Joe Kubert, 85, the influential comic book artist and writer whose rugged, hyper-masculine artwork included Tarzan, the flying super-hero Hawkman, the World War II infantryman Sgt. Rock and graphic novels about the Bosnian war and the Holocaust, died on Aug. 12 at a hospital in Morristown, N.J. The cause of death was multiple myeloma.

Kubert, whose career spanned more than seven decades, started in comic books during the industry's infancy as a boy prodigy. He was perhaps best known for the two war comics he co-created for D.C. Comics with writer Robert Kanighter, Sgt. Rock and Easy Company, as well as Enemy Ace. By the standards of most 1960s comic books, typically marketed to preteen and teenage boys, the books were uncommonly grim and realistic.

Kubert was a master of crosshatching, a technique that uses closely drawn parallel and crossed lines. He routinely inked his own pencils, which made his work immediately recognizable and distinct from the assembly line approach of other comic book illustrators.

Johnnie Bassett, 76, a blues singer and guitarist with an urbane, jazzy style and whose studio work included the early recordings of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, died on Aug. 4 at a hospital in Detroit of liver cancer.

Bassett's brand of swing and jump blues with a small horn section often contrasted with the rock-flavored guitar work of other headliners at blues festivals.

Growing up near Detroit, he began playing guitar in his early teens and started a jump blues band with singer and pianist Joe Weaver while in high school. The group, the Blue Notes, performed at talent shows sponsored by local promoter Frank Brown in Detroit's black community.

Bassett's shimmering chord work can be heard on the classic doo-wop ballad "The Wind" (1954), by Nolan Strong and the Diablos. He later played on early recordings by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

Outside the studio, the Blue Notes backed up singers Dinah Washington and LaVern Baker at the Flame Show Bar in Detroit.

Ben Isaacs, 107, who was believed to be the oldest surviving Pullman porter, died of kidney failure on Aug. 15 at his home in Victorville, Calif.

In April 1936, he began working as a Pullman porter.

The Pullman Palace Car Co. was founded by George Pullman in 1867 and was most famous for developing the railroad sleeping car. The company primarily hired black men, many of whom were elevated to middle-class status.

In a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Isaacs fondly recalled his days on the trains. Though challenging -- at times he would service up to 50 berths -- the job opened up his world.

"I just kind of liked traveling around and seeing the country and helping people," he said.

Isaacs gushed about encounters he had with the rich and famous, saying his favorite celebrity was cowboy singer and actor Roy Rogers.