NJ comic book pioneer dead at 85

NJ comic book pioneer dead at 85

Joe Kubert, called one of the last of the great American comic book artists as well as the founder of The Kubert School in Dover, has died.

Kubert, 85, died Sunday in Morristown of multiple myeloma, according to The New York Times.

Kubert is best known for his work on the DC Comics characters Sgt. Rock and Hawkman. He was inducted into the Harvey Awards’ Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1997 and Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1998.

Kubert also worked on a number of Jewish projects, including “Cartoonists Against the Holocaust” for the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, a traveling exhibit of 1940s political cartoons from American newspapers about the Jews in Nazi Europe, and a two-page adventure comic with moral lessons called “The Adventures of Yaakov and Isaac” for the Lubavitch magazine Moshiach Times, reported The Jewish Daily Forward.

Kubert wrote several comics and graphic novels that tapped into his Jewish roots, including Jew Gangster; Yossel: April 19, 1943; and The Prophecy, a six-part Sgt. Rock storyline based on a book about the rescue of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson from Poland during World War II.

The artist founded The Kubert School in Dover to train future illustrators. It is the only accredited school devoted entirely to cartooning and graphic art.

“He’s the longest-lived continuously important contributor to the field,” Paul Levitz, a former president of DC Comics, told The New York Times on Monday. “There are two or three of the greats left, but he’s definitely one of the last.”

He is also known as one of the leaders of the Wyman Institute campaign to persuade the Auschwitz State Museum in Poland to return eight paintings belonging to Dina Babbitt, a fellow cartoonist and illustrator. He started a petition that gathered more than 450 signatures of comic book creators from around the world and international attention for her cause.

Kubert was born to a Jewish family in southeast Poland before immigrating to New York as a baby. He started drawing comics at an early age before working for DC Comics in the 1940s. He continued to draw in the hospital despite his illness. 

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