The Star-Ledger spoke to Kubert in June about his history as an artist and his role as father to noted comic book artists Andy and Adam Kubert.
“I was, and still am, the luckiest person in the world,” said Joe Kubert just the other month, sitting next to Andy, a consultant for DC Comics, at the school that bears his name, The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art — known internationally as The Kubert School — in Dover.
At the time, the father and son team were on the verge of releasing a project together, “Nite Owl” an installment in DC’s “Before Watchmen” series. Kubert appeared lively and healthy, still possessed of a strong passion for his work, both as a teacher and artist who shrugged off the idea of retirement.
As a comic book artist, Kubert had a hand in creating Sgt. Rock, a World War II Army soldier character that debuted in 1959, as well as the prehistoric Tor, one of the first comics presented in 3-D. He also famously drew Hawkman, starting in the 1940s. Before all that, he made his comic book debut when he was a child, just 12 years old, growing up in the East New York section of Brooklyn.
“It’s become dramatically more accessible to make a livelihood with this business than it ever has been,” said Kubert. Back when he started, for many artists, comics were seen as a shameful way to work. He said successful movies starring comic book heroes upped the cache of comics.
“We’ve gained a respectability that nobody who started in my business ever dreamed,” said Kubert. “… It’s amazing how money changes things.”
In 1976, having moved to Dover, Kubert and his wife Muriel opened The Kubert School. Since then, students from all over the world who wanted to make a serious career in the comic book industry sought training there. One day a week, Kubert left his drawing table to teach a class in comic book narrative.
He saw his work as an artist as his life, not just his work. Kubert kept drawing, “… Not because I have to, but because I want to,” he said.
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Kubert came to the United States with his family from what was then Yzeran, Poland, where he was born in 1926. His 2003 graphic novel, “Yossel — April 19, 1943,” was about a young Jewish artist in the Warsaw ghetto. The story, he said, reimagines life for Kubert’s own family if they had not left Europe before World War II.
Some called him comic book royalty, but Kubert was also father to five children: Andy, 50, of Randolph, who also teaches at The Kubert School, Adam, 52, of Mount Olive; David, 58; Lisa, 54, who lives in West Virginia and runs the school’s correspondence courses, and Danny, 57, an antique toy dealer.
Source: The Star-Ledger