Stu­dio Pro­file

How an iconic car­toon­ist left a legacy ex­tend­ing far be­yond the pages he cre­ated, and in­spired sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of artists

ImagineFX - - Contents -

How a car­toon­ist in­spired sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of artists at The Ku­bert School, in­clud­ing Dave Dor­man and Alex Maleev.

Joe Ku­bert says he re­ceived $5 a page for his first paid gig as a car­toon­ist. That was good money in 1938. That was great money for an 11-year-old.

It was the be­gin­ning of a glit­ter­ing ca­reer that would take the Amer­i­can comic-book artist from Man­hat­tan’s High School of Mu­sic and Art to the Comic Book Hall of Fame – via DC Comics and his own cre­ations, in­clud­ing Tor, Son of Sin­bad and Vik­ing Prince. Joe founded the Joe Ku­bert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in 1976.

“I’ve al­ways had the thought that it would be great if there was a for­mal school sit­u­a­tion where an as­pir­ing artist could gain this knowl­edge,” he said in a 1994 Comics Jour­nal in­ter­view. “I knew noth­ing about set­ting up a school, or cur­ricu­lums, or teach­ing… that abysmal ig­no­rance was de­void of fear. So I just rolled ahead.”

Joe spotted a house for sale in his home­town Dover, New Jersey – an old 23-room man­sion built in the early 1900s. It had a car­riage house with two apart­ments over a four-car garage, set in over seven acres of land. It was, he and wife Muriel de­cided, the per­fect place to set up a school.

When Joe died in Au­gust 2012, sons Adam and Andy – re­spected comic artists in their own right – took over the school. They pride them­selves in stay­ing true to their fa­ther’s vi­sion. “It re­ally hasn’t changed,”

says Andy, whose own cred­its in­clude Bat­man & Son and Marvel 1602. “The pass­ing of my fa­ther leaves a huge gap – not only with the school but within our fam­ily. Both he and my mom are sorely missed. We run the school pretty much the same way my fa­ther did.”

It clearly works. Stephen R Bis­sette (Swamp Thing), Dave Dor­man (Star Wars, In­di­ana Jones), Steve Lieber (Whiteout and Hawk­man), Alex Maleev (Dare­devil) are just some of the school’s es­teemed alumni.

It’s a fam­ily-run busi­ness with a fam­i­lyrun feel. Where Andy and Adam took over the run­ning of the school from fa­ther Joe, Andy’s wife, Theresa, has taken over from their mother Muriel. Class sizes are small. One-on-one in­struc­tion is para­mount. “We have 95 stu­dents in to­tal,” course

Many of our ap­pli­cants would rather fo­cus their en­er­gies sim­ply on car­toon­ing and noth­ing else

leader Mike Chen ex­plains. “That’s first-year, sec­ondyear and third-year stu­dents com­bined.”

Mike says the Ku­bert School is unique in its purist ap­proach to car­toon­ing. He says cour­ses sim­i­lar to the ones that Ku­bert of­fers are avail­able else­where, but usu­ally only as part of “large and im­per­sonal lib­eral arts pro­gramme” and of­ten im­pos­ing lessons in other un­wanted sub­jects and dis­ci­plines as a con­di­tion of en­rol­ment.

“Many of our ap­pli­cants would rather fo­cus their en­er­gies sim­ply on car­toon­ing,” Mike says, “and noth­ing else. And we are the only ac­cred­ited school ded­i­cated to train­ing stu­dents in all as­pects of the car­toon­ing busi­ness.

“This is the only one fo­cus­ing di­rectly on the main­stream comics medium,” he continues, “Marvel, DC , Dark Horse, Dy­na­mite-type ti­tles. But we also fa­cil­i­tate other sto­ry­telling gen­res and medi­ums along with self-pub­lish­ing ven­tures. We try to cover as many bases as pos­si­ble.

“The team and I are com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing what Joe started in 1976 and the School’s fu­ture is bright. It’s a fit­ting trib­ute to Joe.”

Lo­ca­tion: New Jersey, US Al umni: Stephen Bis­sette, Dave Dor­man, Steve Lieber, Alex Maleev

Web: www.ku­ The son of Joe, Adam Ku­bert has

made a name for him­self mainly draw­ing char­ac­ters such as X-Men,

Hulk and Wolver­ine at Marvel.

Amanda Con­ner has worked on Power Girl and Birds of Prey for DC and X-Men Un­lim­ited for Marvel. Ralph Mo­rales has built up a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the most in-de­mand su­per­hero artists cur­rently work­ing, and his work has been seen in ti­tles such as JSA, Ac­tion Comics and Iden­tity Cri­sis. Teacher Andy Ku­bert leads by ex­am­ple, as his cap­ti­vat­ing vi­sion of Bat­man and Robin ably proves.

Ev­ery­one who stud­ies at the school has the op­por­tu­nity to hone their skills in sub­jects such as dig­i­tal paint­ing, us­ing state-of-the-art tools.

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