Herb Trimpe

Herb Trimpe shared “his extraordinary experiences of working hand-in-hand with the many ‘real life angels’ at Ground Zero following the September 11th attacks.”

hulk181-600x883 Mark Evanier and Johnny Bacardi write about the sudden death of comic book artist Herb Trimpe, who I met twice at comic book shows in Albany. He seemed like a nice guy.

But I never wanted to bug him, because all the fanboys who loved him because he was the first artist to draw Wolverine, later of the X-Men.

As noted in Bleeding Cool, he attended the East Coast Comic Con just this past weekend but died on Monday at the age of 75.

Herb Trimpe wrote eloquently about his unceremonious “dismissal” from comics by Marvel in a 2000 NY TIMES MAGAZINE article, in which he shows how he reinvented himself as an art instructor.

The ordained minister in the Episcopalian faith shared “his extraordinary experiences of working hand-in-hand with the many ‘real life angels’ at Ground Zero following the September 11th attacks in the book THE POWER OF ANGELS (2004).

Herb wrote, “Since the September 11 attacks, the area of devastation is known to most as Ground Zero. The phrase Ground Zero implies utter desolation, a vast emptiness devoid of life and hope. The World Trade Center site is anything but that.”

My friend Fred Hembeck wrote this lovely piece on Facebook, which he has allowed me to reprint:

Lynn and I were stunned to learn of Herb Trimpe’s passing. We saw Herb and his wife Patricia at the East Coast Comic Con just this past Saturday. I recognized his familiar voice call out from behind me as I was checking in, and turned to be greeted by a wide smile and a big hug.

Although I had met him briefly several times at various parties going back a few decades, it wasn’t until about ten years ago that we became good friends under somewhat unique circumstances: wife-to-be Patricia was our daughter Julie’s 10th-grade Spanish teacher and class counselor. Not long after the couple tied the knot, Herb presided over a once a week, full day cartooning class at the school for a semester, and he asked me to be guest instructor for a day. I agreed, but was admittedly very nervous at the prospect, as I didn’t really know him all that well, and trust me, I am NO teacher. But the day went just swell, and Herb invited me to come back again at the end of the semester for another go at it. From that, a really nice friendship was formed.

A year or so later, we shared High School Graduation Day together, as Patricia’s daughter Natalia was in the same class as Julie. It was a small private school, and each graduating student was given the chance to make a short speech. I recall being touched by the sincerely warm remarks Natalia made about her new step-dad during her turn at the podium. I shouldn’t have been surprised, though–EVERYBODY loved Herb.

After that, Lynn and I got together with Herb and Patricia a few times for some very enjoyable dinners–though in the past few years, we’d only managed to spend several scant happy minutes together at one comics convention or another (I was lucky enough to be in attendance last fall when Herb received a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Harvey Awards Dinner).

But finally, stopping by Herb’s table late Saturday afternoon on our way out, as he was still producing sketches for a swarm of appreciative fans, we made tentative plans for dinner the weekend after next. And now, mere days later, this awful, awful news. Herb was a truly wonderful guy, and losing him has saddened me tremendously. Our hearts go out to Patricia, her daughter Natalia, and to all the other members of Herb’s family, as well as to his many, many friends and fans. A more likable guy you’d be hard-pressed to find, and it was truly an honor to consider him my friend.

Dustbury on the passing of singer Percy Sledge.

A very entertaining, real obit in the local paper for Christian Lewis Hacker.

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