Herb Trimpe, a comic-book legend known for his seven-year run on The Incredible Hulk and for being the first artist to draw Wolverine in a Marvel comic, passed away Monday at the age of 75. Trimpe's cousin Glen Baisley announced his passing on Facebook.
In a career spanning more than 50 years, Trimpe established himself as one of the most important artists ever to work at Marvel Comics, and drew nearly every major character in the publisher's stable over the years. His comics career began in the early 1960s, when artist Tom Gill -- who was also Trimpe's teacher at the New York School of Visual Arts -- offered Trimpe some work inking his backgrounds at Dell Comics. At Dell, Trimpe contributed to Western titles and an adaptation of Journey to the Center of the Earth before joining the Air Force in 1962. When he left military service in 1966, his School of Visual Arts classmate John Verpoorten (who would become a legendary Marvel production manager) mentioned that Marvel Comics was looking for freelance artists. Trimpe first joined the publisher as a member of the production staff, then made his debut as a Marvel artist with the Western title Kid Colt, Outlaw in 1967.
In 1968, beginning with issue #106, Trimpe took over penciling duties on The Incredible Hulk and launched a career-defining run with the character. Over the next seven years, he would draw all but two issues of the title and become of one of Hulk's defining creative influences. During his run he also helped plot the book and co-created characters including Jim Wilson, Doc Samson and the Hulkbusters. In 1974 he made what might be his most famous Marvel contribution when he became the first artist to draw Wolverine in a Marvel publication. Trimpe penciled the character (designed by John Romita Sr. but never seen in a comic before) in the final panel of The Incredible Hulk #180, and introduced the character more fully with The Incredible Hulk #181, an issue that features what's still one of the most iconic covers in comic-book history.
Trimpe was a prolific artist throughout the '70s and '80s and into the early '90s at Marvel. In additon to his Hulk work, he penciled 22 issues of Marvel's Godzilla series, 14 issues of Defenders, nine issues of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, 26 issues of G.I. Joe: Special Missions, 13 issues of Iron Man, 13 regular issues and two annuals of Marvel Team-Up, 11 issues of Fantastic Four Unlimited and much much more. In the mid-'90s, as the company struggled with bankruptcy, Trimpe returned to college, earning a bachelor's degree from Empire State College and entering a master's degree program. He also became an art teacher in the late '90s, and though his comics output slowed, it never fully stopped. He was a regular fixture at comic-book conventions everywhere, and in the past few years contributed to B.P.R.D. for Dark Horse Comics, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero for IDW Comics and, most recently, a backup story in Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon #200 for Image Comics.
According to Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool, Trimpe's family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his name to The Hero Initiative, a charity that supports comics creators in need.
(Via Bleeding Cool)