PAUL KUPPERBERG pays tribute to the artist, who has died at the age of 90…
By PAUL KUPPERBERG
The first thing I thought when I saw the news online that Jose Delbo had died at 90 was a telephone call I received from him many years ago. In the early 2000s my family and I spent a couple of weeks in Boca Raton, Florida, with my father-in-law.
At the time Boca Raton was also home to the International Museum of Cartoon Art where Jose taught a “cartoon camp” for school-age kids. Of course, we visited the Museum (no longer there, I’m afraid) and I’d hoped to visit with my old collaborator, but he wasn’t there the day we came by, so I left a message to let him know I’d been by to say hello.
I was a Jose Delbo fan long before I ever knew who he was from his work in the Charlton, Gold Key and Dell Comics of the 1960s and 1970s, including Billy the Kid, Geronimo Jones, The Monkees, The Twilight Zone, and Turok, Son of Stone.
At DC, Jose was the artist on Wonder Woman (1976 – 1981) and a variety of other features, one-shots, and anthology tales, including several stories written by me, such as our first collaboration on a Green Arrow back-up in World’s Finest #257 (June 1979), a Commissioner Gordon story for Detective Comics #504 (July 1981), the Jimmy Olsen feature in Superman Family #215-222 (February 1982 – April 1983), and the Superman syndicated newspaper strip from May 3, 1982, through to its last episode on February 9, 1985.
We were also partnered on a Captain Atom serial for the never-realized 1984’s Comic Cavalcade Weekly. Jose was one of my favorite collaborators, an understated master of his craft who was a much beloved instructor at the Kubert School from the 1990s until 2015.
A few weeks after we got back home to Connecticut, I answered my phone and was greeted by the voice of the Argentinian-born Jose Delbo. He regretted missing me while I was in Florida and we spoke for a few minutes, catching up and talking about old times.
When it was time to say goodbye, Jose said in his thick Argentinian accent, “So you live in Connecticut? Well, if you ever want to hear someone with a good New York accent, just give me a call, si?”
— DAYDREAM BELIEVING: The Hidden History of THE MONKEES in Comics. Click here.
— PAUL KUPPERBERG: 13 Comics That Might Have Been. Click here.
PAUL KUPPERBERG was a Silver Age fan who grew up to become a Bronze Age comic book creator, writer of Superman, the Doom Patrol, and Green Lantern, creator of Arion Lord of Atlantis, Checkmate, and Takion, and slayer of Aquababy, Archie, and Vigilante. He is the Harvey and Eisner Award nominated writer of Archie Comics’ Life with Archie, and his YA novel Kevin was nominated for a GLAAD media award and won a Scribe Award from the IAMTW. Now, as a Post-Modern Age gray eminence, Paul spends a lot of time looking back in his columns for 13th Dimension and in books such as Direct Conversations: Talks with Fellow DC Comics Bronze Age Creators and Direct Comments: Comic Book Creators in Their own Words, available, along with a whole bunch of other books he’s written, by clicking the links below.