Hot Best Seller

My Life in Comics

Availability: Ready to download

"Gripping from the first page... If you love comic books, history, or just love a story of a real self-made man, you must read this book." - Shadowlocked "A true visionary, Simon's book is laced with never-before-seen photos and illustrations, and told in his own words. If you're at all curious about the history of comics and one of its earliest visionaries, My Life in "Gripping from the first page... If you love comic books, history, or just love a story of a real self-made man, you must read this book." - Shadowlocked "A true visionary, Simon's book is laced with never-before-seen photos and illustrations, and told in his own words. If you're at all curious about the history of comics and one of its earliest visionaries, My Life in Comics is a must-read." - IGN "... a lovely memoir, often funny, sometimes thought-provoking, and never ostentatious. It’s a true pleasure to read." - Graphic Novel Reporter "... essential reading for any fan of comic book history and storytelling." - ComicBook.com -- In his own words, this is the life of Joe Simon, one of the most important figures in comics history, and half of the famous creative team Simon and Kirby. Joe Simon co-created Captain America, and was the first editor in chief of Marvel Comics (where he hired Stan Lee for his first job in comics).  Simon began his prolific career in the Great Depression, and this book recounts his journey to New York City, his first comic book work, his meeting with Jack Kirby, and the role comics played in wartime America. He remembers the near-death of the comics, and the scramble to survive. And he reveals what it was like to bring comics out of their infancy, as they became an American art form.


Compare

"Gripping from the first page... If you love comic books, history, or just love a story of a real self-made man, you must read this book." - Shadowlocked "A true visionary, Simon's book is laced with never-before-seen photos and illustrations, and told in his own words. If you're at all curious about the history of comics and one of its earliest visionaries, My Life in "Gripping from the first page... If you love comic books, history, or just love a story of a real self-made man, you must read this book." - Shadowlocked "A true visionary, Simon's book is laced with never-before-seen photos and illustrations, and told in his own words. If you're at all curious about the history of comics and one of its earliest visionaries, My Life in Comics is a must-read." - IGN "... a lovely memoir, often funny, sometimes thought-provoking, and never ostentatious. It’s a true pleasure to read." - Graphic Novel Reporter "... essential reading for any fan of comic book history and storytelling." - ComicBook.com -- In his own words, this is the life of Joe Simon, one of the most important figures in comics history, and half of the famous creative team Simon and Kirby. Joe Simon co-created Captain America, and was the first editor in chief of Marvel Comics (where he hired Stan Lee for his first job in comics).  Simon began his prolific career in the Great Depression, and this book recounts his journey to New York City, his first comic book work, his meeting with Jack Kirby, and the role comics played in wartime America. He remembers the near-death of the comics, and the scramble to survive. And he reveals what it was like to bring comics out of their infancy, as they became an American art form.

30 review for My Life in Comics

  1. 4 out of 5

    J.W. Rinzler

    Wonderful idiosyncratic memoir by Simon, of Simon and Kirby fame, co-creator of Cap'n America. Short, easy to read, a nice snapshot of his life, frankly told of his times in the comic book industry of NYC. Wonderful idiosyncratic memoir by Simon, of Simon and Kirby fame, co-creator of Cap'n America. Short, easy to read, a nice snapshot of his life, frankly told of his times in the comic book industry of NYC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tim Schneider

    The co-creator of Captain America, romance comics and one of the seminal figures is comic book history brings us his memoirs. There's no question that Simon is one of the most important figures in comics history. His work with Jack Kirby was instrumental in establishing the written and visual language of comics. Together they created one of the truly great comic book heroes (one who burst on the scene punching Hitler) and created an entire genre of comics with Young Romance. Simon was also viewe The co-creator of Captain America, romance comics and one of the seminal figures is comic book history brings us his memoirs. There's no question that Simon is one of the most important figures in comics history. His work with Jack Kirby was instrumental in establishing the written and visual language of comics. Together they created one of the truly great comic book heroes (one who burst on the scene punching Hitler) and created an entire genre of comics with Young Romance. Simon was also viewed as being one of the few comic creators (along with Will Eisner) to have a modicum of business sense. These are his memories. Of growing up Jewish in New York. Of working for the Hearst Newspapers in the 1930s. Of creating Captain America, working with Jack Kirby, dealing with young Stan Lee, creating romance comics, creating and editing Sick Magazine. Simon comes across as a generally likeable guy who just wants to tell his story. It's not hard-hitting. There's not a huge amount here that's new, particularly not in the more important areas (I didn't realize his involvement in Sick, however). But it's his chance. And that's important. You can always feel the love he had for Jack, even while he makes it clear that a) Kirby was no business man and b) Jack's sole concern was providing for his family, not necessarily what was right. Simon's take on Brother Power is very interesting (he says sales were fine and the cancellation was completely political). This is a nice read by a man who was important in the world of comic books. And that's everything it needed to be.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eamonn Murphy

