Joe Simon and the Death of Captain America

Marvel has killed off Captain America. So what is this the third time Cap has died in the Marvel Universe? For me the death is not as surprising as how well Marvel has spinned it this time. To be honest when I first heard about this my reaction was they can’t be serious. Did Marvel really think that killing off a character would increase sales? It has been done before, remember the death of Superman? Surely no one will care this time, by now everyone should know that no one stays dead in comic books?

But boy was I wrong. Newspaper articles and television interviews. The buzz if all over the internet. The comic itself sold out within hours of hitting the shelf. There someone selling the two variant covers for $90 on eBay. Marvel was prepared for that because they will be shipping more copies of the first printing next week. Hey Marvel does not care how much a comic’s resale value is. They care about how many comics they can sell. If that kills the value of the comic to collectors, too bad.

I have heard all sorts of theories about this. One of which is Marvel killed off Cap so they would not have to share royalties with Joe Simon. Now I cannot say what arrangement Joe reached with Marvel over the copyrights. Nondisclosure was part of the settlement. But I can say that I have been talking to Joe during all of this. Not once has Joe expressed any annoyance about what Marvel has done. Quite the contrary Joe seems to be having a blast. He is been giving interviews to all sorts of newspapers and even TV.

What about any concerns Joe might have about the character he helped create with Jack Kirby? Well just because the newspapers and TV has bought Marvel’s spin, that does not mean Joe has. He knows this is not the true end of Captain America. Once during another confrontation about Captain America copyrights, Marvel threatened to kill him off. Joe’s response was to make a painting based on the Leonardo’s Last Supper with Cap playing the leading role.

Many have observed, as I did above, that Cap has died before. They suggest Captain America will return real soon. I think they have missed the point. Marvel did not set up all this spin just to throw it away. That was the mistake they made the last two times. No I suggest that Marvel will play this out for some time to come. We will not be seeing the return of Steve Rogers anytime soon. But Steve was not the only person to wear the Captain America uniform in the past. I see no reason why that could not happen again. Many have suggested that the Punisher will take on that role. At the end of the Civil War he was shown picking up Cap’s mask. I suggest this was a red herring. I doubt Marvel would sacrifice any of the characters that play a significant part in the Marvel Universe. Nor are they going to take some minor hero to be Cap. It must be someone with a special connection with Captain America. I can think of only one person who fits that bill. If you have been reading Captain America lately you know who I mean.