PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joe Simon, who along with Jack Kirby co-created Captain America and was one of the comic book industry's most revered writers, artists and editors, has died. He was 98.
Simon's family relayed word of his death Thursday, posting a short statement on Facebook and telling The Associated Press through a spokesman that the 98-year-old Simon died Wednesday night in New York City after a brief illness.
“Joe was one of a kind,” said Steve Saffel of Titan Books, a Simon friend who worked with him on his recent autobiography, “Joe Simon, My Life In Comics.”
Saffel said that Simon, born in Rochester, N.Y., in 1913, “lived life on his terms and created incredible things in the process. It was a privilege to know him and to call him my friend.”
Among his creations was a partnership with comic book artist and illustrator Jack Kirby. The duo worked hand-in-glove for years and from their fertile imaginations sprang a trove of characters, heroes, villains and misfits for several comic book companies in their Golden Age of the 1940s, including Timely, the forerunner of today's Marvel Comics; National Periodicals, the forerunner of DC; and Fawcett, among others.
The characters the two created included the Newsboy Legion, the Boy Commandos and scores more, including Blue Bolt.
“Blue Bolt was the first strip Jack and I worked on together, beginning in 1940. He was a science fiction swashbuckler I created for Curtis Publishing, the company that put out the Saturday Evening Post,” Simon told The Associated Press earlier this year. “They had decided to jump on the comic book bandwagon. Jack joined me with the second issue. Like Captain America, Blue Bolt got his powers from an injection, long before the baseball players were doing it.”
For Timely, the duo created Captain America, debuting on the cover of “Captain America Comics” No. 1 in December 1940 with the champion of liberty throwing a solid right-hook at Adolph Hitler, an entire year before the United States entered World War II.