He had already begun working as a cartoonist and commercial artist when he was drafted in the early 1950s. But Joe Kubert’s two years in the U.S. Army (as a sign-painter for Special Services) taught him the art of discipline and orderliness and had an impact on the rest of his civilian career. Now 84, the creator of the comic strips Sgt. Rock and Green Berets—who still runs a school for would-be cartoonists in Dover, New Jersey—explains how.
When I was in my 20s, the Korean War had just broken out, so they didn’t have to paint a picture about what I’d be doing. I was drafted as a foot-soldier. But to my surprise, after finishing basic training, I was assigned as a sign-painter in an Army Special Services unit in Germany. Two years later, I was discharged as a private-first class.
That admittedly unimpressive military record belies what I got out of serving in uniform, however. Although I never made it to the battlefield or even a rear-echelon support group, the military taught me lessons that have served me well during some 70 years in business and in my personal life. I’m conscious of them every day.