Tag Archives: Joe Simon

Joe Simon (1913-2011) and Ed Barreto (1954-2011).

Jerry Robinson last week, and now two more.  Wow, that smarts.

Joe Simon wearing his personal version of the American flag.

Kirby was King of comics.  Stan was the Man, and Joe Simon was comics’ beloved Uncle.

Of course, he was Marvel Comics’ first editor back in the Golden Age, back when Stan Lee was literally sweeping up and going out for bagels.  And yes, along with his partner Jack Kirby, Joe gave the world some very popular characters:  Captain America, The Boy Commandos, the Sandman…

and, you know...comics for GIRLS.

But it’s Joe’s later career that made me love him.   First off, there was this:

The Sixties and Seventies had a lot of great satire magazines on the stands.  Mad, Cracked, Trump, Humbug, Car-toons, Crazy, Not Brand Ecch!, National Lampoon…and Joe Simon’s SICK.

Sick was hard to find, but a treasure when I could snag one.  It was a typical black and white satire mag of the time, the format was identical amongst all of the different titles…but what I loved most about SICK magazine, was that it knew darn well it was an imitator of Mad Magazine, and had joyous fun with the shamelessness of it all.  Their slogan was “We’re Number Two because we don’t try so hard” and they had a mascot that was Alfred E. Neuman’s twin brother in shabbier clothes.   Damn, I loved the balls of that.

Not Alfred E. Neuman up there, and we all didn't give a damn and that's why it was funny.

And SICK gets extra points for occasionally running articles by Lenny Bruce.  How often did Mad Magazine do THAT?

But let’s talk about Simon’s masterpiece (and, no I’m not kidding).

With a cabinet made up of Hippies and “Injuns” and Black Chicks and Teen-Agers and whatever other liberal nightmare Joe Simon could dream up, PREZ was Simon’s Seventies satire genius.  It was his Little Annie Fannie, only without tits, and that meant I could read it when I was twelve years old, and that’s the age I was when it came out.

Amputee-vampires in the White House? Don't you DARE question it!

There are people who don’t get this comic book, who don’t see the raw-staring-into-the-sun glory of this utterly unfettered series, and I pity them.  Joe Simon and artist Jerry Grandenetti created in Prez, a comic where ANYTHING could happen, where suspension of disbelief was an Olympic sport.  That’s my bread and butter when I want to be entertained.  The phrase “well worn cliche” did not apply to the work of Joe Simon and bless him for that.

Jesus Christ, is there a MONKEY in there? And is the monkey going to play CHESS?!?

Add to this, The GREEN TEAM, BROTHER POWER the GEEK, The OUTSIDERS, the FIGHTING AMERICAN, The STUNTMAN, The NEWSBOY LEGION, MANHUNTER, The FLY, the Boy’s Ranch, Foxhole, Justice, and a pretty strange version of CAPTAIN MARVEL, and it adds up to a body of work to drop your jaw.

I never got to meet Joe Simon, but his daughter once emailed me that Joe had read and enjoyed an article I’d written about him.  It made me beam for a week to know he’d read it.

You literally did it all, Joe.  Built the world of comics and shaped a corner of my sky.

Thank you.

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Eduardo Barreto:  The artist’s artist.

Ignore that it says "Gordon Purcell" above his head, that's Eduardo.

Eduardo Barreto was one of those guys that made other comic artists make noises when we saw his work.  It was like eating chocolate, or getting a foot rub seeing his art.  Barreto’s work was so pretty, I actually made noises.  To fandom at large, he was probably best known for his DC work on Wonder Woman, Justice League, the Teen Titans and Superman.

All of it great stuff...

But I’ll always remember Eduardo for his astoundingly beautiful 30s period work on such projects as UNION STATION and THE SHADOW STRIKES.  These stories, all taking place in a depression era alleyway populated by thugs, rats and bullets, were brought to life by Barretto’s hand with what seemed like effortless grace.

A big part of my life-long fandom of the Shadow is because of Barreto’s mind-boggling work on this book.   The attention to detail, the sense of costume, décor, body language, character, lighting, mood, brushwork.  It was magnificent to look at AND great comics to read.

The Shadow done PERFECTLY. Month after month for a few years. It was glorious.

And if you haven’t read this overlooked Ed Barreto gem:  track it down.  I promise you’ll love it.

Fifty-seven years old is way too young to lose him.  He was still creating beautiful work up until Meningitis got to him last year.

My thoughts go out to the families of BOTH of these marvelous men who gave me so much pleasure over the years.  Your contributions to the world will be long celebrated.

You did good.

Ty the Guy OUT!

For your BONUS Joe Simon Moment:  GO HERE.

Captain America in Four Panels. YAY!

When Bun Toon Rabbit throws his mighty shield….

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’re aware that Marvel Films has done it again with the new Captain America movie.  And once again, Bun Toons is here to help out those who might only know Captain America through Saturday morning cartoons,  urban legends, rock and roll records or video games.   Not only is Cap my favorite Marvel character, he’s also a man with a rich history worth knowing.  Here it is, all summed up in as concise a manner as I can manage…

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Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS CAPTAIN AMERICA MOMENTS:

I told you there were Captain America rock and roll records.

And lest you believe that this is Cap’s first foray into the movies, it’s actually his FIFTH time on the big screen.  Steven Colbert has been making fun of versions #2 and #3 for quite a while now

Bleuurgh.

and I’m not going to mention the 4th Captain America movie from the early 90s with Matt Salinger, but I do have a treat for you guys who might not be aware of the FIRST Cap film serial from the 40s…

No shield, no Bucky, nothing but the strong left cross of an American hero.

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For last week’s bun toon, poke Prometheus in the kisser.

For every bun toon EVER, click the singing bread roll.

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.