American comic book creator (1913-2011). Born in Rochester, New York, he started his artistic career early, serving as the art director for Benjamin Franklin High School's yearbook and school newspaper and earning $10 when a couple of universities paid him form publication rights for his art deco style yearbook splash pages.

After graduating from high school, he worked for several different newspapers, including the Rochester Journal American, the Syracuse Herald, and the Syracuse Journal American. After moving to New York City, he retouched publicity photos for Paramount Pictures and drew magazine illustrations. He received his first comic book assignment sometime in 1939 when he was asked to create a seven-page Western for Funnies, Inc. and later created a character called the Fiery Mask after Timely Comics publisher Martin Goodman asked him to create a superhero like the Human Torch.

During this period, Simon first met Jack Kirby and began collaborating with the future King of Comics on several projects, including "Blue Bolt" and an unpublished work called "Daring Disk." Their best-known creation was, of course, Captain America, who was published for the first time in 1940. The comic was groundbreaking in its use of action and artistry, and for its cinematic techniques, and Simon and Kirby developed the first fan following in comics. They also produced the first complete Captain Marvel comic book, though they didn't create the Big Red Cheese himself. After moving to National Comics, they worked on the Golden Age Sandman and created the Boy Commandos, the Newsboy Legion, and Manhunter.

Later, Simon and Kirby branched out into other genres of stories, including romance (their "Young Romance Comics" is considered the very first romance comic), horror ("Black Magic" for Prize Comics), Westerns (their own company, Mainline Publications, was the home of Western hero Bullseye), crime, and humor. Their partnership broke up in 1955 as comics' popularity continued to slide. While Kirby stuck to comics, Simon moved into advertising and commercial art, though he'd still revisit comics from time to time. He worked on a humor magazine called "Sick" for over a decade, teamed up with Kirby briefly in 1959 to update the Shield for Archie Comics, and created a hero called the Fly.

Simon and Kirby updated their superhero parody, the Fighting American, for Harvey Comics in 1966, and Simon helped start Harvey's original line of superheroes in 1965, even helping launch influential comics-god Jim Steranko into the comics industry. Simon created the extremely whacked-out Brother Power, the Geek (a living department store mannequin who hangs out with hippies) for DC Comics in 1968, and Prez (about America's first teenaged president) in 1973. Simon and Kirby teamed up one last time in 1974 when they collaborated on the first issue of a new "Sandman" miniseries.

Late in life, Simon worked mainly as a painter and marketed reproductions of his early comic book covers from his website. He remained an advocate for comic books and for Captain America all his life. He died on December 14, 2011.

Joe Simon's official website
Lambiek's Comiclopedia

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