Monday, August 22, 2011

Biography: Joe Simon: My Life in Comics by Joe Simon

While biographies of the real superheroes in the world of comics are, sadly, few and far between, it’s difficult to imagine one much better than Joe Simon: My Life in Comics (Titan).

Simon is, of course, best known as the co-creator of that most enduring of superheroes, Captain America. And though that collaboration is nothing to sneeze at, there is so much more to Simon’s life and career than that. Another important collaboration was Marvel Comics, where Simon was the first editor and one of the very important things Simon did while at Marvel was give legend-to-be Stan Lee his first job.

Simon’s voice here is much as you’d expect: forthright, enthusiastic and with a feeling of candor. It’s fun to read about the early years: Simon’s connections with the writer Damon Runyon, boxer Jack Dempsey and other members of the comic and entertainment elite.

Unsurprisingly, Simon’s autobiography is also partly a biography of the industry he helped create: its triumphs, losses and near losses and what, more than 60 years later, he sees now. I doubt that the timing here is a lucky accident: the Joe Johnston-directed Captain America movie with Chris Evans in the title roll opened last month. The movie I’d like to see, though? It’s this one. Simon’s story is fascinating and his journey has been important to the industry. Comic lovers will find Joe Simon: My Life in Comics to be an enjoyable and satisfying read.



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