Graphic Universe would like to share some sad news: Joe Kubert, one the last great American comic book artists of his era, passed away on Sunday, August 12. He was 85.

Kubert, who co-founded the internationally recognized The Kubert School, also created the DC Comics icon “Sgt. Rock” and illustrated a host of other notable characters, including the 1940s “Hawkman” and a 1970s version of “Tarzan.”

It is said that Kubert was working on comic books until nearly the day he died.

Kubert’s career in comics was long and multi-dimensional. He was born in Poland (now Ukraine) in 1926 but moved to Brooklyn, New York as a baby. Some seven decades later, paying homage to his past, Kubert created the critically acclaimed graphic novel “Yossel”, about a young artist living in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II—a setting similar to where Kubert’s family lived before leaving for the United States prior to the onset of the war.

In 1976, Kubert, along with his wife of 57 years, the late Muriel Fogelson, established The Kubert School in Dover, New Jersey. In the intervening 36 years, the institution has become a beacon of talent, representing artists from varied countries and a multitude of styles and genres. The school has churned out an impressive group. A few notable alumni include Eisner Award winning artist Steve Lieber, Emmy Award winning director Brandon Vietti, and Eisner Award winner Eric Shanower.

The Kubert School in Dover, New Jersey

Kubert began drawing comics at the age of 11, and by the late 1940s he gained recognition for his contribution on “Hawkman.” After working in the industry for over a decade, in 1959 he produced his greatest comic creation—“Sgt. Rock”—a monthly release, about a World War II army officer named Frank Rock.

Kubert, who is survived by five sons, several of whom are successful comic book artist in their own right, will be remembered as one of the greats.

The Kubert School website, which was temporally shut down, in honor of the pioneering artist, posted the following statement:

“Joe Kubert…was a father, teacher, artist and friend to everyone that he met. With a welcoming smile and a firm handshake, Joe left an undeniable stamp on the world. He believed in helping young artists to get better and he led the way by setting the example of how to do it. Everyone who had the privilege of knowing him has memories of those times and can use them to learn from. Not only as a better artist but as a better person.”