Joe Simon?...Comic book legend , Author , illustrator and creator of many characters and CO-CREATOR ( Who along with partner JACK KIRBY ) created the GREATEST super hero of all CAPTAIN AMERICA? That Joe Simon? NO I did not know him. I never met him. But his passing leaves an open space in my heart and soul. The same open space that I had when Jack Kirby passed away and the same as when John Buscema passed away. I met both Kirby and Buscema when I was a student at the JOE KUBERT school many years ago. Both Kirby and Buscema looked at my work at a convention and had nothing but positive things to say. I had seen them look at the portfolio’s of others and I got a completely different reaction from those others…I heard “ You do some good work , keep it up you’re on your way “ from Kirby and “ Your anatomy is a bit quirky but then again whose isn’t these days , there’s no reason why you should not be working right now keep plugging away , you’ll get there!” From Buscema. ( He was known for his brusque tone and no nonsense honesty )
So I was happy. ( But this is a story for another time )
But…I’m talking about Joe Simon today. I went to a convention once to go see Joe and to get my set of Captain America hard covers signed ( The ones produced by Greg Theakston : Remember they had a phallic symbol drawn onto one of the printed pages that got produced with the entire run and ruined Greg’s rep with Marvel for life ? ) But Joe was not there that day. You see…being a man in his 80’s at the time he was not feeling well and did not attend days 2 and 3 of the con. So I missed him ( Bummer ) I understood and can’t say I blame him he WAS in his 80’s for Pete’s sake. I missed my window to shake hands with a man who helped to create and invent my favorite super hero of all time. Sure there may have been other times where I had a chance but…the day I chose was the only convenient time for me.
I have never been a working professional in the comic book industry but I did study cartoon art and comic books and have collected comic books pretty much my entire life. I read books and bio’s about the business of comic books and art books ( I highly recommend the COMIC BOOK MAKERS by Joe Simon – with Jim Simon. ) I am not in the know and industry pro’s do not know me…but I am learned on the subject of the history of comics and the business of the industry…particularly how to produce the art for comic books and so on.
So yes…Joe Simon dying had an effect on me. Knowing who he was and what he was all about was part of what I would consider a subject I made my business to know. Although I am irrelevant…the knowledge I sought was not. If there was something to know…I read about it and if there was something new to know I wanted to know it. All I can say is… my feelings on the subject of this legend passing away at the respectable old age of 98 years are justified. I have a right to be affected. Not so much in the same way as his own family…being I did not know him or ever even meet him . But His passing marks an important point in the history of Comic books. For he co-created the greatest ( Yes Greater than Superman to me anyway ) super hero in history! I just want to clarify that feeling down about his death is not a bandwagon affectation. I genuinely was moved at hearing the news of his passing. There is no filling in the spaces in my heart but there is a solace…Joe’s work will live on. Captain America will live on.
“ The Simon and Kirby SUPER HEROES “ is a book that has just seen print and it’s chock full of classic stories about Super Heroes Joe and Jack created and it will live on and serve as part of his legacy. I’ll be buying me one and I suggest you all do the same. My imagination has been fueled by the exploits and feats of HEROISM of the HEROES created in part by Joe Simon…most of those images in my head are of Captain America saving the day. I have Joe to thank for that. He may not have known me…but I am glad he was here to liven up and enrich all our lives with his talent. God bless you Joe Simon. Good night Sir.