Joe Simon (1913-2011)

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.



Comments

  1. purplehulk purplehulk says:

    He’ll be sorely missed. RIP Joe.

  2. MarkCWarner MarkCWarner (@MarkCWarner) says:

    A nod of respect and a moment of silence

  3. CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

    Thanks for everything, Joe.

  4. Very sad news, he really was one of the all-time greats.

  5. Lovedrop Lovedrop says:

    98 ain’t a bad age to go and presumably he still had all his marbles. RIP

  6. Dimebag71 Dimebag71 says:

    RIP Joe

  7. Jikorijo Jikorijo says:

    RIP. I hope his family and friends pull through his passing.

  8. mickmac59 mickmac59 says:

    Thanks for everything, Joe. R.I.P.

  9. RobotZombie RobotZombie says:

    Joe, thanks for helping create something that I have loved as long as I can remember. R.I.P.

  10. WarrenPeace WarrenPeace says:

    Rest in peace

  11. RaBoogie RaBoogie says:

    I’m happy that he got a good Cap movie in his lifetime. Rest in Peace, Joe Simon.

  12. Blargo Blargo says:

    Well, damn…

  13. Firevine Firevine says:

    Yikes. I was sad about Jerry Robinson and all, but this one really hurts. Minor blessings, but at least he lived to see a fantastic Captain America movie having been made. Libertarian as I am, I would not complain about tax dollars being spent on a military tribute being paid in Simon’s honor, and the work he did on Captain America.

    I really need to go away from this page now, because I am having trouble keeping it together.

  14. Metamorphic Metamorphic says:

    An honest-to-goodness pioneer in comics. Rest in Peace, Joe. And condolences to his family.

  15. So i would of loved to see a special Captain America issue co written by Joe Simon now sadly it will nvr happen.

    RIP JOE SIMON YOU WHERE GRANDFATHER OF COMIC WRITERS!!!

  16. Firevine Firevine says:

    I went ahead and wrote to President Obama. Here’s the copy if anyone wants to send it as well.

    Dear President Obama,

    It is with a heavy heart that I write to you. Last night, Joe Simon passed away. Knowing that you’re an unabashed fan of comics, which I think is great, and I share a common bond with you over, you should know the name. Joe Simon created Captain America. While nearly everyone in the country would recognize Captain America, not many people would recognize Joe Simon.

    The work of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby helped raise peoples spirits during the dire times of World War II. Guys like you and I are plenty familiar with the image of Captain America punching out Adolf Hitler. Simon inspired a nation of scrappy young men to enlist in the military, and work towards the greater good with the story of Steve Rogers, when they otherwise may not have. Who knows where we may be now without this beacon of patriotism.

    I would like to propose a military service in Joe Simon’s honor. While I am unsure if he was a veteran himself, I by all means feel he inspired a generation of them. While I completely honor and respect the sacrifices of our military veterans, there is an entire league of unsung heroes from the same era that were involved in the comic book industry.

    Thank you for your time, Mr. President.

  17. Sad to lose another Giant of this industry that we call our hobby. Joe’s work of course lives on, but I would have loved to speak with him just once. God speed Mr. Simon and thank you.

  18. JDC JDC says:

    I actually watched the Captain America movie today, and kept thinking about how bold it was for him and Jack Kirby to make such a statement with their character back then, before the US joined the war. Truly, a great man.

  19. edward says:

    thats horrible news

  20. Always sad when a legend passes. The work lives on…

  21. Flash923 Flash923 says:

    2011 has brought us great loses in the comic book world! As we all can see some of our legends are getting up in years and I for one am sad to say this looks truly like the changing of the guard in the comics industry. Yes, some of the new era writers, artists, etc are very good and one day will become legends them selves however; I do not think such men as Mr. Shuster, Mr. Kane, Mr. Seigel, Mr. Simon, and Mr. Kirby will ever be passed. They were the creators that gave us characters such as Captain America who still to the day are a main stay here in the comics world! God bless the Simon family for their lose! He will be missed!!

    K

  22. Cindrollic Cindrollic says:

    R.I.P

  23. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    I’m always stunned when this happens. And to lose Robinson and Simon in the same week is especially daunting. We are such a small community, creators and fans alike, that to watch our founding members pass away one by one is a sad mark of the times. Soon, the archetects of the Golden Age will all have passed into legend. The last sculptors of our fictional gods and goddesses will fade into memory. The world will be less special without them, but more special because of them.

    The work lives on.

  24. One of the truly legendary creators in comics. It’s a real loss for the comics world, but at least he left us a vast legacy of work to cherish in the future. The world is a little less special without Joe Simon in it.

  25. One of the real giants of comics. It is on the shoulders of guys like Joe Simon that modern comic books sit.

    I have been busy with work and it was my wife who told me this news, she heard it on the radio. Had to come on the site and see if it was true. Very sad to see that it is.

  26. Well this is depressing. Losing another one of the greats.

    RIP

  27. player1 player1 says:

    A sad day.

    He was a hero of mine.

    His legacy lives on.

  28. CaeuZokul CaeuZokul says:

    Good night, Joe.
    Thank you.