Herb Trimpe Dies at age 75: Hulk, GI Joe Artist and Co-Creator of Wolverine
(1939-2015) Began working at Marvel Comics in 1967 after a tour of duty in the military in the Vietnam War. Trimpe penciled, inked, and occasionally wrote for Marvel from 1967 through 1996. His biggest achievements, and, indeed, his legacy as an artist and creator were cemented by his work on the Hulk, Wolverine, and G.I. Joe comics for Marvel.
Marvel Super-Heroes #16-1st Appearance of the Phantom Eagle
Trimpe's first creative assignment with Marvel as a penciller came two Kid Colt Western stories, in Kid Colt, Outlaw
#134–135 (May and July 1967). Shortly thereafter, Trimpe and writer Gary Friedrich created Marvel's World War I flying hero the Phantom Eagle in Marvel Super-Heroes
#16 (Sept. 1968).
Kid Colt Outlaw #134
Starting with The Incredible Hulk
vol. 2, #106 (Aug. 1968), Herb Trimpe would go on to draw the Hulk for almost seven years, through issue #142 (Aug. 1971), then again from #145–193 (Nov. 1971 – Nov. 1975). In the modern age of comics, it is almost unthinkable that any one artist would be allowed to draw a comic title or the same character for that long. Herb Trimpe had a huge impact on how the world perceived the image of the Jade Giant throughout most of the 1970s.
Of course, his most popular creation (co-created with writer Len Wein), was that Canadian, claw-popping runt of a mutant called Wolverine! The future member of the X-Men, Logan the Wolverine first appeared in the Incredible Hulk
#180 and 181 as an antagonist to the Hulk.
Wolverine Appeared in Incredible Hulk #180
Besides his work on Hulk, and for creating Wolverine, Herb Trimpe is also well-known for his art on Marvel's G.I Joe: Adventures of an American Hero series.
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #1 (1982)
Trimpe worked primarily for Marvel, but also, later in his career, worked for smaller companies such as Dark Horse and IDW.
Among awards won by Herb Trimpe are the Shazam Award for Best Inker (Humor Division) in 1973, and the Humanitarian of the Year Award at the San Diego comic convention in 2002, for his work as a chaplain at the World Trade Center site after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. He had been ordained as an Episcopalian Deacon in 1991.
Herb Trimpe died suddenly and unexpectedly on April 13, 2015 at the age of 75. Following word of Trimpe's death, Marvel's current editor-in-chief, Axel Alonso,
issued a statement:
"To me, no artist is as synonymous with the Incredible Hulk as Herb Trimpe, who gave the Jade Giant a sense of pathos and scale that set the bar for every artist that followed him. Like a Hulk-punch, Trimpe's art truly exploded off the page. Comics lost a giant."
Indeed it did. Herb Trimpe was a very important artist in the history of Marvel and of the entire Comics industry and comics fandom.
An interesting tidbit about Herb Trimpe's start at Marvel. As he often did in the old days, Marvel Editor Stan Lee would make staffing announcements in his Marvel Bullpen Bulletins column in the comic books. Trimpe's start in the production staff was announced by Smilin' Stan Lee in the "Bullpen Bulletins" of Marvel's Fantastic Four
#6, cover-dated for June, 1967, as you can see in the image below. Ah, for the good old days of Marvel! Goodbye Herb Trimpe! In this comic book reviewer's opinion, you were THE Hulk artist of our childhood!
Marvel Bullpen Bulletin From Fantastic Four #63 (July, 1967)