This is par for the course with Daniel, known for championing the cause of comics creators left behind by an industry they greatly contributed to. As DC and Marvel continue to conquer Hollywood, and the economy, by licensing characters spawned by generations of innovative creators who have been rarely, if ever, fairly compensated for their work, concerned industry activists such as Daniel Best are relegated to sounding the siren of concern for creators. The artists and writers mostly abandoned by an industry not very mindful of their contribution to elevating the comics to where they are today.
I'd first met Dave Simons in the mid 1970's, having just finished his service in the Coast Guard, sailing the 7 seas and imparting of that experience to his fellow creators with the wit and class that he's become known for amongst his colleagues. He launched his career with Marvel Comics, mostly inking Gene Colan and John Buscema pencils, while also sharpening his drawing hand for a later foray into penciling the work himself. Amongst his many credits, Dave's inking has graced the pages of Howard the Duck, Tomb of Dracula, and Ghost Rider. He later moved on to pencil notable runs on Conan, Spider-Man and Red Sonja. By the time I left the U.S. in 1981, Dave was also producing work for DC Comics, including inking Rags Morales pencils in Forgotten Realms, as well as some work on DC's war titles.
But a new day was dawning on the comics industry in the 1980's. The effort to circumvent failing newsstand sales, and establish an independent Direct Market distribution system, which also gave birth to the modern comic book specialty stores, had also contributed to a polarization of creator status within the industry. This same era, which saw the outstanding success of innovative young creators, was also leaving behind many of the passing generation of writers and artists. Dave Simons, like many of his colleagues then, began exploring other avenues for his art, and maneuvered his career into the animation and commercial storyboard markets. His work on Courage The Cowardly Dog TV show is the most notable of these, but he nevertheless maintained a foot in comics by producing the sequential stories of the same character for DC, while also co-creating the Beastball Saga with Sebastian Mondrone. The amount of TV shows he's worked on since, however, whether in animation or storyboard art, far outnumbers the comics he penciled and inked during the first decade of his career as a comics artist.
I saw Dave again in the summer of 2004 when I came into New York for a brief work stint at IDT Entertainment'sDPS Film Roman Studios in New Jersey, producing storyboards for Everyone's Hero, a film then being directed by the late Christopher Reeve. As is the case with some of these excursions, I hadn't pre-arranged any accommodations for that trip. Dave had heard from Joe Rubinstein about my coming into NY and extended a warm invitation to stay at his West Village loft. We spent that summer at Dave's abode, reminiscing about the old days and working together on some of the storyboard art Dave was immersed in.
Before my leaving to come back to Israel, Dave produced a charming drawing, as a remembrance of our time together, capturing the somewhat eccentric yet inseparable look of a Netzer and his Judea Desert walking staff. Dave Simons' hospitality and camaraderie in that summer of 2004, is a remembrance and legacy of a sense of humanity the comics creators have nurtured, for extending goodwill into their world, in the same way they have been extending of themselves in their comic book stories and art. The type of goodwill which we still look forward to seeing from the comics publishers one day.
Below is a gallery sampling of Dave Simons' fabulous art, spanning his career, courtesy of Daniel Best's ACAB interview.
(If your browser does not display the thumbnails below, click on the first image place holder to view gallery)
At the recent Big Apple Con, Dave joined Alan & Pauline Weiss, Norm Breyfogle, Rich Buckler and I for dinner, and told of his struggle with cancer and moving out from his West Village loft to New Jersey. His rebound from a difficult health situation and the indifference to its creators of a corporately driven comics industry, have not succeeded in felling the spirit of Dave Simons, who remains full of cheer, wit and grace, as we'd always known him to be. The alluring array of his work seen above, testifies to his art as remaining a highly recommended commodity for comics art collectors and aficionados, which can be ordered by contacting Daniel Best at
Purchasing a Dave Simons art commission today is one way of helping strike a balance between the comics creators who've been left behind by the corporate wheels and the somewhat more fortunate ones still producing comics with the publishers.