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Early Kubert... great Kubert!
on December 29, 2012
Once again, I seem to be the only person relishing in these early works by some of the most talented American comic book artists of all time that Fantagraphics is reprinting in collectible volumes (Alex Toth, Mort Meskin, Steve Ditko). And I don't know why. Am I the only person who's eagerly awaiting these reprints? If so, I don't mind... but I wish there were more people out there appreciating the great effort Fantagraphics is doing in reprinting these long-forgotten comics. And I'm not even getting paid by them for saying so, as I can get quite nasty sometimes. Oh well...
Concerning this book, which is hardbound (yeah!), it collects, contrary to what the title says, not only Weird Horrors by Joe Kubert, but just about everything else he did in the '50's (and he worked for practically every other comic book publisher out there, even EC; though his EC + DC work aren't collected here), and it features everything from Crime-does-not-pay-type stories, to westerns, adventure and even humorous stories (Miss Pepper... anyone?). Once again, the stories have been sufficiently restored to whiten-out the yellowing pages, correcting some color misalignments, but kept with the original thick halftoned color printing of the time. The art varies from early not-quite-good Kubert (he was in his early twenties), to his very good work from the mid-fifties. I actually prefer Kubert's work from around that time, which was a sort of hybrid between Frank Robbins and Milton Caniff, but with elements of what would later be the Kubert-style. In those days, Kubert inked mostly with a brush, and it's incredible how his work back then reminds me of Spanish artist Jordi Bernet (of Torpedo and now Jonah Hex fame). It seems both grew up loving the same artist: Frank Robbins. I just love those western stories Kubert drew, and I don't know why he never became famous for drawing westerns, and instead for war stories.
All in all, there's something for every one here (his humorous work is quite good, something I was totally unaware of)... and for those of you who believe since it's early Kubert it ain't very good... well, you're in for a surprise. It's really good! As I said before, some early stuff is slightly out of proportion concerning the body drawings (apparently he didn't excel in drawing superheroes back then), but for the most part it's quite good. Again, I prefer Kubert from the '50's than the rushed penwork of Kubert drawing Sgt. Rock (though my favorite Kubert remains Viking Prince).
If you like Jordi Bernet's early work in Torpedo, you'll love this book by Kubert. I can't recommend it enough (along with the other FB books collecting Ditko, Meskin and Toth work from the '50's). And if you love comic books from the '50's (and who doesn't? as those were the best ever), this one is for you!
Let's help keep this work alive and in print, folks, before they disappear forever!