Friday, December 16, 2011

Remembering Joe Simon

This past Thursday, Joe Simon, co-creator of Captain America, passed away at age 98.
 Timely's Captain America Comics #1 from March 1941
Now, there are many, many more comic bloggers and journalists who can give a better explanation of Simon’s importance to the industry. But while reflecting upon Captain America this morning, I couldn’t help think about how novel it was to personify national values and turn them into a super-hero. National personification as a concept goes back years: John Bull, Uncle Sam, Marianne are probably the most famous examples of this. But the idea of taking a national character and turning him/her into an action star: that was novel and different. 

Canada's Vindicator (Alpha Flight) and Captain America (Avengers) meet up in Marvel's Alpha Flight #39, October 1985
And what a great representative of the United States Steve Rogers/Captain America was. Simply put, Rogers could be counted as a metaphor of the meteoric rise of the United States into a global power. In the late nineteenth century, the U.S. was not nearly as influential as Great Britain or other major European powers, but by 1945, it was far and away the most powerful country in the world and helped keep an aggressive Soviet Union at bay for nearly forty-five years. Talk about drinking super-serum!  
The origins of Captain Britain explained in Marvel's Excalibur #40, August 1991
And look at the following super-heroes who have followed in Captain America's footsteps and are part of the Simon/Kirby legacy. Captain Britain, Captain Canuck, Alpha Flight's Guardian and Vindicator have all taken what is great about their respective nations, dressed-up in its flag and values and gone out to save it and the world. That is a pretty amazing and influential idea and something we all owe to Captain America and the great work of Joe Simon. Thank you, Joe, for your outstanding contribution to comics! 

Captain Canuck from Comely Comix Captain Canuck #1, July 1975
Canada's Guardian in Alpha Flight #1, August 1983

1 comment:

  1. It is very Bad news Caption America is very nice cartoon series and i just love it and now new generation will not enjoy his creativity.
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