JOE SIMON, Captain America Co-Creator, R.I.P. 2011

JOE SIMON, Capt. America Co-Creator, RIP

Update, 5:30 p.m. eastern: DC co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio have released statements on Joe Simon's passing, which follow below:

"Joe Simon was a true legend in the comic book industry. So much of what we are today is owed to him and his amazing creativity. In addition to one of the great writers of the Golden Age, he was also an editor at DC Comics. We appreciate all of his contributions to DC Comics and the industry as a whole, both on the page and behind the scenes." - Dan DiDio, Co-Publisher, DC Entertainment.

"We lost another of the Titans this week. A creative virtuoso, Joe Simon will be best known for co-creating Captain America with legendary artist Jack Kirby but his many contributions to DC Comics, both as a writer and an editor, are legion and will continue to be cherished by longtime fans, this one included. Our sympathies go out to his family, friends and many, many fans." - Jim Lee, Co-Publisher, DC Entertainment.

Original story: Joe Simon, one of the most influential figures of the Golden Age of Comic Books, has passed away, according to multiple reports later confirmed by Marvel Comics. He was 98.

Simon is best known for co-creating Captain America with long-time collaborator Jack Kirby in 1940, a character that's endured for decades and was featured in this past summer's live-action feature film Captain America: The First Avenger. Famously, the first issue of Captain America Comics depicted Captain America punching Adolf Hitler, a full year before the American entry into World War II. At the time, Simon worked as the first editor at Timely Comics, the company that would evolve into Marvel Comics.

Simon and Kirby also worked on Captain Marvel Comics for Fawcett Comics, and created the Newsboy Legion and Manhunter for DC's predecessor, National Comics.

In 1954, Simon and Kirby created Fighting American, one of the first creator-owned properties in industry history. In 1959, the pair debuted The Fly, as part of Archie's superhero imprint, Red Circle Comics.

Simon and Kirby's partnership also yielded the creation of their own short-lived comic book company in 1953, Mainline Publications, that produced material outside of the superhero genre including western, romance and war comics.

In later years, Simon created Brother Power the Geek and Prez for DC Comics, and founded Mad competitor Sick in 1960, which lasted for 20 years.

Like many creators of the time, Simon served during World War II; enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1999, the writer was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

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