Michael Dunne “Joe Simon is truly one of the architects of the American art form we know as comics. He stands astride Eisner, Grimes, Wheeler-Nicholson, Jacquet and of course his partner and co-creator Jack Kirby as a founding father.
If Joe had only created Captain American Joe would be lionized in the manner that Bob Kane, Charles Moulton/William Marston and Siegel and Schuster are. No disrespect intended to Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, Bill Everett, Carl Burgos and Gardner Fox, but Cap, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman are the icons of this Industry.
Others will mention Joe’s creation of such DC characters as Manhunter, Sandman, the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion along with the Boy Commandos. His efforts establishing other genres such as crime, love and horror comics along with his and Jack’s efforts of self publishing with Mainline Comics and of course fifties efforts like Fighting Amercian, The Fly and Private Strong. Not to mention his work with Jack after their partnership dissolved such as creating real competition for Mad magazine with the long running Cracked satire magazine.
But for me it comes back to Captain America. I love this character and did not even realize Joe’s key role in the co-creation of the star spangled sentinel of liberty who has captured my imagination for over 50 years when Marvel revitalized the character through the efforts of Jack and Stan. It was first through those Fantasy Masterpieces reprints that I began to realize that alongside Jack was Joe. I’m sure others will dissect whose idea it was, whose design it was, whose pencils and inks were responsible for those ten issues before the flight from Goodman to DC. What I know is in tandem Joe and Jack they created a hero to cherish, a character to emulate, a standard of heroism that has endured for 70 years.
I am so happy that unlike Jack, Joe saw not only further cultural acceptance of Cap and ultimately a film that played proper tribute to his co-creation. Joe saw the movie and knew that the film was acclaimed though box office receipts not only in America, but worldwide despite the movie studio’s concerns that a character named Captain America might not play overseas.
I am happy that Joe’s legal efforts prevailed to ensure that every time someone opens a Captain America book they’ll also read this legend; created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
That is a very impressive legacy! Thanks Joe, you made my childhood richer.”
Clifford Meth “Yes, Joe created one of comics’ most recognizable, beloved and important icons–and his body of work was equally impressive–but I think it was the character and humor of the man that will truly be missed. Joe was a gentleman and a solid creative citizen–an adored fixture in comics’ larger family. He was certainly as iconic as Captain America.”
Paul Kupperberg “In early 1974, I was just shy of my eighteenth birthday and, along with Paul Levitz and some other friends in Brooklyn, coming to the end of a couple of years of fanzine publishing. Production of the 100-page, square-bound program book for Phil Seuling’s 1974 New York Comic Art Convention was probably one of the last projects we did as TCR Publications. In the early-70s, Phil’s annual July 4th weekend comic con was the country’s biggest and best, and the digest-sized program book was chock full of articles and features as well as advertising. It also featured, a full-color cover: Esteban Maroto’s Vampirella in 1972; a parody of the previous year’s cover featuring Russell Myer’s Broomhilda in 1973; and, for 1974, Joe Simon’s original character drawing of Captain American!
Back then, you didn’t just drop something on a scanner bed and email the resulting .jpeg to the editor. A piece of art had to be sent out to be professionally photograph and separated by a photo-processing house in preparation for printing. In order for us to run the Cap drawing, we had to take physical possession of the art. That’s how, one evening in the Spring of ’74, I found myself in the TCR office with Paul, Phil…and the amazing hand water-colored very first image ever created of Captain American in my hands. In my hands! As far as I was concerned, it was the comic book history equivalent of Jefferson’s manuscript for the Declaration of Independence, a piece of work by one of our founding fathers. And I had touched it. “Martin,” the hand scrawled note to Marvel publisher Martin Goodman at the bottom read, “Here’s the character – I think he should have a kid buddy or he’ll be talking to himself all the time – I’m working up script – Send schedule – Regards- Joe.”
Almost twenty years later, I had gone into the funnybook business myself and was then an editor at DC Comics. They had just licensed a later Joe Simon/Jack Kirby creation, their Cold War superhero parody, the Fighting American. I was handed the book to edit with orders to “make it contemporary.” I put together a team and we produced a six-issue well-intended-but-pale-imitation-of-the-original miniseries, which I dutifully sent along to the licensee. A few days later, I received a note in the mail dated “6-5-92” and printed in the same hand that had written the note to Martin Goodman at the bottom of the Cap drawing:
“Dear Paul – Many thanks for the comics. They are very impressive looking – If you want my input into Fighting American – The poster should show all those wild villains – a catch phrase may be ‘Fightin’ A’ — after the military ‘F***in’ A’ — if you will forgive my French. Thanks again and Best Wishes, Joe.”
Thank you, Joe. For everything.”
Jim Amash “Joe Simon was a comics titan, the likes of which we’ll not experience again. Others will have much to say about his career achievements, so I’ll focus on the fact that we were friends for twenty years, and in the that entire time, Joe was nothing less than wonderful to me. He treated me as an equal, he treated me as family. I’ll miss those phone calls – the cigar and comics discussions, political talk, the “How’s the family?” conversations – well… I’ll just miss him.”
Lou Mougin “What can you say? The older generation is uncoupling and Joe Simon was one of the true pioneers, with a lot of characters he created (or co-created) and a lot of stories that wouldn’t have gotten told without him. Farewell, Joe. And thanks.”
Dærick Gröss, Sr. “Joe Simon was more than a creator of iconic characters; more than a prolific and talented writer… he was a pioneer. His talent and inspiration came at the beginning of an industry, which in turn, became a full-on segment of society, and, because of his visions, those of us that have followed have fabulous and solid blueprints from which we can grow our own fantastic worlds where ordinary people step into the role of heros. Thank you, Joe!”
