Thursday, we received word that Joe Simon the co-creator of Captain America and a number of other comics and creations has passed away. A historian of comics, Simon help us understand what comics were like in the early days and allowed us insight to a world where there was no such thing as creator rights.
He will be most remembered for his and long-time collaborator Jack Kirby’s creation of Captain America, which was released as a film this last summer. When released in 1940, a full year before we entered World War II the book proved to be a bit controversial as the US still had a strong pro-Nazi movement which sent the the two men death threats and even arrived at the office one day.
Simon was many things during his time in comics, he left to help during the war and put his career on hold as he joined the Coast Guard, became an Editor-in-chief at many different companies, and continued to create comics, many of which were the ones that help to bridge the gap of superhero books from the 1940′s till their return in the mid-1950′s. Along with Kirby the two also created The Fighting American, what many consider one of the first creator owned books in comics, and Young Love, the first romance comic.
With the passing of Simon as well as Jerry Robinson recently we’ve lost another connection to the actual formation of the comic industry. Not only did he set the bar high for what superhero books should be, but also gave birth to much of the visual language of comics and help to create the practices that are still around today.
In 2007 during The Death of Captain America event Simon was quoted as saying “This is a time when we need Captain America more than ever,” well today I feel that we need more creators like Simon in the comic industry more than ever. Thank you very much for years of entertainment, your role in preserving the legacy of comics, and the service that you gave this country not only in creating Captain America, but helping to defend it as well. You will be missed.
Kyle Steele is an aspiring comic writer/artist who has been a Captain America fan for years. You can follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/kylesteele43