A Tribute to the of

Here we are again, readers. Another edition of the Silver Age Sage for your consideration is up and this marks year nine of this ongoing feature. Furthermore, it's been roughly two years since I've had the great good fortune to conduct interviews with creators from the Golden, Silver and Bronze Ages and what an unadulterated joy that has been. Full marks, as always, to my lifelong best friend, the webmaster, for the forum and the opportunity.

I had a germ of an idea not long ago and some of it was spawned by the routine comments I've received during some of my interviews. It's one thing to be a comic book artist of renown, a perennial fan favorite, in fact and to have been at it for many, many years, but to also manage to earn the respect of your peers across the board, to be a successful editor and to have made another significant contribution to the field on top of it all is just tremendous. Who else could I be describing but Joe Kubert? Speaking of Joe, and many have, here are some of the comments from my interviews by other professionals:

I would have to say the all around best comic book artist who ever drew breath is Joe Kubert. Clem Robins

You know I never met Joe. I always admired his work very, very much. Jim Mooney

Kubert once said something very nice to his classes at his art school. He was talking about getting photographic reference to do stuff to get it right. "The one exception to that is that you can use Russ Heath's art work. It is right." (Chuckle.) Russ Heath

Joe Kubert was terrific. Carmine Infantino, when asked about other pencilers he admired.

…perhaps they ought to go to some of the best artists that were left in comic books and among which were Joe Kubert, who was the perfect guy for the strip. Neal Adams on recommending Joe Kubert for the Green Beret daily strip.

So finally I started to do it, and I didn't like what I was doing, and the luxury of that particular job was that I didn't have to have it done right away, so I put it away for several days. Then I looked at a whole ton of Kubert comics and I tried to absorb it, and then I inked the thing, and I was really rather pleased by what I had done. I was so pleased that I wanted the okay of the High Father. I sent copies to Kubert, who is a lovely, lovely guy. Anything you hear about Kubert, he's a good guy on all levels. I sent him these Xeroxes, waiting for the feather to drop down the well and hear the splash. The splash didn't come. So finally I called him up. "Joe, did you get the Xeroxes?" He said, "Yeah." "What did you think?" He said, "Well, overall I don't think it turned out badly." And I was crestfallen. I thought to myself, "Well, I think I have to give up and do something else now with my life." But I didn't. And then I told Joe's sons, Adam and Andy the story, and they said, "Oh, that was like a rave from our father." "Oh, okay." I wish I'd known. (Chuckle.) Joe Rubinstein on inking Joe Kubert

And Joe Kubert is one of my closest friends. He's a gem. He's a gentleman. He's exactly what the character is: Rock. That's Joe. Jack Adler

My recent present to myself was a copy of "Man of Rock," Joe's biography by Bill Schelly and it is simply a master work. Bill beautifully chronicles the amazing and continuing career of this giant in the field and I was particularly intrigued with the discussion of the founding of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in 1976. It's been going strong ever since and has created viable professionals for the cartooning industry. I thought it might be fascinating to hear a little from some of the instructors from the earliest days of the school, so I contacted a few for their remembrances, beginning with Dick Ayers:

Prof: What initially led you to the Kubert School, Mr. Ayers?

Dick Ayers: My friend Henry Boltinoff, the cartoonist, he was teaching there and it was coming toward the end of summer, so he said Joe Kubert was looking for somebody. "Why don't you ask him?" So I asked him, and he said, "Okay, come on out to indoctrination day, and we'll introduce you to the students." So I went out and we met the students and as we left we met some of the other teachers and I said to Joe, "Gee, you never introduced anyone as teaching anatomy." He said, "Well, you're doing that." So I ended up teaching anatomy.

Prof: (Chuckle.) You didn't even know what you were interviewing for, huh?

DA: No. It was two classes I did and it was the same group because it was a two-year course, and I was pretty proud of the fact that the students asked Joe to have me carry right on with the second year, so I had the whole two years. When it came to the end of the second year, and I had them in front of me for about the last time, I said, "Now you guys are all my competitors." I quit teaching.

