Wednesday, 15 April 2015
Well, we just lost another one, sadly, as Herb Trimpe passed away last night. To be totally honest, Herb was one of those artists, like Frank Thorne, like Carmine Infantino, that I absolutely loathed as a kid, finding his work ugly, wonky and wrong-headed. I also never really liked The Hulk, unless he was surrounded by other characters he could bounce off of, like in The Defenders.
I've obviously got a little bit smarter since then, and know from interviews with Herb that he was actually trained to draw in the Marvel house style ie. to get as close to Kirby as possible without actually doing Kirby, and was never very happy about having to do that. So in fact, what we saw in all those Hulk's wasn't actual, real, undiluted Trimpe, which is an interesting thought.
As a dumb kid though, there was a period of Incredible Hulk that even I could see was gold. Jarella, Doc Samson, Wolverine, it seemed like there was a classic being born every month. Here's one of them, in a bittersweet tale that seems appropriate today. Then let's look at some 'real' Herb...
So here's the strip where we got to see full, unfettered Trimpe, Skywarriors from the second coming of Savage Tales. This is an absolutely brilliant series, and was the one that made me realise I'd been wrong about Herb Trimpe all these years, as here he's freed from the restrictions of having to draw in that house style and can cut loose as he'd clearly always wanted to.
It's a post-apocalypse strip, but that's irrelevant. The setting is really just an excuse for Herb to draw one of his favourite things: Planes in action. He was a pilot, and an avid fan of old aircraft, and Skywarriors is an obvious, and fantastic, labour of love.