A Note from the artist of today’s page and friend of Joe Kubert, Neal Adams:
When my mother, sister and I — at 10 years old — got off a plane in Ireland, as our first hop to join America’s occupation forces, we were disgusting! The American government sent families to join their dads and husbands on the biggest job an army ever undertook, to rebuild Germany. Whole communities of new housing were to be built by the Army Corps of Engineers, and German workers. They would build, and live in and, at the end, turn over to Germans these massive communities, while employing Germans in every possible job function, in order to set Germany on their feet. All of which meant nothing to 10-year-old me. I, my mom and sister had just spent over 10 hours on a 4 propeller transport plane through the roughest weather you could ever imagine. The vomiting began about an hour in. Vomit bags? There were some. Nowhere near enough. Over half the passengers were kids. One smell -hurk- was enough to start the marathon. Then the weather got really bad.
Landing in Ireland was heaven. There was one more flight to go. Mom cleaned us up as best she could and we got candy and peanuts in the PX, (Post Exchange). And as in all PX’s they had comic books. The world went away.
There it stood. Issue #1 of TOR of 1,000,000 B.C. By Joe Kubert. I was carried away. I thought I recognized the style, but I didn’t know from where. There I was, a vomit-stained, exhausted, bewildered 10 years old, stunned to the soles of my feet, holding in my hands my future, my boulder of a stepping stone to everything I would come to love, do, and aspire to. TOR — not a costumed Superhero, no “Big Red Cheese,” Supersnipe, Batman, and the rest. TOR, a caveman — no, a modern man, among “neanderthals” and dinosaurs, totally out of time, but this was fantasy, mixed with reality.
Later I found these two young talents had gone to St. John’s Publishing to begin a new company. Joe Kubert and Norman Maurer changed the future — or tried to. New concepts, 3-D comics. Norman got close to theThree Stooges, married Moe’s daughter, and began to produce feature-length Three Stooges movies, while Joe changed comics.
Then Fredric Wertham happened along with Congress having hearings, as to whether comics were corrupting America’s youth. The comic book business blew up in everyone’s face and….. Joe Kubert landed squarely on his feet, re-beginning his career as D.C. comics’ “Premier War Comic Artist,” where he and the “unique” Bob Kaniger again revolutionized comic books (when I got back from Germany and went to high school.) Comic books had been reduced by Congress and Wertham to toilet paper.
Through it all Joe Kubert not only persevered, his work grew — in quality, power, and new ideas. He was his own Phoenix, re-creating himself and our business over and over, better and more incredible with every powerful, calm, and relentless step…and I became his friend.
No, I don’t mean ‘friend,” I mean “FRIEND.” You know, the kind of friend you can count on the fingers of one hand, and maybe cut off a finger or two.
I wish I had space and time to tell you of all the ways my relationship with Joe grew and grew. You wouldn’t understand, honestly. There are no words. And, of course, there are many, many words. Maybe one day. Not today.
Today Joe is dead. And all I can give you is this. I’m sorry. Joe was worth so much more.