Prof: (Chuckle.) So it was just the two years that you spent teaching?

DA: Just about that, yes. '76 and '77 I believe. I liked the class very much. I liked teaching them. In fact there was Jan Desema, Tom Mandrake, the fella that does Archie now.

Prof: How did you come up with your curriculum?

DA: Usually by being a day ahead of them. (Chuckle.) If it was something I didn't know on the day I was there I'd say, "Well talk about that tomorrow." I taught on Fridays, come to think of it. Just Fridays.

Prof: Not a whole lot of commuting to do, then. Now you did most of your work at Marvel, so had you met Joe before?

DA: No. Only one time or another when I was looking for work. I never did anything for DC until later on when I did know Joe from the school and somehow I just made my way over to DC and got on Jonah Hex and Kamandi.

Prof: Were you inking after Jack again on Kamandi?

DA: No. When I got over there I was penciling layouts and somebody else would do the inking.

Prof: Okay. My knowledge is geared more toward DC's Silver Age, but I read recently that you were considered one of the Big Four at Marvel: Kirby, Ditko, Ayers and Heck.

DA: Yeah. We were at the beginning. Kirby came along a little bit later. In that period it was mostly Paul Reiman and [Don] Heck and Ditko and me and then along came Jack just about the time when Stan started the monsters. And he was a natural for that, boy. That was a good series.

Prof: Oh, yeah. He made a real reputation with that even though the later hero stuff eclipsed it. That time period can't be underestimated.

DA: No. I loved it. The pencils I got done were delivered by mail. Special delivery. And he always came at 7:30 in the morning and when I opened it up that was when I first saw the stories, for the first time. The monster stories. And I'd be really elated to see these gigantic monsters, and at the time we were drawing them we were doing them on 12 x 18 pages.

Prof: Oh, yeah, the twice-ups.

DA: Twice-ups, yeah. It was great. Get a No. 6 brush and really lay on it.

Prof: Never to be seen again. I'm sure you've seen how much is done on the computer now.

DA: It's horrible. And the guys using the color overdo it. They haven't been taught when to stop. It's all just a mish mash and runs in together. They don't see the pictures by themselves and progress with the story, if you follow me.

Prof: Yeah. Stan Goldberg said something similar. He thought the modern coloring techniques weren't stacking up at all.

DA: I'll get one of the westerns sometimes and they'll have some new title of western and they're well drawn, but the color is horrible. You don't have the distinction. With Stan it stayed simple: Reds, yellows and blues. I loved Warren Beatty for that, because when he did Dick Tracy the movie, he stuck to those colors. He had Dick Tracy wearing a yellow hat and a yellow coat.

Prof: Any other significant memories?

DA: I remember Henry Boltinoff telling me that Joe will never ask you to work for him, you've got to ask to work for Joe.

I'd enjoyed a nice interview with Irwin Hasen awhile back, but we didn't talk much about his time at the Kubert School. Irwin was a long-timer, only retiring in the recent past after a 30+ year run.

Prof: How did you happen to start at the school, Mr. Hasen?

Irwin Hasen: Well, I've known Joe Kubert since we were both about 19 years old. That goes back about 70 years ago. So that's a long time to know somebody. And we became friends and then he went on his way and I went on my way doing my strip and everything and one day he said, "I'm opening up a school." This is 30 years ago. He said, "Would you like to come and teach?" I said, "Yeah. Once a week would be fine." That's the way it worked out.

Prof: Terrific. I've seen that famous photo (published in The Amazing World of DC Comics #5 [03/75]) of you and Joe on the beach in California back in the day.

IH: That's right.

Prof: When I talked to Joe he thought most people who came to teach at the school did it mostly out of a sense of giving something back.

IH: Well, it wasn't for the money, that's for sure.

Prof: (Laughter.)

IH: All I wanted to do was get the hell out of the house in the morning once a week.

Prof: I can't blame you a bit. I'm sure being a freelancer like that you'd start climbing the walls.

