The comic book world is poorer today for the loss of legendary artist Joe Kubert. You can find out the details of his life and death and contributions to the comic book industry somewhere else if you want to, but I just want to express how much the man’s art meant to me personally. If it weren’t for a huge stack of torn and yellowed issues of G.I. Combat I found almost fifteen years ago at my grandparents’ house, I doubt I would appreciate comic books as much as I do today. I’m sure the writing was excellent and complex (G.I. Combat was ahead of its time where mature storytelling was concerned), but the only thing that really matters when you’re eight is the art. It either grabs your attention and keeps it, or it doesn’t. Joe’s always did. It still does. That’s the nice thing about truly good stories: they last.
He couldn’t have known it at the time, but Joe Kubert’s illustrations from these old war comics would be remembered long after they were first published. They’ve been collected into graphic novels and reprinted in comic encyclopedias many times over. More importantly, they influenced me profoundly when I was young. In the pages of G.I. Combat, they were my introduction to the world of comic books. Seeing how much I enjoyed the comics they already had, my grandparents started buying newer ones for me and my siblings. That’s how I got hooked on Spider-Man, which is why I went to see the 2002 film version the day it came out. As soon as I left the theater, I went into a bookstore and bought my first comic with my own money. Ever since then, comics have been an integral part of my life, and Joe Kubert’s art is directly responsible for that. Like I said, Joe couldn’t have known what a profound effect his work would have on my childhood decades later. But if nothing else, it brought a lot of joy into my life. I can’t think of a better legacy for a comic book illustrator. Thanks Joe.