Have you ever wondered what the Marvel Bullpen looked like? Well, here’s Herbert Waldo Trimpe in the middle of 1970—31 years old, squeezed between a drawing table, a file cabinet, and a poster of General George S. Patton. He’s probably drawing an issue of The Incredible Hulk (you can see the cover for Hulk #129 on the corkboard behind him).
And here’s Herb Trimpe, more than three decades later—five years after Marvel notified him by mail that his services were no longer needed—speaking to Middletown, NY’s Times-Herald Record about his experiences at Ground Zero in September 2001:
”This chaplaincy that I was involved in was composed of representatives from all the major faiths. I really don’t know how many faiths might have been represented, but the major ones were. We had rabbis, at least one Muslim, an imam, we had Protestants, there were Catholic priests, there were deacons like myself. There was a wide variety of individuals that functioned in teamwork. Probably the numbers ran between 40 and 60 total.
Not everybody could make it as regularly as I could, especially people who were involved in parish life. I happened to be not working and so I was going down once a week on average. The first day I went down, I went with another deacon who had actually been going into the site since the first or second day because he lived in Manhattan.
What they were requiring then when they found remains was the first clergy person that they saw, they’d ask them to come and escort the remains out of the site, say blessings, say a prayer and escort the remains to the morgue. That was the basic idea.
Another function that they had was talking to people. Sometimes there was a need. Workers generally didn’t want to be approached. I know there was a little bit of a problem in the beginning with the evangelical groups who were a little too much with the sales pitch. That really wasn’t appreciated because that’s not where the focus was.
The workers really did, for the most part, appreciate having somebody there that they could just walk over and talk to if they needed to. About anything. It might not be any problem they might be having with the job they were doing because very few people ever admitted to that. I never heard anybody actually talk about the difficulty of the job or how much strain it was putting on them. Their response in that sense was more like a combat soldier, you know, I’m here; I’m doing the job; I’m not going to think about it until it’s over.”
Herb Trimpe still draws. You can commission artwork here. While you’re at it, consider saying “thank you.”