In 2007, I had the honor and pleasure of conducting an interview with Mr. Simon that I recapped in pretty thorough detail here. It's high up there as one of the most special memories for me of my time in comics over the past seven years getting to have a frank and pleasant conversation with a man who brought one of our most enduring icons to life and helped build this medium. I spoke in my previous post about the way Joe came up with Cap and how I got to be the one to tell him that his old protege Stan Lee eventually killed off Bucky, two stories that still make me smile. I also mentioned the nice note Joe sent me upon my getting hired by Marvel, something I will forever treasure.
Even though I probably only spoke to Joe for 15 minutes, it was more than enough time for him to make a very positive impression on me. Firstly, here was a guy who was already in his mid-90's at the time, but still sharp as a tack, responding to every question I asked him, be it about events that took place nearly seven decades earlier or stuff he was hearing about for the first time, with wit and eloquence. More than that, I thought to myself as the interview went on that this was the kind of ambassador the comics industry needed; a kind, polite gentleman whose words still crackled with the youthful enthusiasm of the guy who came up with the idea for Captain America on a New York City bus because he needed somebody to punch Hitler in the face. Even 70 years later, with a vast expanse of history between, Joe was still excited to talk about Cap and about comics; he maintained his joy for what he had done and the contributions he had made.
Comics lost a pioneer this week, but we also lost a representative of the creativity that should be inspiring us all in its purest form. Hopefully while Joe has passed, his example will not be lost on those who had the privilege to know or speak with him, and he will endure forever through his creations.
Rest in peace, Joe, I will certainly never forget you.
My condolences to Joe Simon's friends and family