Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

It is a sad and somber day for comics enthusiasts the world over. This last week saw the passing of Joe Simon, co-creator of Captain America (among a slew of other legendary figures). No one person will ever really embody the Golden Age the way this man did.

His work at Timely comics with Jack Kirby really set the stage for the inspiration and eventual birth of Marvel Comics, as well as countless DC stories. There really are just no words.

Nowadays, everyone is a big fan of Captain America, his most famous creation, but I just want to go on the record as saying this. We look back at the old school 1940’s Cap comics and maybe see them as propaganda-ish.

You know- help the Allies defeat the Axis, ra ra ra. And that's what they were meant to do. Now we live in an age when we are far more culturally aware of how the media can be used to distort our views of an "enemy." Prejudice and misunderstanding have almost always been the instigator and perpetuating factor in countless wars.

If you think the German people didn’t suffer during World War II, than you're sadly misinformed. It’s hard to imagine the kind of fear and confusion an entire nation of people must have underwent. If you woke up tomorrow and realized America had transformed into a genocidal dictatorship, how would you handle it?

For you? Your family? Keep your job? Quit your job? These aren’t easy questions for anyone to answer.

Now I’m going to say this. If there is ONE THING everyone with a lick of sense could look back on and agree, it would probably be that the Axis had to be stopped. The kinds of things that the Reich were doing remain--to this day--among the most unspeakable acts in human history. This was evil and yes, I’m aware of how unsophisticated a term like that could sound.

Can you really look at the kind of sick and racist platforms being espoused by this ‘government’ though and call it anything else? This had to be stopped even though it was costly to do it. In this sense, ask yourself were those Captain America comics REALLY so hokey? Was it REALLY political propaganda?

Or were they courageous? Was it a call to stand up and FIGHT for the right thing? Even if it was hard?

Simon created a character that inspired the best in us. He didn’t love war, but he was willing to fight if that’s what he had to do. This man’s work will always be a memoir to the kind of resilience and bravery that was needed during this dark chapter in human history. If we wanted to preserve anything about ourselves from that time, to take something with us from those years it WOULD be Captain America.

The kind of person he is. The kinds of things he embodies and inspires in us.

Rest in Peace Joe Simon. October 11, 1913-December 14, 2011