Happy Birthday Joe Simon!

MARVEL COMICS first ever editor-in-chief is 97 years old today, and looking damn fine.

The man c0-created Captain America, the Sandman, Newsboy Legion and a host of other characters, and managed to do it in an era when a black soul singer could not have had an easy time of it in the New York publishing industry.

Oh wait, that might be the wrong Joe Simon.  Wait a second…

That’s better.  Joe Simon, co-creator of Captain America and a host of other titles.

He’s known primarily for his work with Jack Kirby, Timely, and DC, in the Golden Age of comics, introducing the world to the BOY’S RANCH, THE BOY COMMANDOS, FIGHTING AMERICAN, THE FLY, SANDMAN AND SANDY, and romance and horror comics in general.  Simon, along with Kirby, were the original “IMAGE” comics, as they formed their own creator-based company, called MAINLINE COMICS, in the fifties, long before disgruntled Marvel employees of the nineties were a gleam in their disgruntled parents’ eyes!

So much of this was before my time, I only know about it through reprints and history books. …HOWEVER, I am old enough to recall the Joe Simon comics of the late 60s and early 70s, and they were so F***ING WEIRD that they remain amongst my favorite comics of all time.

Who but Joe Simon would have given us BROTHER POWER:  THE GEEK?

 

No biting the heads off of chickens in here...it's actually far weirder.

 

Crazy bikers, hippies galore and midgets in turbans is the standard for this title, only two issues of which were ever published.  In the late sixties, if you wanted a writer to talk to the new generations of peace and love, turn to a man in his fifties and let ‘im loose.  This wasn’t Joe’s only foray into talking to the young…just a few years later, Joe Simon would create the BEST comic DC would ever publish about teenage politics.

 

See what happens when you let 18 year olds vote?

 

The loons in the car with Prez are his cabinet, I kid you not.  The Native American fellow was Secretary of State, and he never wore a shirt, even to peace talks with Israel.  Go daddy, go!   When I was 14, this comic spoke to me, but mostly it told me to go kill the neighbor’s dog.

 

Because money solves everything.

 

Another of the Joe Simon lunatic-masterpieces of the 70s.   It’s Richie Rich meets the Newsboy Legion, and it lasted three issues, only ONE of which was actually published.  My favorite part of this comic was the subtle racism that the white kids either inherited or earned their millions…but the black kid got his money through a glitch in the bank that accidentally credited a shoe-shine boy’s account with a million dollars, because, you know…well…he was black.

My all time favorite of the wacky 70s Joe Simon creations was his last pairing with his original partner Jack Kirby for another run at the character name “SANDMAN”.

It was a precursor to the Vertigo series.  The main character lived in the “Dream Dome” and was able to enter the dreams of living people, and fight their nightmares.  And it was drawn by Kirby and inked by WALLY WOOD!  Talk about a Dream Team!  Unfortunately for DC and the rest of us, Simon, Kirby and Wood weren’t available for an issue #2, and they handed it off to lesser teams until the book was canceled 5 issues later. (Kirby did a couple more art jobs, but without Simon and Wood…meh).

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOE SIMON!  Marvel Comics, and the industry in general, would be nothing like it is today without you.  Thanks for helping Kirby find his style, and this youthful comic fan his joy in Oddball Comics.  You continue to be the legend you are.  Many more to come.

TY THE GUY OUT!

Here now, your comic book moment of zen.

9 responses to “Happy Birthday Joe Simon!

  1. Joe Simon truly is one of the legends in the comic book world. Great summary piece here about just a few of the things he did through his career in the days before comic books were as widely known and popular as they are now.

    Cheers!

    Steven G. Willis
    XOWComics.com

  2. Pingback: Stan Lee Interview – talks about Captain America The Incredible Hulk and Thor 1990′s | The Mighty Thor

  3. George Le Claire

    is there an address to write to Joe Simon?

    • I’m sure there is…but I’m afraid I don’t know it. A gentle inquiry to Marvel might get it for you (as Simon was the “original” Stan Lee, both as editor and Kirby collaborator), or a quick search online. Don’t have it myself, though. If you ever DO get in touch with Joltin’ Joe Simon, let him know from me that he’s one of my heroes.

  4. Hi Ty. Joe Simon’s daughter here. I just found your article and loved it. I am sending it to Dad, who is working on his 2nd autobiography. I remember modeling for him for his Something Else magazine during the 70′s. My husband first saw my photo in that magazine before we even knew the other existed! Thanks for the memories.

    • Please send your father my heartfelt adoration. I wasn’t kidding when I said how much I loved the quirky Joe Simon comics of my youth, (Prez, especially) and how they stick to my brain ribs, even to this day. And it’s probably no co-incidence that Captain America is my favorite Marvel character.
      Ty the Guy

  5. I already sent him this article, Ty, plus I sent it out to the family. It was a pleasure to read it and share it. MelissaJane

    • Thanks. Any moment of pleasure I can send Joe Simon or his family is a long overdue debt I owe your dad. He is gigantically HUGE in my childhood, and it means a lot to me be able to pay off a minute part of my karmic balance.

  6. DC is publishing new stories based on these characters without giving Jo Simon credit. What is with that, DC.?..

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