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Joe Kubert’s illustration of himself surrounded by the characters he’d drawn and created over the years.

Joe Kubert, one of the greatest masters of the comics art form, died yesterday after a short illness, three weeks short of his 86th birthday.

DC is currently publishing his work as an inker on Before Watchman: Nite Owl, pencilled by his son Andy, but Kubert is best known as the artist of the long-running war feature Sgt. Rock.  He is also well known for his work on both golden and silver age Hawkman, and for work on  such features as Enemy Ace, Tarzan, Firehair, Tor (created for St. John’s comics in the 1950s), the Tales of the Green Beret newspaper strip, and endless other features and countless covers. In his later years he wrote and drew a great many graphic novels, both original creations (Jew Gangster, Fax from Sarajevo, Yossel) and based upon his well-established Tor and Sgt. Rock characters, and served as an editor at DC Comics in the 1970s.

Over the years Joe received numerous awards, including the Harvey Awards’ Jack Kirby Hall of Fame and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame, but greater than this was the respect and love of a  legion of respecting collaborators, fans, students, and fellow artists.  He also established The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, New Jersey in 1976.  The school teaches the craft of comics and can claim many great names in comics among its alumni.

Joe’s wife of 57 years, Muriel, had served as a model for many of Kubert’s female characters.  She passed away in 2008.

It’s said that the measure of a man is how many glad hearts he leaves behind.  Joe Kubert left behind a great many.  He will be missed.

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