I was so very sorry to hear that one of Marvel’s most important artists, Herb Trimpe, passed away this week. I didn’t know Herb well, but our paths crossed with some regularity back in the 1980's. We shared mutual friends, attended some of the same gatherings and parties, and he always struck me as a down-to-earth, sincere and genuinely good person.
Herb, as many of you know, drew what may be the definitive version of the Hulk, illustrating classic stories by Stan Lee and Len Wein, among others. I was lucky enough to work with him, early in my career, during my run on Marvel Team-Up. My stories were a little wobbly at that stage of the game (maybe more-than-a-little) but Herb always took my plots and turned them into honest-to-God comic books—exploding with energy, drawn impeccably and told with crystal clarity.
A few years ago, my wife and I were out to dinner at a local restaurant and I noticed an original Trimpe drawing of the Hulk on the wall. A few minutes later—the timing couldn't have been better—a couple got up from a nearby table: Herb and his wife, Patricia. (It turned out her brother owned the restaurant.) I hadn’t seen Herb in years, wasn’t even sure he remembered me, but I went over and said hello. We had a nice talk, catching up a little, then said our goodbyes. I saw him at a convention or two after that, but we never really had the opportunity to sit down for a lengthy chat. And now we never will.
Update: Ron Marz has written a heartfelt, and insightful, tribute to Herb that is well worth your time. You can read it here.
I clearly remember reading that Marvel Team-Up!ReplyDelete
I had the good fortune to meet Herb a few years ago at a show. Since it wasn't a huge event, I got to chat with him a few times, even showing him the rough draft of a comic I was working on. He took time to look at it, running his finger over the panels, telling me that I was clear in my storytelling.
Those moments with him meant the world to me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, JM.
RIP Herb Trimpe.
And thanks for sharing yours. Javier.ReplyDelete
Always loved Trimpe's Hulk, but it was his Godzilla that Marvel did that was my favorite. That and Shogun Warriors. His style is always so dynamic especially when drawing things that are so much larger than life. I think I'll re read my Godzilla comics this weekend.ReplyDelete
I forgot about his GODZILLA work, Douglas. Herb—like Mike Ploog and Bernie Wrightston—was born to draw monsters!Delete
Power Record adapted that particular issue of Hulk & when I discovered comic shops and the [gasp] concept of back issues that was the first one I hunted down. Herb drew it better than I envisioned it!ReplyDelete
He had that Kirby dynamism—and yet a style that was distinctly his own.Delete
Just read this; http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/010900edlife-56-edu.html I feel a little depressed now. What a bummer.ReplyDelete
Yes, Herb had a rough time of it for a while. But what's great is that he bounced back.Delete
The freelance life can be a rough road sometimes, as all of us out here in the trenches know.
Sad that another comic book creator that was a major voice in the industry back then is gone.ReplyDelete
The Hulk cover actually belongs to the first issue of Hulk I ever bought. I think it contained three different Hulk stories, including the one on the cover (it was published in Europe). I instantly loved the stories, and Hulk become one of the most popular characters in my country until they started publishing reprints. For someone who was only 7-8 years old, there was something about the character I couldn't resist. Hulk in those days was so different from how they portray him today.
I'm not current on portrayals of the Hulk, Tim, but the Hulk I remember best was a giant, misunderstood child with a VERY bad temper. I think that's the Hulk you're talking about. And no one drew him better than Herb Trimpe.Delete