Note: I will be off Dec 16th through Jan 2. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
New York native Joe Simon was one of the most prolific comic book creators of the early 30’s and 40’s, has passed away.
Simon co-created Captain America with artist Jack Kirby, as well as Sandman, the Newsboy Legion, the Boy Commandos, Fighting American, Manhunter and The Fly, to name a few. Together Simon and Kirby would shape the comic book industry into what it is today. They virtually created genre related comics, such as romance and horror comics.
Simon became interested in writing and publishing while in high school, where he was art director for the school newspaper and the school yearbook. Upon graduating he got a job working as an assistant art director for the Journal American, a leading New York newspaper of the day. He also produced editorial cartoons for the paper.
When the paper went out of business during the great depression, Simon began working as a freelance writer and artist. He did some work for the Paramount theater in NYC, retouching movie posters and also worked for several magazines, doing writing and art assignments. Then Timely Comics came calling.
Timely’s then publisher Martin Goodman was interested in creating a line of super hero books to compete with the successful National Comics line of heroes such as Batman and Superman. Simon created the Fiery Mask for Goodman, a mild success.
Not long after Simon met artist Jack Kirby and the two became fast friends. They began a collaboration that lasted nearly twenty years, producing many successful hero books for both National Comics (DC) and Timely (Marvel).
By the early 1960’s Simon was working in the advertising industry but still dabbling in comics. He created the short lived Sick magazine ( a competitor of MAD) and did some work for Harvey Comics.
By the 1970’s Simon’s work in comics declined more and more and although he didn’t do many comics he was still a fixture at the yearly comic book conventions. At the conventions he found new fans and a new interest in his artwork. By the late 1990’s Simon was reproducing many of his famous Golden and Silver Age covers and creating new art commissioned pieces. In 2011 he wrote a book about his life and work in comics.
Simon died yesterday in New York City after a brief illness. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Rest in peace Joe.