The comic book industry has lost another of its most revered writers, artists and editors. Joe Simon, the co-creator of "Captain America", passed away at the age of 98 at his home in New York City on Wednesday, December 14. A family spokesman said on Thursday that he died of natural causes after a short illness.
Steve Saffel of Titan Books, who worked with Simon on his recent autobiography, "Joe Simon, My Life In Comics," called the comic book writer "one of a kind." He further remembered the man who was born in Rochester, New York, 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."
Marvel Comics' editor-in-chief Axel Alonso said in his statement, "Among many accomplishments in the comic book field, Joe Simon co-created one of the most enduring superhero icons - indeed, American icons - of the 20th Century. If there ever were a superhero who needed less explanation than the red, white and blue-clad Captain America, I've yet to see him."
Also paying tribute to Simon was Dan DiDio. The co-publisher of DC Entertainment said in a statement, "Joe Simon was a true legend in the comic book industry. So much of what we are today is owed to him and his amazing creativity. In addition to one of the great writers of the Golden Age, he was also an editor at DC Comics. We appreciate all of his contributions to DC Comics and the industry as a whole, both on the page and behind the scenes."
Simon created "Captain America" along with the late Jack Kirby for Timely Comics, the predecessor of Marvel Comics. The first issue of their comic was released in late 1940, a few months before the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and America's entry into World War II, and was sold for nearly one million copies.
Simon's Captain America character recently got a big screen treatment in "Captain America: The First Avenger". Starred by Chris Evans, the superhero battles Adolf Hitler's ruthless head of weaponry, the Red Skull, to stop him from using a device called a tesseract to claim world domination.
Simon's passing came a week after the death of cartoonist Jerry Robinson, who worked on the earliest "Batman" comics and was credited for creating super-villain The Joker. He is survived by two sons, three daughters and eight grandchildren.