Trimpe at the November 2008 Big Apple Con in Manhattan.
May 26, 1939 |
Peekskill, New York
|Area(s)||Writer, Penciller, Inker|
|Awards||Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, 2002
Inkpot Award, 2002
Herbert W. "Herb" Trimpe (born May 26, 1939) is an American comic book artist and occasional writer, best known the seminal 1970s artist on The Incredible Hulk and as the first artist to draw for publication the character Wolverine, who later became a breakout star of the X-Men.
Early life 
Herb Trimpe was born and raised in Peekskill, New York, where he graduated from Lakeland High School. He graduated with a BA in Arts from Empire State College, Hudson Valley Center. Of his childhood art and comics influences, he said in 2002, "I really loved the Disney stuff, Donald Duck and characters like that. Funny-animal stuff, that was kind of my favorite, and I liked to draw that kind of thing. And I also liked ... Plastic Man. ... I loved comics since I was a little kid, but I was actually more interested in syndicating a comic strip than working in comics." As well, "I was a really big fan of EC comics and [artist] Jack Davis."
Trimpe commuted to New York City for three years to attend the School of Visual Arts. There, Trimpe recalled in 2002, instructor and longtime comics artist Tom Gill needed a student "to ink his backgrounds and stuff. So that's how I started, at Dell [Comics], doing mostly Westerns and also licensed books, like the adaptation of the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth."
Trimpe then enlisted in the United States Air Force "for four years," he recalled in 1997, "the standard enlistment time, from 1962 to 1966. I was a weatherman, and our unit was on loan, you might say, to the Army. We supplied aviation weather support to the First Air Cavalry Division based in the central highlands in Viet Nam. They used helicopters extensively to move troops around." Upon his discharge in October 1966, he learned that fellow SVA classmate John Verpoorten was working at Marvel Comics' production department, and
. . . said they were hiring freelance people, and I should come up to the office and show my work to Sol Brodsky, who was Stan [Lee]'s right-hand man at the time. . . . I was just preparing to put some material together and go to DC and Charlton when I got a call from Sol Brodsky, who was production chief. He said they needed somebody on staff in the production department to run the new photostat machine they had just bought, and to do some production work. I would primarily run the 'stat' machine and wouldn't be seated at a desk, but I would be able to pick up some freelance pencilling and inking. This kind of opened the door. The staff job didn't pay much by today's standards; I think it started at $135 dollars a week which wasn't as low as it sounds. Remember, it was 1966 and that was a fairly good entry-level salary.
He joined Marvel's production staff in 1967 and remained associated with the company as a contract artist through 1996. While operating the Photostat camera in the Marvel offices, Trimpe did freelance inking for Marvel, and made his professional penciling debut with two Kid Colt Western stories, in Kid Colt, Outlaw #134–135 (May & July 1967). Shortly thereafter, Trimpe and writer Gary Friedrich created Marvel's World War I aviator hero the Phantom Eagle in Marvel Super-Heroes #16 (Sept. 1968).
Hulk and the Silver Age of Comics 
In the 1960s, during the period known as the Silver Age of Comics, Trimpe was assigned to pencil what became his signature character, the Hulk. Beginning with pencil-finishes over Marie Severin layouts in The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, #106 (August 1968), he went on to draw the character for a virtually unbroken run of over seven years, through issue #142 (August 1971), then again from #145–193 (Nov. 1971 – Nov. 1975). Additionally, Trimpe penciled the covers of five Hulk annuals (1969, 1971–72, 1976–77, titled King-Size Special! The Incredible Hulk except for #4, The Incredible Hulk Special), and both penciled and inked the 39-page feature story of The Incredible Hulk Annual #12 (Aug. 1983).
During his time on the comic, he became the first artist to draw for publication the character Wolverine, who would go on to become one of Marvel's most popular. The character, designed by Marvel de facto art director John Romita Sr., was an antagonist for the Hulk, introduced in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, #180 (Oct. 1974) and making his first full appearance the following issue. Trimpe in 2009 said he "distinctly remembers" Romita's sketch, and that, "The way I see it, [Romita and writer Len Wein] sewed the monster together and I shocked it to life! ... It was just one of those secondary or tertiary characters, actually, that we were using in that particular book with no particular notion of it going anywhere. We did characters in The [Incredible] Hulk all the time that were in [particular] issues and that was the end of them."