IH: Yeah, that's right. So this is a good chance for me to have a nice day; a full day and also I was interested in those kids.

Prof: Good for you. What was your specialty?

IH: My specialty was how to draw. Not how to draw a comic strip, but just how to draw for comic books mostly.

Prof: So sequential art then.

IH: Yeah.

Prof: Were there any students that really stand out in your mind.

IH: Oh yes, quite a few, but the names are not coming to mind right now. Steve Bissette was one of them, who is now a top guy in the business. There were some people who left that school in very good shape.

Prof: Oh, yes. Joe said one of his goals was to create an environment that would make them viable candidates to go into the industry.

IH: That's right.

Prof: Apparently it's been very successful.

IH: Very much so.

Prof: Did you find it rewarding to be a teacher?

IH: Oh, yes. That's why I did it. I wouldn't have done it if I got bored. There have been a few top guys in the business who come there to teach and inside of two months they leave. It's the nature of the beast. An instructor or teacher really has to put his heart into it.

Prof: I'm sure it's a labor of love.

IH: Absolutely.

Prof: You were at it for over 30 years?

IH: 30 years. I can't believe it. While I was doing my strip, Dondi, I was teaching once a week. Why, I don't know.

Prof: (Chuckle.)

IH: I have no idea what drove me to do this.

Prof: Several factors, I'm sure, not the least of which enjoying what you were doing.

IH: Yes, I wouldn't have done it if I didn't.

Prof: How did you come up with your curriculum?

IH: I just went home one day before I started and worked out a curriculum that I thought would be advantageous to the students that would cover what they'd encounter when they got out of school.

Prof: Kind of a practical guide then.

IH: Absolutely.

Prof: Since you were there so long you must have run across some other good teachers.

IH: Oh, yes. Hy Eisman, who does Popeye and the Katzenjammer Kids. He does a syndicated strip and he was the first instructor, by the way, before me. The Hildebrandt brothers did wonderful poster work. They were illustrators and they came for a couple of years. There was a wide spread of different artists who felt they wanted to teach. Very few of them lasted as long as Hy and myself. Some I never saw because we all taught on different days.

Prof: Did either Adam or Andy come back to teach?

IH: I believe so, but of course they're busy working for DC.

Prof: They're definitely in demand.

IH: Oh, yes. Very talented. I taught them everything they knew.

Prof: (Laughter.)

Dick Ayers mentioned to me that he used to car pool to the school with Ric Estrada. Even though Ric has been enduring chemotherapy treatments for awhile, he very graciously gave me a good chunk of his time to talk about his experiences teaching at the school for a two year period, which I believe was the first two years it operated:

Ric Estrada: My memories of the two years I taught at the Kubert School alongside men like Dick Ayers and Dick Giordano and there were others, but those are the two that come to mind right away. As you may or may not know Joe Kubert was at the time an editor at DC Comics. He was the editor of the Sgt. Rock series and I had worked with him on some of the backup stories in the Sgt. Rock books. I always liked to do backup stories. They were usually only six pages long, so I got paid for them much faster than when I did a 20-page story. (Mutual laughter.) I'd do six pages in 3 days and on day number 4 I'd go back to the office and I get paid.

Prof: Not bad.

RE: Well, I had a family to raise and it was a growing family that ended up being 9 children. Anyway, my main purpose in life was to feed my family and art was a wonderful, God-given talent, but at the same time it was a tool rather than an end in itself, so I was very pleased and honored when Joe Kubert opened his school in Dover, New Jersey; the Joe Kubert School of Cartooning, he asked a few of the people he worked with, among them Dick Ayers and Dick Giordano and myself and he asked us to be the first instructors during the first couple of years. That was a tremendous learning experience for me in addition to the honor to work with a group of very, very talented young men and women. Most of the students were ages, oh; I would say 16 to 30. The oldest was about 30. The youngest was about 13 years old, a little girl who was very sweet and very introspective, and believe it or not after graduation she was the first one to get a well paying job doing cartoons for a newspaper. Anyway, it was very nice to commute to Dover, New Jersey. I lived in New York City at the time, and it was a 45 minute ride and the school was in a beautiful old building that had been some rich person's mansion at one time and now he had all these wonderful students. Some of them were actually lodging in a nearby servant's quarters down in the other end of the gardens, and it was a beautiful place. The students were fantastic, and out of those students you had guys like Rick Veitch. Some very, very talented cartoonists came out of there, and some of them, because of their youth…I was already a man in my 40's, and here I was dealing with teenagers and people in their early 20's and some of them were a little rebellious and strangely enough some of the most talented ones were the most rebellious. (Chuckle.) I would give them an assignment and they would sort of twist it around to show me that they knew better. That was a complete challenge. In fact, I heard from Rick Veitch recently. You may or may not know that Joe Kubert lost his wife recently.

