This was done in a student's sketchbook last week. I really like how ZONE and the little creature worked out, the woman, not so much. I added the woman because when I asked the student if his sketchbook had a theme the class sort of laughed and they explained that is was developing into one with a bunch of nudes. Never one to shy away from drawing naked people I tried to figure a way to work ZONE in. I originally was drawing the woman in a much more stylized fashion, I don't know when I went wrong.
So maybe this is my character Ultra, years later, thinking back to when she met ZONE.
The image above was
sketched during the graduation dinner for the Class of 2012 of The Kubert
School. I’d been to a few of these
things and Joe Kubert usually talked about all the hard work the graduates had
been through, what was ahead of them in life, but as I sketched Joe at the
podium, I connected with what he was saying, he was telling this huge room full
of people about his need to draw.
My association with Joe Kubert began long before I had any
idea who he was or that anyone could make a living drawing comics. It was his artwork that caught my eye in the
drugstore’s comic book spinner rack, on the covers of OUR ARMY AT WAR featuring
SGT. ROCK, G.I. COMBAT and STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES. I devoured the stories
inside and with time came to recognize the different artists who drew them.
I was fascinated with the images of war, mesmerized by
stories of combat and captivated by the covers drawn by Joe Kubert. Each cover
image seemed to place a valiant soldier in mortal peril or illustrate a
daunting, neigh, impossible challenge. Joe’s covers promised a life and death
In the spring of 1980 I applied to The Joe Kubert School for
Cartooning and Graphic Art. In September of that year I left Ohio behind and
started classes at the school. It was the start of a new life.
To tell you the truth, I don’t remember much of what Joe
Kubert said at orientation or in class, I do remember themes that occurred over
and over again when Joe spoke, hard work, the importance of meeting deadlines,
the focus one needed to make a living doing what one loved. At the time I was
less a fan of Joe’s art than that of artists like Michael Kaluta, Barry Windsor
Smith and Moebius. I certainly respected Joe’s command of the medium, reviewing
your work he could easily point out a way to improve the storytelling or add
I had some clashes with Joe, mostly technical stuff. I once
got called on the carpet for using airbrush on a black and white ink
assignment. But damn, you just didn’t want to disappoint him, and his
assignment always took precedence over all others.
I didn’t think I could afford a third year’s tuition and
living expenses so after two years at the school I left to pursue work. I
didn’t return to Ohio however, I stayed in Dover for two reasons, a girl, and
the opportunity to remain in the creative community of friends I’d made at the
school. I took on whatever freelance I could find and worked several part time
jobs. One part time job was posing as an artist’s model for the students at the
school. I only mention this because I filled in for a few night classes and
there in the back of the class was Joe Kubert drawing me.
Several years later I ran into Joe at a New York comic convention,
unsure if he’d remember me, he might not remember the name so quickly but there
was recognition in his eyes. He was glad to see me glad to hear I was doing all
right. Later seeing him briefly up at Marvel comics offices there was
recognition and I think a sense of pride in both of us. Me, that I had made it
into the comic book business and for him, that one of his guys was working in
the field he loved.
In 1999 I needed work. I contacted Mike Chen at the Kubert
School and asked about the possibility of any job openings. Soon after that call
I got a call back from Mike, Tex Blaisdell was in the hospital, could I fill
in? Sadly, Tex passed away that spring and I took his place on staff at the
Teacher’s meeting took place in Joe’s office, an awe-inspiring
place filled with artwork and awards. There was a huge meeting table around
which we would gather in the center of the room and on top of that a Fredrick
Remington sculpture of an Indian atop a pony at full gallop. In the corner of
the room was Joe’s massive drawing table, and on it whichever of his latest
project he was working on.
You could tell he loved his family fiercely, I once asked
what happened to the Roy Crane Sunday page that had been hanging in the hall
outside his office. He pointed to the photo of his Grandson in graduation cap
and gown and said this was something more important. There was a sense that by
attending the school or working there, we were an extension of his family. Joe
always stressed that just because you were finished with the school your
association with it didn’t end, you were always welcome back.
Joe Kubert passed away Sunday August 12th 2012.
Joe made you feel included, with his more than firm
handshake or the strong jovial slap on the back, I’m going to miss those. But
much more than that, I’m going to miss the man who lead by example, the man who
challenged you and encouraged you to do your best and the man who more than
shared and understood, the need to