If there was anyone from the golden age of comics who I wanted to meet, it was Joe Simon. I was never going to get a chance to meet Jack Kirby, or Will Eisner, and Joe belongs up there in the pantheon with both of them. Today, I found out that isn’t going to happen, and I am very saddened.
Joe has passed away today, and it’s a massive loss for comics. Joe Simon was Jack Kirby’s partner for twenty years before Kirby teamed up with Stan Lee at Marvel. Together they created Captain America, the entire concept of romance comics, hits like Boy Commandos, Manhunter, and on and on. Comics today would be truly different had Joe Simon not been part of them. Later, in the 1960′s Joe sued for creative control of his work, leading an early charge for creators rights. He was as hardworking and smart as anyone in comics has ever been. Luckily he left behind not only his legacy, but a couple of books detailing his life, including the Comic Book Makers, and the more recent Joe Simon: My Life in Comics, which I read recently.
Since becoming deeply involved in comics, I’ve heard of the passing of many creators, but this is the first time in a while that I’ve been so emotionally struck. Having read about his life, and learned to appreciate his work, well beyond his part in creating Captain America, I can’t get rid of this lump in my throat and the tear in my eye. I’m OK with that though, because Joe Simon deserves that and more.
We’ve truly lost a legend today. Thank you, Joe.
Photo from Graphic Policy NYC.