    The release of the Captain America movie may have had something to do with the timing of this book. Joe Simon co-created Cap with Jack Kirby and the star-spangled Avenger is featured on the cover giving Adolf Hitler a right hook. Adolf Edler was Joe Simon's first boss at the Rochester Evening Journal where our hero worked as an art assistant. Adolf, who looked just like his namesake, taught Joe all about page layouts, cropping, scaling, reproduction and preparing pages for the engraver, all skill The release of the Captain America movie may have had something to do with the timing of this book. Joe Simon co-created Cap with Jack Kirby and the star-spangled Avenger is featured on the cover giving Adolf Hitler a right hook. Adolf Edler was Joe Simon's first boss at the Rochester Evening Journal where our hero worked as an art assistant. Adolf, who looked just like his namesake, taught Joe all about page layouts, cropping, scaling, reproduction and preparing pages for the engraver, all skills that would be useful in his future career. He got the job based on his artwork in the High School magazine and other stuff he did for free. When Hearst newspapers suffered hard times in 1937 the Rochester Evening Journal closed and Joe moved to New York to find work. Soon he got involved in comics, working for Victor Fox and it was there that he met talented penciler, Jack Kirby. They began working at night on projects of their own. The best one, Captain America, they took to Timely publisher Martin Goodman. Jack could draw but Joe had a knack for business, like Will Eisner, and made a good deal for fifty per cent of the profits on Captain America Comics. He and Kirby started working for Timely, a family business and had young Stanley Leiber foisted on them as an assistant. Goodman's interesting accounting procedures drew all the overheads for his business from the fifty per cent share of Captain America profits owed to Simon and Kirby. They started preparing projects for DC but were sacked prematurely when Goodman found out. Kirby reckoned that young Stan snitched on them but Joe Simon thought it was such a tight-knit business it was impossible to keep secrets. He didn't blame Stan. Simon and Kirby had more success at DC and even greater success after the war. By the 1950's they were taking home about $1000 a week each, equivalent to $10,000 in today's money. Then the U.S. Senate, having dealt with Commies, decided to deal with comics. The Kefauver Committee found that they were depraving the young and sales plummeted as anxious parents stopped buying. Without acrimony, Simon and Kirby split up. Joe Simon went back to newspapers, advertising and various editorial jobs in smaller comic companies. He had some success with Sick, a copy of Mad magazine. Jack Kirby did work for hire at DC for a while and went on to fame and legendary status in the industry. Joe Simon was born in 1913 and is still around. The biography of any man who lived through most of the 20th century should be a fascinating historical document and this one is of particular interest to comic historians. Sadly, it's often a tale of crooked publishers and struggling artists but not all publishers were bad and some artists made good. Al Harvey is praised consistently in the book as a fair man who looked after the talent. Joe Simon himself always split everything 50/50 with Kirby. Kirby and Simon were big hits in the 1940s and '50s. Kirby and Stan Lee were the wonders of the 1960s. Kirby's Fourth World series at DC was one of the most interesting comics phenomena of the 1970s. The common factor is Kirby, of course, as neither of his major collaborators produced anything of note once they split up. This is not to downplay the contributions of either Joe Simon or Stan Lee but Kirby was the engine at the heart of the machine. This readable biography of a decent Joe duplicates some of the material from 'The Comic Book Makers' which Simon did with his son Jim. However, there is more stuff about his personal life before and after the glory years and about his spell in the coast guard during the war. There are also interesting, gossipy facts about some of the key characters that it's not fair to give away in a review. After all, Joe wants you to buy the book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Keith Spencer

    Good Read but Very Much Slanted to Simon’s View Enjoyable but has a strong bias toward Simon. He insists over and over that he and Kirby were equal partners yet while Simon moves to ever bigger mansions Kirby always seemed to be struggling and in fear of having no money to fund his family and eventual retirement. Makes you feel Kirby was consistently the “fall guy” rather than a “partner”. Nevertheless its a good read with interesting industry anecdotes and perspectives. A bit like Bob Kane’s Bat Good Read but Very Much Slanted to Simon’s View Enjoyable but has a strong bias toward Simon. He insists over and over that he and Kirby were equal partners yet while Simon moves to ever bigger mansions Kirby always seemed to be struggling and in fear of having no money to fund his family and eventual retirement. Makes you feel Kirby was consistently the “fall guy” rather than a “partner”. Nevertheless its a good read with interesting industry anecdotes and perspectives. A bit like Bob Kane’s Batman and Me but nowhere near as overbearing.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mike Gibas

