Monday, August 13, 2012

DC Entertainment: You Should Be Ashamed

I've had multiple conversations today regarding the crass and thoroughly mercenary way an employee at DC was allowed to treat the passing of our friend Joe Kubert. As numerous individuals pointed out in posts to DC and elsewhere, the initial announcement of the death of an associate is hardly occasion to hype the company's products. At best, this hastily hacked out copy was the work of an immature, amateur, inexperienced copywriter who didn't know Joe Kubert from Joe the Plumber. At best.

I think it's fair to say that the legion of those who care--Joe Kubert's family, friends, fans, and indeed, the entire international body of gentlefolk who assemble as comics fandom who were sorely insulted by DC's insensitive treatment of this solemn moment--are owed an apology by whomever it is that now sits at the helm of DC Entertainment. The crass, classless, opportunistic "announcement" of Joe Kubert's death only added insult to those injured by Joe's passing. I dare say it's something that wouldn't have happened on Paul Levitz's watch.

Contrast the way DC announced Joe's death with the way the matter was handled by any of the industry's news sites. Scores of comics reporters and bloggers took time to offer tasteful words of tribute to Joe Kubert accompanied by carefully considered references to his historical significance. Tom Spurgeon--always a go-to source for accurate information, respect and style--offered a New York Times-worthy presentation of facts and analysis, dignifying Joe's more-than-impressive life and industry significance. Should DC have offered less?

Seriously: Someone at DC Entertainment owes us a huge apology.

Joe Kubert 1926-2012 RIP old friend

Update 3:10 pm: Adam and Andy Kubert have announced that Joe's funeral services will be tomorrow at Tuttle Funeral Home 272 Rt-10, Randolph, NJ 07869. This is where Muriel's service was held in 2008. The gathering is from 10 AM - 12 PM, and actual services will commence at noon. Internment will follow afterwards. It's believed that the procession of cars will pass by the Kubert School and then Joe's home before going to the cemetery. Donations can be made to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in Joe's name, 383 Main Avenue, 5th floor, Norwalk CT 06851 - Sympathy cards can be sent to the Kubert family c/o the Kubert School, 37 Myrtle Avenue, Dover, NJ 07801.

May the family have no more sorrow. - CM

When someone advanced in years passes, people often toss the cliche, "They had a full life." With Joe Kubert, it was true.

Neal Adams once remarked to me that Joe had the three major pillars in place: He took care of his family, his business and his health.

I'll leave it for others to expound on Joe's pioneering art, his importance and longevity as comics royalty, his role as a the definitive comics-art instructor. Let me instead say this:

I knew Joe since I was a boy. We were neighbors and I didn't realize he was a legend until I got older. He didn't act like a legend -- not then, not ever. I'd run into him at my local supermarket. One time, shortly after ComicCon, Joe was on line with his shopping cart full of fruit and vegetables, waiting to pay for his groceries, so I snuck up behind him. "Isn't it strange," I said, "not having people waiting on line to see you?" Joe turned around and laughed.

By all accounts Joe was a regular guy, except he was better than everyone at most things and never let on. Joe was an exceptional family man, an exceptional artist and teacher, a keen businessman. His school in Dover, NJ, changed lives, provided careers for young artists for three decades and will continue to do so under the guidance of his sons, who he adored... Joe was still playing paddle-ball or handball into his mid-eighties, still creating exquisite art every day in his studio, grabbing your hand with that vice-like handshake of his when you entered, always a warm smile and a twinkle in his eye. I was so pleased to know him, to stop by the school whenever I was in the neighborhood, to be able to participate in the scholarship awards there each year, and to have Joe grace the charity projects I was running. He was just aces, this terrific guy who never seemed to age -- this big, wonderful, strong and excellent man. I was sure Joe Kubert would be around forever.

Joe was 85. Rest in peace old friend. You were sensational.

update (9:40 a.m. 8/13):

As always, Tom Spurgeon offers insightful, detailed coverage of those friends we have lost. Tom's article on Joe can be read here.