Dick Ayers “Rik, that was SAD news you e-mailed this morning. I enjoyed the stories I worked on for Joe and often wished for more as I enjoyed his type of humor very much and I liked Joe very much too. I have a photo of he and
I together pinned up on the wall of my studio and he autographed it with “For Dick with love” — Joe will be missed —- I will miss Joe Simon very much. I enjoyed the stories I worked on for Joe Simon’s SICK magazine!!! I will have a lot of happy memories of Joe Simon!!!”
Vince Hernandez, EIC Aspen Comics “Joe Simon is a legend in the comic book industry, and his mark is left on not only the Golden and Silver ages of comics, but also in inspiring today’s comics and the current crop of creators. It’s always a loss to the industry as a whole to lose such an important icon, but thankfully his career and legend will live on far beyond all of our time. May he rest in peace.”
Chris Squire “The Master of the 4-color Medium & creator of my all-time favorite comic ADVENTURES OF THE FLY.”
Dan DiDio, Co-Publisher, DC Entertainment “Joe Simon was a true legend in the comic book industry. So much of what we are today is owed to him and his amazing creativity. In addition to one of the great writers of the Golden Age, he was also an editor at DC Comics. We appreciate all of his contributions to DC Comics and the industry as a whole, both on the page and behind the scenes.”
Jim Lee, Co-Publisher, DC Entertainment “We lost another of the Titans this week. A creative virtuoso, Joe Simon will be best known for co-creating Captain America with legendary artist Jack Kirby but his many contributions to DC Comics, both as a writer and an editor, are legion and will continue to be cherished by longtime fans, this one included. Our sympathies go out to his family, friends and many, many fans.”
David Macho “Joe Simon was one of the fathers of this industry. His contributions should be regarded as no less than the bible a lo of others creators followed. Rest in peace, master.”
Mike Deodato “JOE SIMON, along with Will Eisner, was a pioneer in the comics field as both a creative guy and a business guy; he successfully bridged both worlds, being a creator, writer, artist, inker, book packager, editor, even publisher at various points in his long career. Not only was he the guy who hired Stan Lee at Timely, but he co-created — with Jack Kirby — Captain America, The Newsboy Legion, and more –plus entire comics genres, such as the romance comic book. With any one of those things, he secured a place in comics history. With all of those things, he WAS comics history.”
Tom DeFalco “Aside from being one of the founding fathers of our precious craft, Joe Simon was a gentleman who always seemed to have a smile for everyone.”
Rafael Nieves “Joe Simon was, for me, the epitome of creative energy, From Captain America to Sandman to–my personal favorite–Manhunter, Simon, along with his frequent collaborater Jack “King” Kirby, helped create some of the most innovative characters in comicdom.
It is his singular vision that helped me to lose myself in the world of heroic fiction, and to this day, I owe much of what I’ve achieved in the industry to the groundwork he laid.
Joe Simon will be missed. But he will be remembered, as his characters live on through the ages.”
Mark Bagley “I met Mr. Simon exactly once. I was at Heroes Con (I think), and had some pages stacked in front of me. The top page happened to be a nice WW 2 shot of Cap and Bucky on a motorcycle. Joe picked the page up, looked at it for a (to me, VERY long) few seconds, and said that I did a great Captain America….Seriously one of the biggest thrills of my career.”
Martin Powell “Joe Simon was a astonishing writer. He evoked a sense of the every-man into worlds of adventure and humor gone wild. Joe was one of the great pioneers who showed us what was possible on the comic book page, and brought it to life. Every single one of us in the industry is in his debt.”
Holly Golightly “: ( He had a long and life and will live forever as a Superhero”
“We are sad to hear of the loss of one of the Golden Age greats” said Ed Catto of Captain Action Enterprises. “We will be honoring Joe and Jack’s Captain America legacy by also releasing a Golden Age Captain America costume variant for Captain Action next year,” said Joe Ahearn of Captain Action Enterprises.
Michael Vance “While it is true that Jack Kirby’s fame overshadowed his partner’s notoriety, it did nothing to tarnish Joe Simon’s talent or diminish its impact on the medium.”
Michael Uslan “Joe Simon was one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. The press will talk about Captain America. But he, with Jack, created romance comics, elevated western comics with Bullseye and Boy’s Ranch, propelled the kids group concept in comics with Young Allies, Boy Commandos, and Newsboy Legion, impacted crime comics as a genre, gave kids a bit too young for EC horror comics they could process like …Black Magic. And amid Sandman, Manhunter, The Vision, The Fly, The Shield, The 3 Rocketeers, and Challengers of the Unknown, gave us the quirkiest, oddest, concepts of all: SICK; The Strange World of Your Dreams; Miracles Inc; Clawfang the Barbarian; Stuntman; Vagabond; Prez; and The Geek. Best of all, he was a wonderful man of wit and charm, whose life was based on honor and integrity. Farewell my friend!”
Michael San Giacomo, Cleveland Plain Dealer, author of TALES OF THE STARLIGHT DRIVE-IN and PHANTOM JACK “Joe Simon was the consummate professional, always a joy to interview and just listen to. He cast a huge shadow.”
Rik Offenberger, “As a fan I contacted Joe to see about licensing the Fly and Lancelot Strong for a fanzine project. Although the project never materialized, Joe was very kind and over the years both Joe and Jim would exchange holiday greetings with me and my family as well a few emails, he was a supporter of my fan website and very nice to me. Years later I got to meet both Joe and Jim at the NYCC and I was delighted that Joe remembered me and was just as nice in person. Joe was a legend in the comics industry and we will be missed by me and millions of his fans world wide.”