In the past few weeks we’ve lost two legendary creators from the Golden Age of comics, Jerry Robinson at age 89 and Joe Simon at 98. Robinson co-created Batman’s nemesis The Joker, and Simon co-created Captain America and dozens of other characters and even comics genres.
Both men were visionaries whose influence spread far beyond the comic book page. While there is much to learn from a study of either man’s comics work, I believe that a young creator may learn more about how to manage a comics career by studying their lives outside of comics. The reality is that very few artists, writers, or editors — even the most influential creators — actually spend their entire working life creating comic books. Many comic book writers and artists work in the industry for less than a decade.
Both Robinson and Simon found other ventures and distinguished themselves in art, publishing, and support for creators. If you’re a young, aspiring professional, what is your game plan? What will you second career be?
Here’s an excerpt of Joe Simon being interviewed by Mark Evanier at the 1998 San Diego Comicon.