Friday, December 16, 2011
A Joe Simon DC Cover Gallery!
I saw this ad featuring a crucified "hero" long before I ever got hold of the comic book it touted. This Joe Simon creation is one of the weirdest comics ever concocted for a major publisher. Featuring artwork by Simon and a gang of other artists from his studio, Brother Power The Geek told the tale of a mannequin which is imbued with life and begins a search for meaning among the hippies of the time. It's strange. Check out the debut for yourself at this link. And the second issue can be found in all its flower-power glory here.
Following The Geek, Joe Simon went on some few years later to create another bizarre series for DC, the saga of Prez, the first teen President of the United States. Once again we have middle-age men trying to find a vibe to speak to the "youth" of the time. It's an offbeat and truly unusual effort featuring lush Jerry Grandenetti artwork, the artist who partnered with Simon on most of his Bronze Age DC material.
Simon and Grandenetti did two more projects which never got past the debut stage for a series titled "1st Issue Special". The Green Team: Boy Millinaires offers up a kid gang endowed with great wealth (Richie Rich meets the Newsboy Legion sort of) and The Outsiders were a group of misfits trying to find out more about themselves and their peculiar origins. Both seemed out of step with the markets of their time.
A sometimes forgotten effort is Champion Sports, an attempt by Simon to bring back to comics a connection to other entertainment media. Comics were increasingly becoming isolated thanks to the celebration of the superhero, and books like this were increasingly rare.
In some ways, I think Joe Simon had the career his longtime partner Jack Kirby aspired to. Simon was an artist sure, but he seemed most comfortable working with capable talent to create a range of truly different comic book entertainments.