    Fascinating book chock full of anecdotes but sadly lacking in depth, analysis or introspection. Simon is supremely confident and oozes a genuine belief in his undeniable talents, but this often veers close to the bravado of Stan Lee. His stories though are great - though he skips whole time periods when it gets uncomfortable or too close.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ricky Kimsey

    Great Memoir This is an autobiography of the co creator of Captain America Joe Simon. He tells of his life growing up during the Great Depression and starting what would be his life work as a comic book artist first as a collaborator with fellow Jack Kirby and later on as a solo artist.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Earl Dickens

    Great informative and as much fun as reading the original comics! This is a truly magical journey through not only the origins of America's only true art form, but also a great view of the times and history surrounding them. Great informative and as much fun as reading the original comics! This is a truly magical journey through not only the origins of America's only true art form, but also a great view of the times and history surrounding them.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dan Seitz

    Joe Simon is very old and does not give a single shit of what anybody in the comics industry, most of whom have predeceased him, thinks of him anymore, so this memoir spills tea by the barrel. That said, and despite this clearly being a transcribed and edited series of interviews, it's still a fascinating read. Simon was there at the very beginning, and never strays from his personal perspective. If you're curious about comics history, at all, this brief volume is a must-read. Joe Simon is very old and does not give a single shit of what anybody in the comics industry, most of whom have predeceased him, thinks of him anymore, so this memoir spills tea by the barrel. That said, and despite this clearly being a transcribed and edited series of interviews, it's still a fascinating read. Simon was there at the very beginning, and never strays from his personal perspective. If you're curious about comics history, at all, this brief volume is a must-read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Marcy Webb

    Joe Simon’s death in 2011 casts an unfortunate shadow over this book - Simon ends the book with a ‘Prologue’, feeling his work is not complete. Reading in 2019, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s passings carry another shadow over it. What is otherwise a great overview of the newspaper, comic book and magazine industry and growing up Jewish in New York in the 1910s and 20s, the rise of Nazism (including the rally in Madison Square Garden) and the challenges of World War II, censorship and the CCA, DC, E Joe Simon’s death in 2011 casts an unfortunate shadow over this book - Simon ends the book with a ‘Prologue’, feeling his work is not complete. Reading in 2019, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s passings carry another shadow over it. What is otherwise a great overview of the newspaper, comic book and magazine industry and growing up Jewish in New York in the 1910s and 20s, the rise of Nazism (including the rally in Madison Square Garden) and the challenges of World War II, censorship and the CCA, DC, E.C., Archie and Harvey, the difficulty of publications to stay afloat and creator rights vs. copyright legislation, feels if anything too short. In the last couple of chapters, decades of court hearings, work restoring and reprinting older work, attending comic conventions and awaiting the release of ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ are compressed into a couple of sentences at best. No sooner are we at 9/11 than we are at 2011. That said, this is no major criticism, because this book offers insight not only into the creation of characters (Captain America, Prez, romance comics as a genre, even Spider-Man), but into the personalities and lives of both Simon and Jack Kirby, and Charles Hearst, wonderfully rendered. There’s so many great illustrations and comic art that it becomes a valuable reference. It just ends up feeling unfortunately incomplete at less than 250 pages, becoming a thesis statement for Simon’s entire life when as the title suggests, it should just be about the comics. Had Simon lived longer, I do wonder if he would have published any follow-up volumes. However I do want to chase up some of Titan’s reprint books now.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ian Massey

    An interesting read by one of the greats of American comics (even though I'm not familiar with most of his output...) Being an autobiography, it was a lot more anecdotal and personal than the other "histories" I had read recently and, because of that, a bit less dry. However, a lot of the stories seemed to lack detail - I got the impression that there could/should have been more, although I can't say what. It seemed a book about memories (and, to be fair, Simon at nearly 100 years, has a much bet An interesting read by one of the greats of American comics (even though I'm not familiar with most of his output...) Being an autobiography, it was a lot more anecdotal and personal than the other "histories" I had read recently and, because of that, a bit less dry. However, a lot of the stories seemed to lack detail - I got the impression that there could/should have been more, although I can't say what. It seemed a book about memories (and, to be fair, Simon at nearly 100 years, has a much better memory of his career than have of mine..) Interesting that some sections crossed over with those other histories - particularly the mentions around the censorship in the 50s, perhaps the biggest single thing ever to effect comics - and also nice to read about more people involved in the creation of the industry

