher (the writer/editor.)  No.

Prof:  Did you enjoy working with Brian Azzarello on "Between Hell and a Hard Place"?  JK:  Yes, very much.

Prof:  Do you think Brian stewarded these characters well?  JK:  Yes.

Prof:  How long did it take to pencil and ink a typical page?  JK:  One day.

Prof:  You recently produced a new Sgt. Rock story (The Prophecy.)  What sort of differences did you encounter in how it was done today as opposed to the Frank Rock of the 60's?  JK:  The use of computers for lettering, color and reproduction.

As you can see, Joe is a man of few words who seems to prefer to let his work speak for itself, and speak it has for several decades now.  If you want to know more about Mr. Kubert, I humbly suggest you lay your hands on a copy of "The Greatest 1950's Stories Ever Told"; Joe wrote the foreword. In it he recalls some wonderful stories of his early days as a cartoonist.

© 2007 by B.D.S.

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