The staff at Metropolis were deeply upset to learn last week of the passing of one of the great unsung journeymen of comics, legendary Hulk artist and Wolverine's proud papa, Herb Trimpe. His clean, cheerful style fit the barrel-chested, brutal world of the Hulk like a glove and his gregarious lines and cinematic compositions made the green giant's exploits an instant favorite for all young male readers of a certain age. When we think of the Hulk, we almost instantly think of Trimpe's style, and his beefy rendition of the lovable brute is arguably more iconic than even the initial Jack Kirby stories. Trimpe was also the first to draw probably the most famous creation of the Bronze Age, the Wolverine, whose first appearance shows off Trimpe's bombastic style perfectly.
Born in Peekskill, New York, in 1939, Trimpe attended NYC's School of Visual Arts and learned his trade working as a background artist and inker for Dell comics. After a stint in the Air Force, Trimpe contacted friend and fellow vet John Verpooten, who hired the versatile draftsman for the then-nascent Marvel bullpen. His obvious talent and proficiency quickly led to a promotion from the production department to the big leagues, starting with the Marvel western series (which remained his lifelong favorite genre), and finally finding his niche with the Hulk, his signature character, whose adventures he drew through much of the 1970s. One of the very few Marvel artists to pencil for every major character, and endeared himself forever to kids of the 80s by drafting issues of both G.I. Joe and the Transformers.
After leaving Marvel during the turmoil of the 1990s bankruptcy, Trimpe returned to college for his Bachelor's Degree in the Arts and went on to teach art and continue to contribute to series for indie publishers such as Dark Horse. An ordained Episcopalian minister and winner of the Inkpot Award and the Clampett Award, he is survived by his three children from his second marriage. The comics industry was built on the talents of quiet, dependable gentle giants such as Trimpe, whose classy and reliable style may not have been as flashy as those of the superstar artists, but whose impeccable storytelling skills burned the Marvel heroes into the brains of three generations. The man may be gone, but the work is immortal. RIP.
For a selection of Trimpe's work in our inventory, please click here.