He said that he devised the military unit the Hulkbusters, which became a regular element of The Incredible Hulk:
[The series' writers] came up with the major concepts. I was not involved much with the creation of the new characters or new ideas. I didn't want to be. The concept of the Hulkbusters, however, was my idea. I did [the schematic diagram of the base]. I also designed the unit emblem, which was an "H" being shattered by a lightning bolt. You remember, "Thunderbolt" was [antagonist] General Ross' nickname. [The aerial-view design of the base as a peace symbol was used] purposefully as a design for the Hulkbuster base, but it really wasn't a joke. It was just meant as the ironic juxtaposition of a military base run by an aggressive, blustery general, and the military base design being a symbol of peace. It was like in the '60s and '70s when protesters stuck flowers down the barrels of National Guard rifles. It was a provocative gesture.
Trimpe also had a year's run on The Defenders (#69–81, March 1979–March 1980), a superhero-team comic featuring the Hulk. He also drew the cover, featuring the Hulk, of the 1971 issue of Rolling Stone containing a major profile of Marvel Comics.
The artist in 2002 recalled a less-than-smooth start to his Hulk tenure: "I did, like, three or four pages, and Stan [Lee] saw them and made Frank Giacoia do the layouts [for Trimpe's fourth issue, #109, Nov. 1968]. It wasn't my storytelling, there was a good flow there, but it was too [much like] EC [Comics] for Stan. I loved EC, the dark atmosphere and clean lines of it. . . . But it wasn't right for Marvel."
Other Marvel work 
As a Marvel mainstay, Trimpe would draw nearly every starring character, including Captain America (Captain America #184, #291), the Fantastic Four (Fantastic Four Annual #25–26, 1982–1983; Fantastic Four Unlimited #1–12, March 1993 – Dec. 1995), Iron Man (Iron Man #39, #82–85, and #93–94 in the 1970s, plus occasional others), Ka-Zar (Astonishing Tales #7–8, Aug. & Oct. 1971), Nick Fury (Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. #13–15, July–Nov. 1969 and #16–19, Oct. 1990 – Jan. 1991), Thor (Thor Annual #15–16, 1990–1991), Captain Britain (Captain Britain #1–10), Ant-Man (Marvel Feature #4–6), Killraven (Amazing Adventures #20–24, #33), Machine Man, Rawhide Kid, Spider-Man and many more as the regular artist of Marvel Team-Up #106–118 (June 1981 – June 1982) and Marvel Team-Up Annual #3–4 (1980–1981).
In the late 1970s and 1980s, Trimpe's Marvel work included licensed movie and TV franchises. He drew all but issues #4–5 of the 24-issue Godzilla (August 1977–July 1979); drew six issues of The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones (also writing the last two); G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #1 (July 1982) and other issues; nearly the entire run of the 28-issue spin-off G.I. Joe Special Missions (1986–1989); three of the four-issue miniseries G.I. Joe: The Order of Battle (1986–1987); all of the 20-issue Shogun Warriors; and three issues of The Transformers.
Trimpe, in a 1997 interview, described his Marvel arrangement: "I was a quota artist, which was non-contractual but [I] received a salary. I got a regular two-week check, and anything I did over quota I could voucher for as freelance income. I also had the extras, the company benefits. It was like a regular job, but I worked at home. It was a good deal."
1990s - present 
When Marvel went bankrupt in the mid-1990s, Trimpe returned to college to finish his bachelor's degree, and then attended a master's degree program at SUNY New Paltz. Beginning September 8, 1999, he taught art for two years at Eldred Central School in Sullivan County, New York.
Trimpe penciled BPRD: The War on Frogs (Aug. 2008) for Dark Horse Comics, and returned to his signature character by drawing the eight-page story "The Death and Life of the Abomination" in Marvel's King-Size Hulk #1 (July 2008). In December 2009, Trimpe, a Bugatti airplane enthusiast and member of the Bugatti Aircraft Association, published the eight-page comic book Firehawks, in which the Bugatti 100P plays a major role.
Personal life 
Trimpe was divorced from his first wife, with whom he has one daughter, sometime between 1969 and 1971. In late 1972, Trimpe married Marvel Comics editorial assistant and writer Linda Fite, with whom he has three children. Trimpe said he was ordained a deacon by the Episcopal Diocese of New York in 1991.
