You can’t say for certain unless you check to make sure, but Joe Kubert’s career seems to span the entire history of comics. He appears at the very end of the Golden Age, makes a mile-deep impression on the Silver Age, then watches as both his sons Adam and Andy enter the industry, all will starting a school to teach the next of generations.
Through Hawkman and Sgt. Rock and on through the years to Wednesday Comics and Before Watchmen: Nite Owl, Kubert produces a portfolio of work that is hard to imagine anyone will equal over the next hundred years. But that’s not the real magic of Joe Kubert. The real magic goes beyond his ability to draw, but his adaptive intelligence that allows him to conceive of the ways in which the industry needs to change to continue to connect with its audience.
“Well, I believe the biggest change to take place in the past two or three years is our audience,” Kubert says in his 1982 Shop Talk interview with fellow industry legend Will Eisner. “Our reader of 30 or 40 years ago was a cross section of the general population. That is, most of our material was sold at newsstands and most people had access to those newsstands or candy stores. The kind of material we were doing was of a general nature to satisfy and be of interest to that kind of audience. As you well know, our audience today is heavily fan-oriented. Not too long ago—within the last ten years—if you got a very vociferous letter from a fan and followed his suggestions, you knew that sales were going to drop; the fans were in the minority. So whether fans liked or disliked material bore very little relationship to what a general audience would accept.”
Words of deep insight, that also allow for the stern and meaningful compassion of changing the way in which artists must work, and the ways in which industries must change.
Please enjoy our exclusive preview of Joe Kubert Presents.
// Notes from the Road
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