To the world, Joe Simon is a comic legend. He’s the co-creator of Captain America, one half of the Kirby/Simon duo. Throughout their extensive careers, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby shaped the comic book industry into the vast sea of genres we see today. To many, he was the grandfather of comics. To Megan Margulies, he was simply “Daddy Joe.”
In her book, My Captain America: A Granddaughter’s Memoir of a Legendary Comic Book Artist, Megan takes us on a journey with her grandfather, the man behind the legend. Set against the backdrop of New York City, Megan recounts her musings with the man along with how he helped shape the story of a little girl growing up in a big city.
Megan’s words leap off the page and envelope you in the scene with her. She brings you into the narrative as she tells the story of balancing the horrors of life with the wonder Daddy Joe had for the world. Her book does more than recount her experiences and stories from the comic legend. The city becomes a living, breathing entity, a character, as she struggles to find her place in it.
I expected My Captain America to deliver stories of an old man’s heyday, the inner workings of the comic industry, and motivations behind events like that iconic Nazi punching cover. It delivers this and so much more. What I didn’t expect to find was a little bit of myself, and a sense of comradery with Megan’s coming of age story.
As I read her words, they brought me back to my own adolescence, as the veil between childhood and adulthood slowly peeled itself away, each year bringing me more understanding and more questions. As I followed her teenage years, I thought of the parallels to my own, finding a piece of myself I left behind with my rebellious stage. I felt the suffocation and alienation of my childhood home as I longed for privacy, autonomy, and a voice.
[See Also: Review: Joe Simon, My Life In Comics]
As Megan walked me through the process of dying her hair for the first time, I thought of my own demands for pink hair as an outward expression of that need for some control. Reading her book felt as if I was reading pieces of my own journal, my own struggles, and my own experiences. In her quest for personal identity, I found comfort in my own existence. In her grief mourning Daddy Joe, I saw snippets of my own grief with the loss of my father.
Her book shows us the man behind the legend, and the container he created for her to feel safe in who she was. Just as his work created containers for us to feel safe and secure. My Captain America: A Granddaughter’s Memoir of a Legendary Comic Book Artist is more than a book about the co-creator of Captain America, Joe Simon. It’s Megan Margulies’ story of finding herself in a world pushing to stifle her identity, and how her roots shaped that identity. It’s a must-read for GeekMoms.