Last year I was invited to go to the city of Bogotá in Colombia to talk about comic books and psychology. I had no idea what to expect and I had more than one contingency plan in place, just in case things didn't go as expected on the two week long trip.
To be honest, I really didn't know who Herb Trimpe was in the comic book world until I found out he was going to be a part of this event I was going to. Herb Trimpe was the first person to draw Wolverine and he drew the Hulk for years. When people picture a classic rendition of the Hulk, that's Herb's Hulk.
For two weeks we stayed at the same hotel and saw each other almost every day, even if just for a second in the lobby. I wouldn't say we became friends, we never spoke after the Colombia trip, but spending time with him and his wife Patricia was one of the highlights of my trip.
My first impression of Herb was that he was mad for some reason. He had, at first glance, in my opinion, one of those "bitchy resting faces" that made me not want to approach him. It turns out that Herb was incredibly warm and nice and funny and everybody I met loved him. I'm serious, everybody said the nicest things about him and they were all true. He was also a very "no-bullshit" type of guy. I really liked him.
He was in his 70's and still going to conventions, signing autographs, and doing commissions. More than once in that two week period I saw him sitting alone in the hotel's restaurant area finishing up commissions. And if we went to eat somewhere and he was recognized he would draw something on a napkin for a fan. It didn't seem to bother him and he and his wife seemed to really enjoy all of it.
He told me a story about how he once made a huge AT-AT with moving parts, out of wood, for one of his kids. He seemed really proud of it. He seemed really proud of his art too. I heard him say a few times that working in comics was just a job and it wasn't until later in life that he realized that his work really mattered to people. Then it mattered to him.
I only knew Herb Trimpe for two weeks but I'm so happy that I got to meet him and hang out with him. It was an honor. I've still got a lot of his work to see and I look forward to swapping Herb stories with fellow fans for many, many years.