Prof: I sure did and was sad to hear of it.

RE: Muriel was the heart of that school. She was the administrator. She was the soul of the place. She was so spirited and so talented and so alert. She was not an artist, but she didn't have to be. She knew everything else. And we all worked with her. She took care of the materials when people needed drawing paper or pencils or pens or ink. She was there administering those sales. The school was a delight to work for, and I worked two days a week; Tuesdays and Thursdays all day long and my course was art and storytelling composition and also the business of art. So on the one hand I taught the kids the technique of telling a story in picture continuity and how to compose the pictures so that they would be sort of cinematic; so they wouldn't be boring. "Move the camera, move the camera, move the camera." That was the motto. Down shot, up shot, middle shot, medium long shot, long shot, up, down. And the other thing that I taught was, as I said, the business of art, which was how to prepare a portfolio and show it to as many people as possible, and get used to being rejected by some, but keep trying until somebody would say, "Hey, this is what we want." Those were my two subjects; storytelling and composition. Also, I taught color with markers. And the students were fantastic. Many times Dick Ayers, who lived not too far from me when I was in a town about 45 minutes north of New York City and he lived in a nearby town and sometimes we rode together to the school and we had long conversations about art and especially cartoons. What do you think cartoonists talk about? Cartooning.

Prof: (Laughter.) Imagine that!

RE: (Chuckle.) So to a cartoonist, another cartoonist is great company because they talk about what you want to hear about, and we all have our likes and our dislikes and our gripes and our glories. The gripes in cartooning are really the deadlines and an occasional grumpy editor who will kind of growl at our work, but generally doing comic books was a delight in the creative sense. Dick Ayers is a fantastic storyteller and we had the privilege of working during the Silver Age, which was one step beyond the Golden Age. In the Golden Age, the cartoonists had a slightly more primitive style. When you look at the Superman of the Golden Age, he's a little more primitive. When you look at the Superman of the Silver Age, he's a little more detailed. More muscles, more shadows, more anatomical detail. In the Silver Age we were trying to refine what had been done before. After that came the Bronze Age and whatever age came after that. The Silver Age was the 60's and early 70's. I did the bulk of my work for DC Comics in the late 60's and through the 1970's. The last story I did for them was in 1982. I had moved to California and I did a series called Amethyst, Princess of Gem World. Now Dick Ayers was able to work for both DC and Marvel. I never worked for Marvel. It was either out of loyalty to DC or squeamishness about maybe walking out of there and never finding another job. (Chuckle.) I stuck it out with DC for all those years. You're familiar with Neal Adams. Neal Adams is a fantastic cartoonist. We often met each other in the office and I complained sometimes about the pay in those days, which was so skimpy. You'd get $50.00 a page and some people were getting $30.00 a page, which is really very little, because it takes you a day or two to draw one page, and Neal gave me a wonderful secret. He said, "You know the secret of getting your page rate hiked? You work for DC for awhile and then you walk away and you go to Marvel and you say, 'I'd like to work for you guys, but I'd like to get better pay than at DC,' and they'll give you better pay. After a few months you walk out of Marvel and come back to DC and you say, 'They were paying much more than what you're paying.' So little by little you hike up your page rate."

Prof: Ah.

