A Tribute to the of

When I spoke to Carmine Infantino last year, he suggested I also contact Joe Simon.  While I wasn't against the idea, I wondered what in the heck we would talk about, since he did very little in DC's Silver Age.  Nonetheless, I gave Joe a call and we talked for a few minutes (after my faulty tape player began to kick in):

Joe Simon:  A big part of the culture now.  Dick and I did The Fly and The Shield for Archie Comics.

Prof:  Yeah, one of their few adventure stories.

JS:  Yeah, uh-huh.  And I think the Fighting American.  Were they the Silver Age?  That was about 1962 I think, wasn't it?

Prof:  That would have been right in there.

JS:  That's about my experience with the Silver Age.

Prof:  Well, you did a little tiny bit later with Brother Power, The Geek. (#1 & #2)

JS:  Oh, yeah, yeah.  That was about '73 I think, wasn't it?

Prof:  '69, I think.

JS:  '69.  Okay.  Oh, yeah, that was with Carmine [Infantino].

Prof:  Exactly.

JS:  Yeah, we did some very nice things there.  The Prez.  I loved that one.

Prof:  The Green Team. [Note: Carmine also asked Simon & Jack Kirby to join forces once again to produce a one-shot book titled The Sandman, a character completely different from he Golden Age version. The title was placed into regular production lasting six isues.]

JS:  But, that whole period there was not financially successful for practically anybody in the business.

Prof:  No, sadly enough.

JS:  And that wasn't very encouraging.  That's about my whole experience in the Silver Age.  It was quite a bit, I guess.

Prof:  Well, yeah, you were right in there.  Of course the bulk of your work was beforehand and some afterward.

JS:  Yeah.

Prof:  You know one thing I was kind of surprised about when I was researching some of your work in the Grand Comic Book Database, they have all of the work you and Jack did on the early Adventure comics with Manhunter and Sandman and so forth…

JS:  Yeah, is that Harry Mandrake's site?

Prof:  No, I don't think so.  When you tap it in you just go to comics.org.  They're trying to index every single comic book ever published.

JS:  Great.

Prof:  Anyway, it kind of amused me.  It had Jack down on scripts and pencils on a lot of them and then had your name with a question mark behind it for inks.  Apparently they can't confirm that you inked a lot of those.  I presume you did.

JS:  I'm not going to worry about that now

Prof:  I understand.  You don't have anything to prove at this point.  (Chuckle.)

JS:  They didn't ask me.  Of course I inked most all of it.

Prof:  I kind of figured.  I didn't realize how you had worn nearly every single hat, Mr. Simon, from editor, to scripter to letterer to penciler.  You did it all.

JS:  (coughing.)  Too many cigars.

Prof:  Would it be easier if I e-mailed my questions?

JS:  I think so, but so many questions come up over and over and over again.  I'll do my best.  I respect your efforts.  You said you spoke to Carmine recently?

Prof:  I sure did.

JS:  How's he doing?

Prof:  He sounded good.  Of course he just turned 82.

JS:  82?

Prof:  Yeah.  Still kind of a youngster to you, I suppose.

JS:  (Chuckle.)  I'm 93.

Prof:  You're doing well, then.

JS:  It's all right.  At least it beats the other.  (chuckle.)

So, I went ahead and came up with a few questions and sent them to Joe, and he answered a few of them:

Prof: You've worked for many, many companies to include Timely, DC, Archie, Hillman, Harvey, Novelty Press, Fox and Charlton.  Was there much difference between how the companies operated?  Was there one you preferred over another?

JS: You left out the biggest...PRIZE including Crestwood and a few other corporate names. Also our own company, Mainline.

Prof: I understand you worked under Mort Weisinger for awhile.  His reputation as an editor was somewhat notorious.  Were you able to work well with him?

JS: Mort Wesinger was not involved with Simon and Kirby. I did not like him. Will get back to you later.

Later, he addressed this question again:

JS: Never worked under Mort. Simon and Kirby had a contract with DC Comics to package books under a pay and royalty system. Mort, Jack Schiff and a few other guys were editors for DC, not for Simon and Kirby. They each had equal levels of authority.

Well, I followed up a couple of times and Joe abruptly told me he didn't have time for this any longer, which was certainly his right, but I was surprised and a little disappointed, especially since I didn't have a whole lot to work with.  So, I put the tape aside and sort of forgot about it.  Then, earlier this year, I contacted Creig Flessel, and we talked for a short while about his career

© 2008 by B.D.S.

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