Sunday, August 12, 2012

Goodbye Joe Kubert

The news hit me like a sack of bricks. It struck me in a way that I didn't think possible.

A hero I never got to meet has passed on. And this happens quite a lot. Too much actually.

August 12th is a day that lives in infamy for all comic book fans. Mark Gruenwald died in 1996. Mike Wieringo died in 2007. And now Joe Kubert has died, in 2012.

I want to scream out in agony about it because meeting Joe Kubert was one of the things on my list of things to do before I die. Shake his hand, tell him that his comics made my dad love comics and made him want one of his sons to love comics. It was something passed down from father to son. My dad loved Sgt. Rock and all of Joe's incredible work in war comics. That's what my dad grew up reading. He didn't care for the superheroes and supervillains. He loved war comics, he loved Joe Kubert, and he loved Sgt. Rock.

I remember my dad telling me about Sgt. Rock and what they meant to him. How he would read them and re-read them and re-read them again and share them with his brothers. He never collected them like I collect comics, but he had copies of them when he was a kid. I remember my dad giving me my first comic book and I remember my dad telling me stories about comic books and how he and his brothers would buy them, trade them, read them, and then re-trade them.

That's what comics were. I used to go to comic conventions and look for the old comics my dad loved as a kid. I used to pick up copies of Sgt. Rock and bring them home for him. It was a pastime of mine, flipping through quarter and dollar bins and then every time I found something with Joe Kubert's name on it, I'd buy it for my dad.

And now he's gone. It's terrible. My heart is broken and I can't believe he's gone. We've lost too many people like him and his enormous talent.

A few years ago, I met Adam Kubert at a local signing. I shook his hand, told him all about how amazing I thought his work was, bought a sketchbook with his family's work (including Joe, Adam and Andy) and had an autograph from Joe and Adam right on the cover. It's a prized possession as I've been a fan of the Kubert family literally since my first day of reading comics. I shook his hand before I left the signing and asked Adam to tell Andy and Joe just how much the Kubert family meant to me. I thanked him and that was that.

I feel for Andy and Adam. I know how it feels to be frightened about your father being sick as my dad has been in the hospital before. It's horrifying. I don't know what it's like to lose a parent but I do know what it's like to lose a friend. It's one of the hardest things I've ever gone through.

I'm sorry, Adam and Andy. I'm sorry Kubert family. You are in my thoughts and I hope that you are okay.

Now, this is also about our legends. I've written a blog post or two about our legends and our heroes. We need to make them aware of how much we care. Of how much they mean to us.

I miss Dwayne McDuffie.

I miss Michael Turner.

I miss Moebius.

I miss Mike Wieringo.

I miss Mark Gruenwald.

I miss Jack Kirby.

I miss Dave Cockrum.

I miss Jerry Robinson and Ernie Chan and Gene Colan and John Severin and Harvey Pekar and Bob Kane and Bill Finger and Will Eisner and John Buscema and there are countless others who I can't think of right now that I will probably immediately think of upon posting this list.

Do not forget to tell your icons and your legends and your heroes about what they mean to you. If it's someone you know personally, tell them today. If it's someone you know online, send them a message and tell them what their work means to you. If it's someone you only follow in comics and want to let them know that you care, write a blog or post something to your public Facebook wall or tell them in person at a comic convention. Let them know that you are a fan and that their work has changed your life.

There are so many comic book creators who have changed my life. The above list is only a small portion of those people and are only those who have died that I can think of right now. There are countless others still living that I follow and that I love and that I will let know how I feel about them.

Do not let time slip by. Tell them they've changed your life. Be honest about their work and just continue to enjoy the amazing things that they do.

Goodbye Joe Kubert. Your work has been a staple of my life for 20 years and will continue to be as I keep moving through this strange world. Goodbye and good luck. We'll see you again someday.


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