Yesterday we lost one of the true legends of the comics world, artist-inker-writer Herb Trimpe. Sometimes an artist does a character so well that the definitive version of that character is theirs; in Trimpe’s case, that would be the Incredible Hulk. More after the jump.
I might not have known the man’s name when I first saw the Hulk by Herb Trimpe’s pen, but I knew it was right. While it’s true that Sal Buscema’s Hulk was my Hulk, that was by age and intro to Marvel Comics, nothing else. The fact was, and is, Sal’s Hulk was my definitive Hulk because subconsciously I knew Sal was trying to make him look like the Hulk of the great Herb Trimpe. There are artists that are inextricably linked to their version of characters – Curt Swan and Superman, Jim Aparo and Batman, John Byrne and X-Men, George Perez and the Avengers, and Herb Trimpe and the Hulk.
In Herb’s long run on Incredible Hulk, he got to draw much of the Marvel Universe as the Hulk was always fighting somebody. Herb also became famous for drawing the first appearance of some guy called Wolverine in this way. As a Marvel company man, he would fill-in on various titles and projects, so he probably did at one time or another draw everyone with his Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko combination style.
In the seventies, Marvel moved him over to a book featuring another jade giant (even though fans know he was never green in the movies until the year 2000) – Godzilla. That series and its companion title Shogun Warriors are where I began to fall in love with Herb Trimpe’s art. In these two titles he not only got to draw monsters and machinery, but soldiers, cowboys, aliens, the whole gamut, and it all rocked.
We have lost one of the legends of the comic art field, a man who worked the Marvel way, writing and plotting in most work as much as he illustrated or inked. Herb Trimpe was truly one of the best, and he will be missed.