Thursday, May 26, 2022

Today in Comics History, May 26: Happy birthday, Herb Trimpe!

Born today in 1939: comics artist Herb Trimpe, perhaps best known for his work on the Incredible Hulk, but he's also penciled very nearly every major Marvel character in books like The Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Spectacular Spider-Man and Marvel Team-Up, Iron Man, Sgt. Fury, Nick Fury, Dr. Strange, Marvel Two-in-One, Star Wars, What If...? Spitfire and the Troubleshooters, and gosh, a whole lot more!


from (top) Might Marvel Calendar 1979 and 1980 (Marvel, 1978 and 1979), Marvel Age #29 (Marvel, August 1985), text by Jim Salicrup, pencils and inks by Ron Zalme, and
(bottom) Marvel Age #53, 89, and 101 (Marvel, August 1987, June 1990, and June 1991); text by Mike Carlin (#53) and Chris Eliopoulis and Barry Dutter (#89 and 101); pencils and inks by Ron Zalme; colors by Paul Becton (#53) and Renee Witterstaetter (#89 and 101)




He co-created such characters as Doc Samson, Valkryie, Wendigo, Psylocke, Jarella, and drew Wolverine's first appearance in Hulk #180-181!

Trimpe: "[Romita and Wein] sewed the monster [Wolverine] together and I shocked it to life!"


from (left) Fantastic Four Annual #7 (November 1969), and FOOM #10 (June 1975)

And say, since we're on the subject, how do you pronounce "Trimpe?" Probably not the way you thought!


from "Bullpen Bulletins" in Marvel Comics cover-dated June 1967

Did you know Herb was an avid aviator, and flew his very own vintage biplane?


from Marvel Age #15 (Marvel, June 1984)

Herb's had his share of appearances within Marvel Comics too, altho' I can't always 100% pick him out of the crowd. I think that's Herb at the left, isn't it?




from Marvel Premiere #24 [Iron Fist] (Marvel, September 1975), script by Chris Claremont, pencils by Pat Broderick and Marie Severin, inks by Vince Colletta and Marie Severin, colors by Phil Rachelson, letters by Karen Mantlo

And is that Herb in the brown suit on this Iron Man splash page?



from Iron Man (1968 series) #85 (Marvel, April 1976), co-plot by Len Wein, co-plot and script by Roger Slifer, breakdowns by Herb Trimpe, finishes and colors by Marie Severin, letters by Gaspar Saladino

That definitely IS Mister T. in a sassy striped tank top and a he-man physique, being flabbergasted by the washed-ashore Namor!



from Sub-Mariner (1968 series) #19 (Marvel, November 1969), script by Roy Thomas, pencils and colors by Marie Severin, inks by Johnny Craig, letters by Artie Simek

A Kirby memory of Herb Trimpe from the graphic novel biography of Jack:


from Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics (Ten Speed, July 2020), script and art by Tom Scioli

Trimpe self-portrait, lower left. Wow, I wish I'd gotten these portfolios, don't you?


advertisement from Marvel Comics cover-dated September 1971

I alluded via alt-text somewhere up there that "gee, Marvel musta loved Herb Trimpe, right? Well...not so much in his later career. "Happy" Herb definitely wasn't happy with their treatment of him.


from 1975 Mighty Marvel Convention Program Book (Marvel, 1975), photo by Michele Wolfman

When the hot artists of the late 1980s like Todd McFarlane and Erik Larsen became popular, Marvel influenced Herb to copy their look and style despite his already long-established techniques. The result was...well, actually Herb could pretty much pull it off and gave us passable '90s style comics, but in the end, Marvel froze him out of work anyway. Herb wrote a New York Times article on this (and enterting a new career of student-teaching art to kindergartens and first graders). Click the image to read the entire article:


from "Old Superheroes Never Die, They Join the Real World" in The New York Times (January 7, 2000), by Herb Trimpe (retrieved June 26, 2922)

On that kinda melancholy note, I hope Herb Trimpe knew how many of us loved his work. (Remember: drop a note or a tweet to your favorite comics creators to let 'em know you're a fan. Don't wait until it's too late!

Happy birthday, Herb!

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