It’s been over a month since Marvel Comics artist Herb Trimpe, the master of groovy teeth*, died suddenly while out jogging, which is probably how I’ll go, eventually. Herb was a top-notch comic book artist, with a distinctive style and as good an ability to design a page and tell a story clearly as any artist. He was noted for his long run on the Hulk, during which he co-created Wolverine, a character that has been very good for Hugh Jackman’s bank account.
After a stint in the Air Force, Herb was a Marvel mainstay for almost 30 years, until 1996, when Marvel stopped giving work to its veteran artists, in favor of younger talent. (Joe Sinnott retired from full-time artistic duties in 1994.) A few years later, Herb wrote an op-ed about his struggles in The New York Times that received a lot of attention. He kept going by teaching, doing commissions, and drawing sketches at conventions, like the one I embedded above. Herb was a great guy to know, and he is missed personally, as well as professionally.
Starting this coming Tuesday, the PBS series American Masters is presenting “Bing Crosby Rediscovered.” Don’t miss it!
I was 22 when Crosby suddenly collapsed after playing golf in Spain on October 14, 1977. Bing sure seemed old to me at the time, but he was only 74. To put that into perspective, Ringo Starr is 74.
The day after Bing died, Denro and I were at the Boston Newcon comic book convention, interviewing the one and only Joe Sinnott, who was, at the time, starting work on inking the Silver Surfer graphic novel by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, released in 1978. Dennis asked Joe, addressing him as Mr. Sinnott, “What do you for enjoyment? To get away from comics?” Here is what Joe said, as recorded by me on October 15, 1977.
We knew that Bing had died, so I wasn’t completely clueless and, yet, being the callow youth that I was, stupidly I asked, “So how do you feel about it?” Duh! The next day, October 16, would be Joe’s 51st birthday and, my goodness, how young he sounds in that recording.
I don’t know yet how much the American Masters documentary will ac-cen-tu-ate the positive. Gary Crosby’s memoir damaged Bing’s reputation as a father, but the multi-talented, multi-media Crosby remains an undeniably significant and pioneering figure in entertainment history. As I have pointed out in the past, Crosby was the first to see and exploit the potential of magnetic tape recording. A few months ago, someone working on the American Masters documentary spotted my posts and requested a photo for “Bing Crosby Rediscovered,” which I gladly provided. I can’t say for certain if the picture is in the final edit, but if you see it you’ll know where it came from.