Legendary Hulk artist and longtime Marvel creator.
A childhood fan of Disney comics and “funny animal stuff” like Donald Duck, Herb Trimpe (b.May 26, 1939, d. April 13, 2015) attended the School of Visual Arts in NYC, hoping to syndicate a comic strip, before going into the United States Air Force from 1962-66, deploying as a weatherman supporting helicopter movements in Viet Nam. Returning in 1966 Trimpe got a foot into the Marvel doorway through an SVA classmate, then artist at Marvel. Trimpe was tapped to run the Photostat machine, occasionally picking up some freelance projects, beginning with Kid Colt, Outlaw, #134 in May 1967.
Trimpe was assigned to pencil The Incredible Hulk with issue #106 in August, 1968, beginning a nearly unbroken seven-year run rendering the character. Trimpe co-created dozens of characters including Jim Wilson, Doc Sampson and famously introduced the Wolverine where Trimpe “shocked to life” the unwittingly iconic Canadian, first sketched by John Romita on writer Len Wein’s concept, as a “secondary or tertiary character… with no particular notion of it going anywhere,” as Trimpe and Wein often co-created in the Hulk storyline.
Trimpe became a Marvel fixture, penciling nearly every character across dozens of titles over three decades at Marvel. In addition to familiar heroes, Trimpe anchored several licensed efforts, including Godzilla (1977), the giant Japanese robot Shogun Warriors (1979), The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones (1984), The Transformers (1985) and G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero in 1982, a particularly successful gamble by Marvel on the military franchise.
After losing his coveted Marvel staff job in the mid-90’s, he returned to complete his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art, and in 1999, began teaching. Trimpe continued to freelance for Marvel and other publishers through 2014, receiving the prestigious Inkpot award in 2002 and returning to the Hulk in 2008 with “The Death and Life of the Abomination” in King-Size Hulk #1.
Trimpe was an ordained deacon and in 2002 was recognized for his humanitarian work as a chaplain at the World Trade Center site following the September 11 attacks. Like few other comic families, Trimpe co-created with other Trimpes a few times over his career. Trimpe’s brother, Mike Trimpe, inked an Ant-Man story for Trimpe’s pencils in Marvel Feature #6 in 1972, in the early 90’s, with his son Alexander “Alex” Trimpe, he co-penciled issues of RoboCop, Fantastic Four and The Mighty Thor.
Trimpe continued to engage with the comic community at conventions until he passed away in 2015, survived by his wife and three children from his second wife.