You Can Call Me Joe
Friday Comic Book Day.
When Joe Kubert and Norman Maurer's three dimension adventures went belly-up at St. John's they parted ways and had to find their own means to earn a living. Kubert eventually ended up at DC and did very well there, but for a while he did all sorts of things. Like most of his contemporaries he first went to Stan Lee's Timely, but he didn't do a lot of work there. Maybe he didn't think they paid enough or maybe he knew he was going to get work at DC pretty early on. His work for Timely falls into three periods. In the first period, he did a couple of jobs as an inker for an artist called Al Gordon. Godon was a pretty mediocre artist, who may have been a beginner at that point. Laer in the fifties he did some solo jobs for Charlton and other companies, but none of them had the quality of the Kubert-inked stories. The amount of inking Kubert did varies from story to story and all of them are signed Gordon. But on the first one Kubert's style almost obliterates Gordon's and I would have no hesitation calling it a pure Kubert story if it wasn't signed Al Gordon. But here's the kicker: the signature seems to have been done by Kubert as well. The name is inked with a brush in a circle in the same way and same letering Kubert used for his own signature. Maybe Kubert was oing Gordon a favour or maybe he was using him as a way to get in touch with Stan Lee (although he must have know he would get work the moment he walke in). I would love to ask Kubert himself about this rather mysterious Al Gordon (no relation to the later inker of the same name), but well into his eighties he seems to be more interested in creating new stories than revisiting old ones. After that Kubert did a couple of stories with later sf writer Sam Moskowitz. In this case Kubert pencilled and Moskowitz inked. His inking stle completely changed the look of Kubert's work, but strangely enough that's when he starts signing his pages. Normally the assignment of inkers was done by Lee, but here I get the distinct impresion the choice was Kubert's and he was helping out someone he knew. If Kubert brought in pencils, why else would Lee assign every story to a novice inker, who completely changed Kubert's look?
I am showing the first Gordon/Kubert story here and have added the list of work by Kubert from the magnificent Timely/Atlas website Atlas Tales. With the help of the art spotting talents of the Yahoo Timely/Atlas group (lead by the imcomperable Doc Vasallis) Greg has compiled an almost complete list of all stories done by this company that we later have come to know as Marvel. It is a work in progress and full attributions are not added until there is agreement from several people, but it is still one of the most reliable and fun comic book resourceson the web. I have also added the list of Gordon's work and it surprised me to see that stories that I think show signs of Kubert's inking have in fact just been assigned to Gordon. I would certainly have added a Kubert? attribution to them. I am also showing to of the splash pages Atlas Tales have added. The first shows Kubert's hand in the way the explosions are inked. The second has Kubert's textures. But still, afer that first tale, his contribution became a lot less.
F-337 The Hog! Journey Into Mystery 21 4 pages Jan 1955 [Kubert]
F-561 The Vanishing Lady Uncanny Tales 28 5 pages Jan 1955 [Kubert]
F-425 S-2 Strikes Battle 37 6 pages Feb 1955 [Kubert]
F-596 The Man Who Vanished! Journey Into Unknown Worlds 34 5 pages Apr 1955 [Kubert]
F-735 Pony Express Apache Kid 13 5 pages Apr 1955 Kubert? (my own attribution)
F-875 The Strange Ones Marvel Tales 134 4 pages May 1955 [Kubert]/[Moskowitz]
F-943 Man With a Gun Kid Colt Outlaw 48 5 pages May 1955 Kubert/Moskowitz
F-973 To Catch a Thief Western Outlaws 9 pages 6 pages Jun 1955 Kubert/Moskowitz
F-1000 Captured by the Reds! Battle 41 6 pages Jul 1955 Kubert/Moskowitz
G-150 Counter-Attack! Marines in Battle 7 pages 6 Aug 1955 Kubert/Moskowitz
G-446 Marine Raid on Munda Marines in Battle 8 6 pages Oct 1955 [Kubert]/Unknown
G-303 Capt. Kirk of the Infantry War Comics 38 6 pages Nov 1955 Kubert/Moskowitz\
E-35 Keep Out Marvel Tales 122 5 pages Apr 1954 Gordon/Kubert?
E-142 Two-Gun Kid 14 5 pages Jun 1954 Gordon
E-922 Kid Colt Outlaw 38 5 pages Jun 1954 Gordon
E-122 Wild Western 34 5 pages Jun 1954 Gordon
E-758 Darkness! Battlefront 22 6 pages Aug 1954 Gordon
E-619 Redman's Revenge Western Outlaws 4 5 pages Aug 1954 Gordon
E-836 The Man Who Shot Jesse James World's Greatest Songs 1 2 pages Sep 1954 Gordon
E-856 South Of Kot'ri! Battle Action 13 5 pages Oct 1954 Gordon