Herb Trimpe, a prolific veteran comic book artist whose illustration credits include the first appearance of Marvel’s massively popular Wolverine, has passed away at age 75 as first reported by a Facebook post from a family member.
Trimpe is survived by his wife, Patricia, and four children.
With a career that spanned more than 45 years, Trimpe worked on a wide variety of the comic industry’s most recognizable characters, notably an era-defining seven-year run on “The Incredible Hulk” in the 1970s. That run included “The Incredible Hulk” #181, which marked the debut of Wolverine; plus the first appearances of Hulk supporting characters including Jim Wilson and Doc Samson, both of whom Trimpe co-created with writer Roy Thomas. In 2014, a page of original art from “The Incredible Hulk” #180, depicting the first cameo appearance of Wolverine, sold for a record-tying $657,250 at auction.
“To me, no artist is as synonymous with the Incredible Hulk as Herb Trimpe, who gave the Jade Giant a sense of pathos and scale that set the bar for every artist that followed him,” Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso said. “Like a Hulk-punch, Trimpe’s art truly exploded off the page. Comics lost a giant.”
Trimpe’s other Marvel credits include the first issues of “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero,” one of the most successful and long-running licensed comics, along with spinoff “G.I. Joe Special Missions.” His Marvel work dates back to Silver Age westerns like “The Rawhide Kid,” and includes stints on “Godzilla,” “The Defenders,” “Iron Man” and “Marvel Team-Up.” With Chris Claremont, he co-created both Captain Britain and the character’s sister, X-Men mainstay Psylocke.
Trimpe remained active in the latter part of his career, with recent credits including a “B.P.R.D.” story for Dark Horse Comics, and “Dinosaurs Attack” for IDW Publishing. He also appeared regularly at conventions, including as recently as this pat weekend at the East Coast Comicon in Secaucus, New Jersey.
“You don’t sell comics like soap or cereal,” Trimpe told CBR News in a 2011 interview. “The soap always stays the same and the cereal always stays the same, it’s just the package that changes to get people to look at it and buy it. Comics are different. It’s a creative process. Every single issue, from one month to the next, under every single title, is a process and it needs to have a life to it. If the life is snuffed out of it, if that process is not allowed to happen, due to certain modern marketing philosophies, then you’re going to produce a shit product and people aren’t going to buy it by the hundreds of thousands anymore.”
Trimpe was born and raised in Peekskill, New York, and attended the School of Visual Arts. From 1962 to 1966, he served in the United States Air Force. In 2002, he won the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award for work as a chaplain after the September 11 attacks.
In lieu of flowers, Trimpe’s family has asked for donations to be made to the Hero Initiative, which provides financial support to comics creators in need, or the Kerhonkson Accord First Aid Squad.