Stan Lee Was ‘A Big Fan’ of DC Comics Competitor Joe Kubert

The Marvel legend contributed to his competitor's Just Imagine... series, which featured the work of comic-book star—and NJ art-school founder—Joe Kubert.

Students on the steps of the Kubert School in Dover, celebrating National Superhero Day
Students at the Kubert School in Dover celebrate National Superhero Day.Photo courtesy of the Kubert School

Stan Lee is known for his unique Marvel career, but he also sometimes contributed to competitor DC Comics, most notably in his Just Imagine… series from 2001–2002. The series puts Lee’s spin on DC characters, and in the first issue, Just Imagine: Stan Lee’s Batman, Batman is Wayne Williams, an African American man who takes revenge on those who framed him for robbery.

The issue featured Lee’s writing and the art of another comics legend, Joe Kubert. Kubert is best known for work on DC characters Sgt. Rock and Hawkman, as well as for founding the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, New Jersey’s own accredited cartooning college. Emma Kubert, Joe Kubert’s granddaughter, a graduate of and teacher at the school, recalls Lee as “being a really big fan of my grandpa’s.”

Stan Lee in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"

Lee makes a cameo in 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, something he did in most Marvel films prior to his 2018 death. Photo: Columbia Pictures/Photofest

The cover of "Just Imagine: Stan Lee’s Batman"

Just Imagine: Stan Lee’s Batman features the work of comic book artist Joe Kubert in addition to Marvel legend Stan Lee’s writing.

The Kubert School currently teaches 90 undergraduates across three years in a semester system. It is a hybrid experience post Covid. Joe, who lived in Dover for over 40 years, founded the school in 1976 because he wanted it “close to home,” says Emma.

It was first run by Kubert with his wife, Muriel; after his death in 2012, sons and school graduates Adam and Andy, Emma’s father, took over. Anthony Marques bought the school in 2019; Emma says he “runs the school like Joe did.”

Kubert’s influence remains in some key policies. Student classes are a year long with the same peers and teacher, and drawing for up to 10 hours a day is required. “The school is run [the way] a freelance artist would live everyday life,” says Emma. What her grandparents didn’t foresee, she says, is the community that that experience creates, which “really is kind of the staple of the school.”

Kubert School teachers are required to be working industry professionals, and the curriculum is designed to support job placement. On top of drawing fundamentals, which Emma teaches, students learn topics from storyboarding to digital production to graphic design, as well as how to use computer programs like Illustrator.

Of the school’s impact, Emma says that “usually for an artist, it takes 10-plus years to develop their skills, but by having the kind of curriculum that we have at the school, you can really fast-track that [kind of] learning.”

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