Joe Simon – My Life In Comics

Joe Simon is quite simply put a comic legend having worked for Marvel and DC amongst countless others and alongside Jack Kirby they were responsible for Captain America. Now a sprightly 97 years old we get his biography entitled My Life in Comics which brings to life the golden age of comics.

The book itself is a very straightforward read as it simply moves along a time-lime that details his many moves from one comic group to another. The world it portrays is both dynamic and astoundingly cut-throat as different publications seem to be endlessly suing each other over the similarity of their characters.

The remarkable aspect of this biography is Simon’s memory which at 97 years old would challenge any elephant walking the earth right now. Simon seems to remember absolutely everything and everyone he ever collaborated with and worked for. I have no doubt at all that this overwhelming level of detail is something that would make any hard-core comic fan as happy as Larry.

Simon is also clearly generous when it comes to explaining all the help he had when he started in the industry and the team of inkers and co-workers who supported him throughout his career. His close relationship with Jack Kirby is expanded upon throughout the book as he makes it clear that his collaboration with Kirby gave birth to the legendary Captain America. As legal wrangling ensued between them and Marvel over the use of the character Simon remained busy. The book details his work for DC in the 60’s which include some amazing new characters such as Spyman and the even more astounding creation, The Geek. Having never heard of either prior to reading this book, it made me want to immediately scour eBay for both comic books.

Biographies in general tend to not be the most challenging reads and this is no different. But this book truly feels like the voice of the man himself and his assertion that he kept on working in comics no matter what on anything he could get is an inspiration in itself.

The Golden age of comics gave birth to a level of fantastical thinking that was to this day unparalleled to this day. Joe Simon insists that those responsible for this amazing time were even stranger that the characters they originated which is a frightening thought. The book also touches on the soon to be released motion picture of Captain America of which he approves and has actually been consulted upon.

This book leaves you in no doubt that Joe Simon is a colossus in his own field and at the grand old age of 97 is still working in the world he loves. I have no doubt that comic aficionados will find joy in this book as much as a lay-person such as myself. Essentially it gives a glimpse into the world if a person who followed their dream from childhood to almost being a hundred years old. The book also includes some superb images of Simon and friends and some nice and rare comic art-work. Anyone not inspired to actually get some work done after reading this book than you’ve simply missed the message entirely.

Aled Jones

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