Cover for the regular edition
Cover for the variant version of the book
I know a lot of people have eulogized Joe Kubert so much more eloquently than I could ever do. I never met the man, but I certainly respected and appreciated his art. I admit when I was much younger, his art didn't really appeal to me. I always thought his lines were too "hairy." That is the ignorance of youth. Actually, his work on Enemy Ace, is some of my favorite stuff of all time.
When I got the opportunity to work on the Tarzan book, I was thrilled. When I first receive the pages to the book, it gives me the chance to indulge and immerse myself in the art. It feels kind of like discovering something for the first time. There is a certain smugness that goes along with being one of the privileged few to see this art before it gets published in book form. I admit that is one of the perks of the job. Joe draws well. That is really an understatement. When I started looking at the way he could render animals I was intrigued. There is a real naturalistic approach to what he does. Check out his apes and then look at his lions, then see how he portrays elephants. It's really wonderful stuff. Living and breathing illustrations really apply to Joe's ability. I wish there were more "illustrators" working in the comic book industry. We have plenty of talented cartoonists, but illustration is a different thing. Joe had a talent that was instinctual, he just knew how to draw, it never looked laborious.
The other thing I appreciated about Joe, was even in his later years, his talent didn't seem to drop off. Most artists peak at a certain age and then there is a time of decline. I never felt that about Joe's stuff.
I feel a sense of pride and gratitude to have been able to work on a book, that Joe had at one time, said was his favorite stuff. He paid me a huge compliment when he said of this book..."You make me look good." No Joe, it's the other way around, your great art makes my design look good!