RE: I never had the gumption to really go for it. As I said, my main thing was to get my weekly paycheck for the six pages and go home and buy the groceries for the kids.

Prof: No one could ever fault your priorities.

RE: Well, that was my priority and it has been over the years. Over the years I discovered little by little that my work was very well known, because I worked like crazy. I often did two pages a day, so my six pages I did in three days and one day Joe Orlando, who was one of the editors at DC, and a very good cartoonist in his own right, Joe Orlando said, "Look at this fan magazine from England. Listen to what they're saying about you." And the fan magazine said, "American comic books have an epidemic disease called "Estradaitis," because everything that comes out of there is signed by him." So rather than a cartoonist, I became an epidemic. (Mutual laughter) I've never been able to live it down. He showed that to me way back in 1976 or 1977 and here it is 30-odd years later and I'm still thinking about it. (Chuckle.) Anyway, the Kubert School was a delight, and any time you talk to someone who was taught, on any level, in any subject, you always find out that the instructor always learns more than the pupil, at least at the beginning. For the first time in my life I had to look at what I had learned over the years. I was in my late 40's and I had been working like a fiend for many, many years. I got my first cartooning job when I was 21 years old, and so I'd been working for over 20 years already, but I had never really taken inventory of the things that I had learned along the way. Teaching at the Kubert School forced me to look at what I knew and then I began to fill a notebook with the lessons I was going to teach. The first couple of weeks I just talked and talked and talked and tried to teach them everything I knew, and then I realized that it wouldn't work. The kids were just confused. So then I began to pace myself and to bring out some of the things I knew and I'm sure that Dick Ayers and Dick Giordano and some of the others probably felt the same way. I don't know if you know the story of the preacher who came to a new parish and there was one parishioner sitting in the first row and nobody else showed up, and he gave this tremendous sermon and at the end this young preacher came down to the parishioner and he said, "What did you think of my sermon?" The man answered with, "Look, I'm a farmer, and when only one cow shows up, I don't feed him the whole load." (Mutual laughter.) The first two weeks I was feeding the kids the whole load and then I said, "I'd better start pacing myself." So as I said, I learned a lot of things about the things I already knew, and I began to broaden myself. "Today I'll teach them about composition in terms of this or that and then next week I'll teach them about how to handle close-ups; how to move the angles from down shot to up shot and things like that." Then, some years later I met some of the students. I went to the San Diego Comic Con, the big comic book convention there. I've always been a guest of the San Diego Comic Con, and I ran into some of the students and they said, "You know, Ric, the things you taught us; actually it took us over 5 years to begin to really, really assimilate what you taught us, because you taught us so much and so much of it was way over our heads," and they also said something else that was very rewarding: "Not only were you teaching us the technique of art, the technique of cartooning; you were teaching us how to have self-confidence," which is something most artists don't have, because you tell your parents, "I want to be an artist," and the first thing they say is, "Oh, you'll starve." "I want to make a career in art." "Art? You'll starve." The word "art" and the word "starving" come together. (Chuckle.) What I was trying to show them, though, is that there are thousands of artists all over the country and all over the world and we see Van Gogh and hear about those who had miserable lives, but we don't stop to realize that Walt Disney never starved. Walt Disney was an artist, and he invented a funny mouse and the funny mouse became Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney became a millionaire and he hired hundreds, maybe thousands of art students and they all made a good living. Parents never understand that. So I tried to teach along those lines; to have confidence, no matter what their parents or relatives or even friends would say about, "Art? You'll starve," because that's not true. If you work like a fiend, and you learn your basic principles, you'll never starve, and the basic principles are how to draw decently and how to prepare a portfolio and to show your work to as many people as possible. But all those things became very clear in my mind during those years at the Joe Kubert School. Before, I did them unconsciously. Now, I was very conscious of these things, and my own work improved as a result. So those are my reminiscences of the school. It was a wonderful atmosphere. Joe is a terrific guy. Very positive. A fantastic artist. He could take a piece of chalk and just draw on the chalkboard and in five strokes draw Sgt. Rock or a tank or an airplane. It's just incredible. His mind is unbelievable. Working with him and for him was always a challenge and always a learning experience. But as I said, in the school you have to gather what you know and put it in a certain order so the kids would understand. What else can I tell you about the school? Once in awhile we had a dinner and we all got together and we were very sociable and we had a lot of fun. There was also another artist that came at the time; the widow of Walt Kelly who did the Pogo comic strip. I forget her first name, but she came to the school as well and I met her a couple of times, but we were all so busy that we didn't have much time except for that one dinner every three or four months. We didn't have much time to socialize. We just taught and taught and taught and taught and it was an amazing experience. For me I would never have had the chance to teach like that. Before that I had been a junior art director at the Famous Artist's School in Westport, Connecticut, but as an art director, you don't have the one on one experience of working with a group, and I had learned quite a few things at that time during my one year as junior art director putting together a course for talented young people, and I had been able to gather a lot of information, but never like at the Kubert School, where you had 25 students in front of you, throwing questions at you, and you try to please them all and you try to give them something valuable. That's my memories of the Kubert School.

