Joe Simon is a comics legend, for his role in creating the iconic superhero Captain America alone. But in recent years, many of us have gained a new appreciation for all his other great work with seminal artist Jack Kirby. He also co-created the 1940s version of the Sandman, plus some other great Golden Age superheroes like The Fly, the Fighting American, the Stuntman, and many others. Titan Books has done some great massive hardcover collections of Simon's writing and Kirby's art, and we featured a selection from one of them a while back.
In the introduction to the book Simon & Kirby Superheroes, Neil Gaiman talks about how Simon's work on the Sandman inspired him:
Joe Simon (who created Captain America and so much else) is a remarkable writer. In the 1940s, he wrote comics that were always powerful, always filled with energy and madness, stories that simply never stopped moving. They were packed with larger-than-life characters, with strange, caricature-villains. They were pure story, overflowing with his own energy, which was unlike anyone else's. And very often, even if lopsidedly, they were funny. ..
[Sandman] changed my life, and I owe it to Joe Simon. And I think what attracted me to Simon's stories was how unlike anyone else's they were, full of life. He created strange villains, part cartoon, part caricature, part embodiment of whatever he wished to talk about. While the trends in comics were towards realism in writing, Joe Simon marched in the opposite direction, creating his own reality.
Joe Simon died today, aged 98. [Associated Press]