The since-deceased Mike Trimpe, who inked a Herb Trimpe Ant-Man story in Marvel Feature #6 (Nov. 1972) was Trimpe's brother. Alexander Spurlock "Alex" Trimpe, who co-pencilled with Herb Trimpe the comics RoboCop #11 (Jan. 1991), The Mighty Thor Annual #16 (1991), and Fantastic Four Unlimited #3 (Sept. 1993), is Trimpe's son, and a member of the band The Chief Smiles. That band also includes his daughters Amelia Fite Trimpe and Sarah Trimpe.
- Nomination, Shazam Award for Best Inker (Humor Division), 1973.
- Won the 2002 "Bob Clampett Humanitarian" Eisner Award for his work as a chaplain at the World Trade Center site following the September 11 attacks.
- Inkpot Award, 2002
- Full name per Whitepages.com listing. Retrieved November 3, 2011. Archived from the original November 3, 2011.
- Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2010. Text "John Jackson Miller" ignored (help)
- Shin, Annys (August 29, 2010). "Personal Liberties: Comic book artist Frank Cho has made a career of being bawdy and bold". The Washington Post. Page 5 of 5
- "Porch Dogs: The Unmuzzled Truth About Men and Our Relationships with Them: The Illustrators — Herb Trimpe". (book official website). 2004. Archived from the original on February 13, 2005.
- "An Interview with Herb Trimpe". Green Skin's Grab-Bag (fan site). November 9, 1997. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2011. Additional WebCitation archive, October 7, 2010.
- Herb Trimpe at "Notable Alumni" SUNY Empire State College
- "Hulk-inued! An Interview with Herb Trimpe". SequentialTart.com. December 21, 2009; interview conducted July 2002. Archived from the original on January 8, 2011.
- Hatcher, Greg. "San Diego, Day 1: Reminiscing with Herb Trimpe", Comic Book Resources, August 3, 2002. WebCitation archive.
- Trimpe interview, Green Skin's Grab Bag, p. 2
- Lovece, Frank (April 24, 2009). "Wolverine Origins: Marvel artists recall the creation of an icon". Film Journal International. Archived from the original on May 5, 2009.
- Green, Robin. "Face Front! Clap Your Hands, You're on the Winning Team!", Rolling Stone #91, September 16, 1971, via "Green Skin's Grab-Bag" (fan site) (Archive.org archive)
- Trimpe, Herb (January 7, 2000). "Old Superheroes Never Die, They Join the Real World". The New York Times, education supplement. p. 5 (online version). Archived from the original on November 3, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2011. Additional WebCitation archive, January 8, 2011.
- "Comic Strip on Bugatti Airplane Finally Published", Bugatti Aircraft Association - News, December 9, 2009. WebCitation archive.
- "Firehawks Featuring the Bugatti 100 by Herb Trimpe", Brussels Air Museum Fund, n.d. WebCitation archive.
- Green, Rolling Stone: "He's been through a lot of changes in the last two years, including a divorce. His old lady now is Linda Fite, who used to work at Marvel."
- Their wedding was announced in Bullpen Bulletins: "Four or Five Phenomenal Flashes, Fitfully Fashioned to Fight Lethargy (Or: Those Wedding Bells Are Waking Up That Old Gang of Mine)", in Marvel Comics cover-dated March 1973 and on sale two to three months earlier, with production two to three months before that.
- "Herb Trimpe: If It Ain't Fun, It Ain't Comics". (interview) BryanReesman.com. August 28, 2009. Archived from the original on January 8, 2011.
- Hembeck, Fred, entry, "FFF Results Post #106—Oh, Brother", The Comics Reporter, January 27, 2008. WebCitation archive.
- Name per birth announcement in Bullpen Bulletins: "Just Thomas and Lee—and the Soapbox Makes Three" in Marvel Comics cover-dated January 1974, including Ka-Zar #1.
- "Marvel Bullpen Bulletins," Marvel comics with a publication date of Jan. 1976.
- Archive of "The Chief Smiles", HerbTrimpe.com
- Past winners of the Clampett Award San Diego Comic-Con International
- Herb Trimpe at the Lambiek Comiclopedia. Archived from the original October 6, 2010.
- Reslen, Eileen (February 11, 2008). "A New Page in the History of Comics". The Daily Free Press (Boston University student newspaper). Archived from the original on February 19, 2008.
- Herb Trimpe at the Comic Book DB
- Molina-Muscara, Julio, ed. "The Incredible Hulk Library". (fan site). Archived from the original on July 25, 2011.
|The Incredible Hulk artist