Jim Simon is the creative mind behind the new comic series ShieldMaster Comics. Many of you may have heard of his father, Joe Simon, the famous co-creator of Captain America (with Jack Kirby). Together with Simon and Kirby went on to become one of the most recognized team-ups in comics.
Jim assembled a team of his own with known French comic creators Reed Man, Jean Depelley and Chris Compin.
ShieldMaster: The Phoenix Project is a graphic novel that starts the ShieldMaster storyline. ShieldMaster Comics features the continuing story of ShieldMaster and features extra comic stories.
ShieldMaster Comics #1 extras include new adventures of the Fly. The Fly, created by Joe Simon, has a long history in comics that goes back to being a member in the Mighty Crusaders. It’s great to see new Fly stories! A golden age Joe Simon created Blue Bolt reprint story rounds out ShieldMaster Comic#1
This interview is written by Joeseph Simon, no relation to Joe or Jim Simon.
What were comic books and the world of superheroes and villains to you growing up?
It was part of everyday life. I picked up on the creativity of the artists and writers as well as the production and the business side of comics.
Your creation, ShieldMaster, started its publishing roots in France. Your creative collaborators (Reed Man, Jean Depelley and Chris Compin) are from France. In many ways, comics are a bigger part of the culture in France than here in America.
Reed is a publisher and artist and an exceptional colorist. He’s worked with some of the top artists in France as well as U. S. – Marvel, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Tom Scioli…Jean is a translator & scriptwriter, he’s written comics and films…Chris is a young new artist on the French Comics scene. All of them talented!
I’m curious, with respect to your characters and storyline, what are your influences? Your father obviously, but I sense there are others.
What influences me most is the desire to just tell a good story. Well, yes, that was important to Joe. You know, I used to work in his studio, sometimes with other artists and I learned to devise stories and turn them into graphic storytelling. I also wrote prose novels and dabbled in screen treatments. The full ShieldMaster comic book story is going to be a long process but I am telling it in episodes right now.
ShieldMaster and his team are friends. They’re also teenagers. To survive the challenges ahead, being friends has value. To be able to know and depend on each other and function as a unit will be essential to the team. Being teens, who, based on their new super-powered reality, the team might find being thrown into adult situations difficult.
Talk about your heroes. Give us some insight into who they are and how they’re dealing with their powers and new found responsibility.
They’re just kids who come from the same town, go to the same school, are growing up together and becoming aware there is more going on in their town than meets the eye. They’ve also come upon powers and must discover what those powers are, how to deal with them, and figure out if what has happened to them is good or bad. Hey, growing up is wonderful but it can also be a damn difficult process, with or without sudden powers.
In ShieldMaster, you introduce us to the Shield dimension. This dimension isn’t like ours at all. Tell us more about it. Will you be exploring the Shield dimension in future issues?
Shield Dimension is an alternate world discovered by our military, a place where the future and the past exist—-or not. The shadow of the military is pivotal to the story since the town where the locals live is also the home of a mysterious abandoned military base. The locals sense that strange things have occurred there, right in their backyards almost. At the same time, the sleepy town is finding itself trying to figure out where it stands as a new class of rich people are buying up land, moving in with summer homes and new money mansions.
The co-features in ShieldMaster Comics #1 includes the Fly and Blue Bolt. Both initially created by Joe Simon. In the Fly, we are presented with a new story written by yourself, Reed Man and assists by Jean Depelley. Reed Man on art. We also are witness to the return of Fly bad guy, Spider Spry, and his minion Bruiser. Will the Fly continue as a co-feature? While the Fly is all new, Blue Blue Bolt is a reprint of one of your father’s stories. What are your plans for the future issues of ShieldMaster Comics?
ShieldMaster Comics is intended to debut new ShieldMaster stories and a vehicle to present properties in both new and classic formats.
Jim says you can expect to see the next issue of ShieldMaster this fall. ShieldMaster #2 will feature the continuing adventures of ShieldMaster and friends. Expect more Fly and Spider Spry original stories and Joe Simon reprints.
Jim’s collaborators on ShieldMaster are accomplished creators in France. Readers might be interested in some of these accomplishments. Below are short bio’s on Jean Depelley and Reed Man.
Jean Depelley is a French writer and historian, specializing in comics and movies. He has worked with artists Jean-Marie Arnon (Megasauria), Reed Man (Galaxy Green, Akim), Thierry Olivier (Le Garde republicain) and film director Fabrice Lambot (Dying God). He wrote, “Jack Kirby, le super-heros de la BD”, the most comprehensive biography of the King of Comics so far, frequently collaborates to The Jack Kirby Collector and co-directed the documentary film “Marvel 14: Superheroes Vs. Censorship”.
Reed Man is a former touch-up artist from the Lug Studio in Lyon (which published Marvel comics in France in the 80s’). He founded the label Organic Comix, publishing many magazines (including Strange, Etranges Aventures, Futura) and several albums. He inked artist Jean-Yves Mitton (Mikros), colored many artists (Cheret, Arnon, Molinari, Mitton…) and created the Fantask Force series. He is also a member of the Elixir performance band.
I also wrote a review of both ShieldMaster: The Phoenix Project and Shieldmaster Comics #1 here.
You can order both ShieldMaster: The Phoenix Project and ShieldMaster Comics directly from Jim at FutureRetroEntertainment@gmail.com
ShieldMaster: The Phoenix Project is available in print at Amazon.
ShieldMaster Comics is available digitally Indy Planet