A Tribute to Incredible Hulk artist Herb Trimpe (RIP)

Legendary Marvel artist Herb Trimpe, the first person to draw Wolverine, has died aged 75

Herb Trimpe by artist Michael Netzer/http://michaelnetzer.com
Herb Trimpe by Michael Netzer/http://michaelnetzer.com

Captain Britain co-creator and the first artist to draw Wolverine, Herb Trimpe, passed away on 13 April 2015. He was 75.

Getting his break inking backgrounds for Dell Comics in the Sixties, he then served with the US Air Force in Vietnam for four years before joining Marvel through his old New York School of Visual Arts classmate John Verpoorten, then working as inker on The Fantastic Four.

A member of the Marvel Bullpen from 1967, though Trimpe’s duties were mainly production with some low level inking and pencilling, he made his debut as an artist shortly afterwards with Kid Colt, Outlaw #134 (May 1967).

Wolverine's iconic first appearance on the cover of Incredible Hulk #181
Wolverine’s iconic first appearance on the cover of Incredible Hulk #181

Alongside writer Gary Friedrich, Trimpe then introduced World War I aviator the Phantom Eagle in Marvel Super-Heroes #16 (September 1968) before starting his incredible run on The Incredible Hulk which lasted on and off from 1968 to 1975 and introduced such characters as Doc Samson, the Hulkbusters and – most crucially – Wolverine.

From Marvel mainstays such as Captain America, Thor and The Fantastic Four, to licensed books like Godzilla and GI Joe, and even Marvel’s attempt to crack the UK market which saw him (with writer Chris Claremont) introduce Captain Britain in the pages of Captain Britain Weekly #1 (October 13, 1976), Trimpe is hardwired into the very history of Marvel Comics.

Tributes from those touched by his unforgettable storytelling and warm friendship include comic-book luminaries Walter Simonson, Dan Jurgens, Rob Liefeld, Cullen Bunn, Christos Gage and many many more.

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It is with heavy heart that I mourn the loss of the great Herb Trimpe. A childhood idol of mine, it was an absolute thrill and pleasure to meet the wonderful Mr. Trimpe the last few years. As a kid his prolific work entertained me across a wide platform of books, most notably and famously, his legendary run on the HULK, carried me to far away places and entertained me for hours. In February I brought him a stack of comics to sign, Shogun Warriors, Godzilla, Star Wars, Defenders, GI Joe and countless others. He was so friendly and kind, I shared hours with him at dinner and seated next to him at several conventions on the circuit. He was a beautiful man with a kind, tender spirit. I am so glad I was able to know him and correspond with him. His work will last forever and inspire countless others! Long live Herb Trimpe, a legend in every sense of the word!!

A photo posted by Rob Liefeld (@robliefeld) on

Yet for us, the most fitting tribute comes from his own hand, with words by WB Yeats in the pages of Incredible Hulk #138 (April 1971):