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Joe Simon and Captain America

Lawrence Bush
October 10, 2017

Comic book writer and artist Joe (Hymie) Simon, who co-created Captain America with Jack Kirby and served as the first editor of Timely Comics, which would later transform into Marvel, was born in Rochester, New York on this date in 1913. Simon worked with Kirby for more than two decades before turning to advertising and commercial art, with occasional returns to the comic book field. They pioneered both horror and romance comics, and among the other characters they launched together were Sandman, Boy Commandos, and Manhunter. In 1960, Simon founded Sick, a competitor to MAD magazine that endured for two decades. He died at 98 in 2011, the year in which his memoir, My Life in Comics, was published.

“[W]e never thought that anyone would ever appreciate this stuff. You know, we were doing them for little kids. The kids thought we were great. We were their idols, but we never thought anyone else would.” —Joe Simon

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.