I was truly saddened to hear of the passing of comic book legend Joe Simon yesterday! Despite the fact that he was 98 years old, I always thought he’s live forever. In the 1940’s Joe, along with his partner Jack Kirby created the Newsboy Legion, the Boy Commandoes, Fighting American and the most important character in my life… Captain America!
When I met Mr. Simon about 8 years ago at a New York comic show, I was real nervous. At first my condition was due to the fact that he worked and was friends with ‘King Kirby’, then I became nervous because I was in the presence of true greatness. After all he was Captain America’s father. Sadly, not a lot in attendance were as awe struck as I was.
I remember telling him how much Captain America meant to me and how my life would have been so much different if I never discovered him. What was so cool was that in the whole time I was babbling, he smiled and seemed so humbled by my words. We spoke a little bit about working with Jack, the current state of comics and his now legendary status which he completely underplayed.
At that particular show there were a few ‘flavor of the month’ creators who were getting more attention than Mr. Simon was. At the time I thought ‘cool, more time for me’, now I think how sad. First, it’s sad that a whole generation of fans will never get the pleasure of spending time with an incredible person. Second is that another legend is gone. Like I said before, I thought he’d be with us forever.
So when did he buy me lunch? At a show a year or two later, Secret Identity was just a few months old and I couldn’t wait to interview him for the show. Sadly when I got to him he told me he wasn’t feeling good and couldn’t do an interview. So as I began to walk away from him (with a look of sadness and disappointment) he stopped me and handed me a copy of ‘Captain America – The Classic Years’ because he felt he disappointed me. I told him I couldn’t just take it and gave him $20.00 for it. As he signed it ‘For Matt’, he took the cash and put it in the book without me knowing it. After I discovered it I went to give it back to him, but he already left the show due to illness. So I took the cash and bought lunch. Ergo, Joe Simon bought me lunch.
Thank you Joe Simon, for everything…