Prof: Oh, and wonderful memories they are. It sounds like it was a wonderful fit for you. Did you consider going for a longer tenure there? I'm curious as to why it was only two years if you don't mind.

RE: I don't remember exactly. I think part of the reason was that I had other plans. Let's see. That was the late 1970's and I had an offer from a friend of mine who's a very good cartoonist: Leo (not sure how to spell the last name). He's from Argentina originally. I had met him at DC Comics and his English was very shaky. So I was able to translate for him when he came over and we spoke Spanish between us and he went to Mexico and he telephoned me from Mexico and he said, "There's a great chance here in Mexico. The Mexican Government's Ministry of Education wants to hire bi-lingual artists who can do comic books on Mexican history. They have accepted the fact that the people here will never read books, but they will read comic books, so they want to give them a solid knowledge of history through comic books." So I put my portfolio together and I flew to Mexico. They offered me a fantastic contract and at the time, the late 1970's, something like $90,000.00 a year to do these comic books on Mexican history.

Prof: That would be hard to turn down.

RE: Very hard, and I think that was one of the reasons I moved on from the Kubert School. I took my whole family, all six children we had at the time and we drove for days and days until we got to Mexico. We found a home there, we found a bi-lingual school there for the kids and I began to do the Mexican comic books on Mexican history and as luck would have it, two months after I got there, they altered the exchange rate. I wasn't being paid in dollars; I was being paid in the equivalent in Mexican Pesos. They devaluated the currency to half its value. So suddenly the $90,000.00 became $45,000.00.

Prof: Oh, no!

RE: Then two months later they devaluated to half all over again and the $45,000.00 became $22,500.00. So suddenly I was scrambling around trying to find freelance jobs in Mexico and writing to New York to some of my old clients trying to get comic book assignments and advertising assignments from other agencies that I'd worked for and then I met with a Cuban…I'm originally Cuban as you may know; that's my funny accent. (Chuckle.) So I met a Cuban publisher, who had been exiled from Cuba since the Castro regime took over, and this Cuban publisher asked me to develop an idea for him and take it to New York City and try to sell his idea for him and he pays for the trip. I took my oldest son along. He was about 12 at the time, and went back to good old, wonderful New York. I love New York. As far as I'm concerned, that's my home town. I spent my childhood and my teens in Havana, but I spent 30 years of my life in New York City, so to me, that's my town. So we tried to sell this fellow's idea to the T.V. networks and to DC Comics and to Marvel Comics and whoever would take it, and nobody would buy the idea. So by now I was totally disconnected from the Joe Kubert School. Then my little son and I went from New York to California and again we went to every studio in California and we were lucky enough that Hanna-Barbera Animation Studios saw my presentation and said, "We don't like the idea. We don't want to buy the idea, but who did this presentation? Did you do it?" I said, "Yes." They said, "We'd like to hire you to do similar presentations for us." So I was offered a very good job at Hanna-Barbera. I ran back to Mexico to pick up the rest of my family. It took us about three weeks to get ourselves together. We got back to California and I went back to Hanna-Barbera and met the art director, a very nice man; Iwo Takamoto, a Japanese-American, and he said, "Oh, my gosh, it took you three weeks to get back here and I had to give the job to somebody else." So there we were in California, a new place for us, and I scrambled all over town looking for another job. Then I ran into Stan Lee, who was the head of Marvel Productions there. They did animated cartoons based on their comic book characters in New York and he hired me on the spot. He knew my name from comics and we hit it off beautifully and for the next six months I worked for him. Then Iwo Takamoto of Hanna-Barbera called me and he said, "I offered you a job and then I couldn't give it to you and I've been feeling pretty guilty about it and the job opening is ready for you again. Please give me an answer in a day or two and come and work with us." And that's what I did. I went to work with them and I spent eleven years working for Hanna-Barbera.