  11. 5 out of 5

    B

    To some degree, this book is about the legal system and how being a part of a lawsuit can really traumatize you. Simon is a moderately entertaining storyteller. What I think is most interesting is Mark Evanier's Kirby biography makes you really, really, really want to read some Jack Kirby. Simon's book just simply doesn't suggest that Simon's work is very good. He's very proud about having "invented Captain America." But Captain America just doesn't have an real appeal. It's like the male equival To some degree, this book is about the legal system and how being a part of a lawsuit can really traumatize you. Simon is a moderately entertaining storyteller. What I think is most interesting is Mark Evanier's Kirby biography makes you really, really, really want to read some Jack Kirby. Simon's book just simply doesn't suggest that Simon's work is very good. He's very proud about having "invented Captain America." But Captain America just doesn't have an real appeal. It's like the male equivalent of "Hello Kitty." It looks nice. Simon's other big moments seem to have been inventing someone that is kind of like Spider-man, Sick magazine, and True Romance comics. But it's not clear that those have held up or interest the superhero reader.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Oliver Hodson

    This book was a remarkably frank account of a man's life, saying superbly honest (hopefully truthful) things about a wide range of acquaintances and friends. I had definitely heard of joe simon, thanks in part to his fight for creator rights, but this probably didn't get me right in, because of all the properties he worked on I had only read a small amount of Cap and a bit of Brother Power the Geek in brave and the bold and some backups. Actually, comics aside, it was probably more interesting a This book was a remarkably frank account of a man's life, saying superbly honest (hopefully truthful) things about a wide range of acquaintances and friends. I had definitely heard of joe simon, thanks in part to his fight for creator rights, but this probably didn't get me right in, because of all the properties he worked on I had only read a small amount of Cap and a bit of Brother Power the Geek in brave and the bold and some backups. Actually, comics aside, it was probably more interesting as a sketch of a young new yorker growing up through war and depression and sharing his unvarnished impressions on life.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    I might have enjoyed this book - the autobiography of Joe Simon, one of the creators of Captain America - a little bit more if I knew more about comics in general. He throws out a lot of names (illustrators, inkers, writers, etc) that I would have recognized had I been more hip to comic books. But I'm not, so it felt a little overwhelming at times. However, Mr. Simon is extremely likable, his writing style very relatable, and many of his life stories are just fun to read. I enjoyed this one a lot I might have enjoyed this book - the autobiography of Joe Simon, one of the creators of Captain America - a little bit more if I knew more about comics in general. He throws out a lot of names (illustrators, inkers, writers, etc) that I would have recognized had I been more hip to comic books. But I'm not, so it felt a little overwhelming at times. However, Mr. Simon is extremely likable, his writing style very relatable, and many of his life stories are just fun to read. I enjoyed this one a lot, and I think most comic book fans would love it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    It's a very sweet, sentimental autobiography that may gloss over events that historians consider important; but that adds to the charm of Joe Simon. He's just telling the story as he lived it and not getting caught up in the legend. His talent was huge and it's a great testimony to his humility that he never seems to have believed the hype. I enjoyed reading this book quite a lot. It's a very sweet, sentimental autobiography that may gloss over events that historians consider important; but that adds to the charm of Joe Simon. He's just telling the story as he lived it and not getting caught up in the legend. His talent was huge and it's a great testimony to his humility that he never seems to have believed the hype. I enjoyed reading this book quite a lot.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Tamaș

    Such a great story, not only for comic books enthusiats but for anyone who wishes to know more about life in another Era so close on the timeline yet so far from nowadays realities. Joe Simon puts it all out and sheds light on many topics, personalities and social enviorments that forged the meteoric rise of such a misunderstood medium as comic books still are.

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Macpherson

    A decent, relaxed story of Joe Simon's career in comic books. I love books like this and have a very high tolerance for them, but this one was fun and breezy. It had a few salty stories about the people in comics and nice details on how certain characters and trends were created. A decent, relaxed story of Joe Simon's career in comic books. I love books like this and have a very high tolerance for them, but this one was fun and breezy. It had a few salty stories about the people in comics and nice details on how certain characters and trends were created.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Craig Wilson

    Good read for those interested in the subject. Anyone who thinks Stan Lee built the industry should read this (and some of his choice words regarding Lee.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Samuel B. Shaw

  19. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  21. 5 out of 5

    Simon

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bob Ro

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chuck White

  25. 4 out of 5

    Josh Nicolls

  26. 5 out of 5

    D Cresswell

  27. 5 out of 5

    Victor Miller

  28. 5 out of 5

    Big Bil

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael Caveney

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jamie DeVriend

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...