Joe Simon (1913 – 2011) is perhaps best known as the co-creator (along with Jack Kirby) of Captain America. He became the first Editor-in-Chief of the company that would eventually come to be known by fans around the world as Marvel Comics. He also created the character Fighting American as well as the title Boys Ranch, among many other characters for then publisher Timely. Simon went on to DC Comics where he created the Newsboy Legion, Sandman, the Boy Commandos, and Manhunter.
Simon’s career began in the newspaper field but in the mid-1930’s he came to New York and stumbled into a then new publishing venture; comic books. Amateurish at best, the industry was filled with lackluster talents- very different from today’s multi-million dollar phenomena that Simon helped build into what is now regarded by many as a true American art form.
As Marvel Comics recently noted in their best-selling hardcover book Fighting American, “Joe Simon and Jack Kirby are quite possibly the most successful collaborators in the history of comics…Their influence on the comics’ field is still powerfully felt today.” The New York Times lauded Simon and Kirby as “awesome creative forces.” Other Joe Simon distinctions include the development of a Spider-Man prototype, the Romance Comics genre, the original Fly, Stuntman, Black Magic, and The Shield. He also founded SICK Magazine and, as the director of Research and Development for Harvey Comics, he helped create Casper the Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich, Baby Huey, and other youth-oriented titles. But it is for Captain America that Simon remains most famous with comics’ fans. Indeed, the character is one of the few remaining relatively unaltered or revised Golden Age characters that enjoys his own title. Simon won the Inkpot award in 1998 and was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1999.
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