Prof: Not bad at all!

RE: Not bad at all. In fact, at Hanna-Barbera I discovered the animation film industry is a very flimsy industry. You get hired for production, whether you're doing a movie, or you're doing… the studio system was on the way out, and you get hired to do a production or two and after that everybody goes home. So I was an oddity in that I stayed there for eleven years when I saw people coming and going every two years. When Ted Turner bought out Hanna-Barbera, as happens in all those mergers, Ted Turner brought his own people, and the people who were there were let go and Ted brought in his own people and that was that and it was lucky for me because I was able to work for Dreamworks and for Warner Brothers and for Universal. I worked for many other studios, but on more of a short term basis. One season, two seasons. So my experience in comic books helped me develop the technique of story-boarding for film. With story-boarding you get a script; somebody hands you a whole bunch of words on paper and you turn those words on paper into sort of a comic strip to show the angles and how the story develops. So those years in comic books were priceless in the animation industry. We stayed in California for 17 years and I was working all the time. So I can't complain. So then here in Utah I was offered a job I couldn't resist. Again, the money was very good and we moved to Southern Utah and there I worked for 3-1/2 years for a small studio that treated me very well until they folded and then I kind of semi-retired. I'm still doing work. I'm illustrating children's books and writing novels, but I'm not running to an office every day.

Prof: (Chuckle.) That's not all bad.

RE: Not all bad at all. I put in 17 years in California, but work-wise I put in 20 years worth of work for the Animation Guild and they've given me a very nice pension. I'm not rich, but I can live on it, plus Social Security. All our children but one are grown up, on their own and married. We have 11 grandchildren and they live all over the country and we have a little girl with us; a little girl with special needs. She is our youngest and has Downs Syndrome and my wife, my little girl and myself are trying to live happily ever after. (Chuckle.)

Prof: It sounds like you're well on your way, too. What a great legacy.

Interestingly, Joe was one of my original contacts when I began this grand adventure and I'd e-mailed him a handful of questions, which he answered shortly thereafter. One was asking him if this second career, referring to the school, was as satisfying as his artistic career. His reply was telling:

This (the school) is not my career. I am a cartoonist – first, last and always. –Joe Kubert

Later, of course, when I had the privilege of speaking with Joe about his recollections of his friend Jack Adler, he elaborated a little bit:

Prof: You've got a pretty impressive string of alumni that lead right back to your door.

JK: Yep, and I'm proud of that and Jack also should be proud of that because a good piece of that belongs to him.

So, to wrap it all up, by all means, buy the book, "Man of Rock." It is essential reading for anyone interested in Joe Kubert and the history of the comics medium in general. It's well-written and you're guaranteed to enjoy the time spent. We can be thankful for Joe's immeasurable contributions and the legacy spawned by the school he founded that bears his name. The future of comics is on a surer footing because of this important effort. I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about it from those who were on the front lines.

Thanks for reading, and as always, let me know what's on your mind: professor_the@hotmail.com.

Join us again in the requisite two weeks as we begin year 10!

Long live the Silver Age!

© 2000-2009 by B.D.S.

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