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Herb Trimpe

Trimpe at the November 2008 Big Apple Con in Manhattan.
Born May 26, 1939 (1939-05-26) (age 70)
Peekskill, New York
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer, Penciller, Inker
Notable works Hulk,
Awards Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, 2002
Inkpot Award, 2002
Official website

Herbert W. "Herb" Trimpe[1] (b. May 26, 1939,[2] Peekskill, New York[3]) is an American comic book artist and occasional writer, best known for his work 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.[4]


Early life and career

Herb Trimpe was raised in Peekskill, New York,[5] where he graduated from Lakeland High School.[3] He graduated with a BA in Arts from Empire State College, Hudson Valley Center. Trimpe commuted to New York City for three years to attend 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."[6]

Trimpe then enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he served for four years, including a year in Vietnam.[3] 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.[5]

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 #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).

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.[7]

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."[6]

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 the licensed movie franchises Godzilla and Indiana Jones, and the licensed toy franchises Shogun Warriors, G.I. Joe, and Transformers. Trimpe 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 #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."[8]

Later career

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.[8] Afterward, he taught art at Eldred Central School, a rural middle/high school, for two years. As of 2007, he lives in the Hudson Valley of New York and occasionally takes on comic-book projects such as penciling BPRD: The War on Frogs (Aug. 2008) for Dark Horse Comics, and returning 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).


Trimpe was divorced from his first wife sometime between 1969 and 1971. The couple had one daughter.[9] In late 1972, Trimpe married Marvel Comics editorial assistant and writer Linda Fite.[10] The couple have three children.[3]

The since-deceased Mike Trimpe who inked a Herb Trimpe Ant-Man story in Marvel Feature #6 (Nov. 1972) was Trimpe's brother.[11] Alexander Spurlock "Alex" Trimpe,[12] who co-pencilled with Herb Trimpe, Robocop #11 (January 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[13] and Sarah Trimpe.[14]



  1. ^ Full name per
  2. ^ CBGXtra Forums: Comics Industry Birthdays. Accessed April 6, 2008
  3. ^ a b c d Porch Dogs: "The Illustrators—Herb Trimpe", via
  4. ^ Green Skin's Grab-Bag: "An Interview with Herb Trimpe" (conducted November 9, 1997), p. 2 (via "That was Marvel art director John Romita's design. I drew him first in Hulk #181 [sic; actually in last panel of #180]. But it was Romita's vision based on [writer] Len Wein's idea."
  5. ^ a b Green Skin's Grab-Bag interview, p. 1
  6. ^ a b Hatcher, Greg, "San Diego, Day 1: Reminiscing with Herb Trimpe", Comic Book Resources, August 3, 2002
  7. ^ 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: Archive
  8. ^ a b Green Skin's Grab Bag interview, p. 2.
  9. ^ 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."
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Hembeck, Fred entry in The Comics Reporter (January 27, 2008): "FFF Results Post #106—Oh, Brother"
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "Marvel Bullpen Bulletins," Marvel comics with a publication date of Jan. 1976.
  14. ^ The Chief Smiles


External links

Preceded by
Marie Severin
The Incredible Hulk artist
Succeeded by
Sal Buscema

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