Monday, August 13, 2012

Two cherished icons say goodbye

It has just come to my attention that one of the most beloved sports figures of the Northeast has passed away.

Johnny Pesky, for whom the right field foul pole was named at Fenway Park in Boston, passed away at 92. Pesky spent 60+ years in baseball, most of it with the Red Sox as a player, coach, and goodwill ambassador. I regret that I never had the privelege of seeing him play, but he was as much a beloved, iconic figure in Red Sox lore as Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and so on.

What I wanted to write about was the passing of comics legend Joe Kubert, who succumbed on Sunday at 85.

I don't think there's anyone that hasn't read any of his comics work, dating nearly 70 years. Kubert emigrated from Poland and began his career during the Golden Age, working on one of the characters with whom he's most associated, Hawkman. Kubert also created the Stone Age hero, Tor, who initially appeared for St. John Publishing before Kubert brought him to DC in 1975 for a short run, while Blackthorne Publishing produced 3D reprints of the earlier works during the 80's.

Working with writer Robert Kanigher, Kubert created the iconic WWII hero, Sgt. Rock, whose popularity was such that DC editors, in the mid-70's, as they rebranded some of their war books, made Rock the outright star of the title formerly known as Our Army At War. By the same token, Star Spangled War Stories was rechristened The Unknown Soldier, with Kubert contributing most of the covers to that series as well. Kanigher & Kubert then introduced the urban vigilante, Ragman, in 1976, but more recent incarnations of the character, as with Hawkman, aren't exactly along the same line as originally envisioned.

In recent times, Kubert went back to creator-owned work, a la Tor, with graphic novels such as The Redeemer and the critically acclaimed Fax From Sarajevo. DC is planning a Kubert anthology miniseries, due in October, while the iconic creator is currently on the shelves with a Before Watchmen miniseries starring Nite Owl, a project completed before Kubert's passing.

Sons Andy & Adam are currently instructors at the Kubert School in New Jersey, which has produced a good number of current talents, including Amanda Connor, carrying on the legacy of Joe Kubert, a true legend.

Rest in peace, Joe & Johnny.


Samuel Wilson said...

Awful news about Kubert; just about the last link to the Golden Age among artists and one like Will Eisner who stayed near the height of his powers just about to the end.

hobbyfan said...

Unless I'm mistaken, Sam, I think Kubert was the last link to the Golden Age.