Sunday, January 6, 2013

Creator: Artie Simek

January 6, 1916 – February 20, 1975

Artie Simek, a cartoonist and letterer, is best known for his lettering at Marvel Comics during the 1960s and 1970s. This chronology of his life was compiled from census records, newspaper articles, comic books and comics related material.

26 Burroughs Avenue, Queens, New York
Joseph and Theresa, parents born in Bohemia
Joseph, Francis and Arthur, sons in birth order

The Daily Star (Queens, New York)
Honor Roll Student
November 14, 1922

December 13, 1922

March 13, 1923

May 14, 1923

October 10, 1923

December 11, 1923

10 46th Avenue, Winfield, Queens, New York

March 11, 1926

October 8, 1926

April 11, 1927

74-22 46th Avenue, Queens, New York

The Daily Star

June 27, 1930
“P.S. 89, Elmhurst...Arthur Simek...”

July 18, 1931
The Woodside Cardinals, opening their indoor baseball season Wednesday, July 15, played four games, winning three of them. The team played was the Sparklers.

The line-ups: 
Cardinals—...Arthur Simek, left field...

August 26, 1931
The Elmhurst Junior Grays stickball team want games for the weeks beginning August 23 and 30 and September 6. They would like to hear from such teams as Corona Unknowns, Corona Havermayers, Delmars, Astoria Royals, Corona Ramblers, Unknown A.C., Darvalls, Senecas and other teams thirteen to fifteen years of age.

For games write to Arthur Simek, 74-22 Forty-sixth avenue, Elmhurst, L.I.

September 24, 1931
Grays, 22; Cardinals, 17.

The Elmhurst Junior Grays stickball team won their fifteenth game of the season when they defeated the Woodside Cardinals in a slugfest 22 to 17 in a ten-inning game.

…The line-ups: Grays…Simek, left field

April 19, 1932

The Elmhurst Junior Grays stickball team won their third straight game by easily defeating the Jackson Heights A.C., 24 to 8, at P.S. 12...

…The line-ups: Elmhurst Junior Grays…Simek, right field

May 5, 1932

June 25, 1932
Elmhurst (Coler) Cubs will organize a baseball team for this coming season. So far only five members have been chosen.

Those going to play will be: E. Paur, W. Sisson, E. Sisson, M. Bachenheimer and A. Simek.

This team will play at their new grounds, Coler Oval, between Forty-sixth and Forty-eighth avenues, near Seventy-fourth  street.

No games will be played until all the members have been chosen. Cubs will average between thirteen—fifteen years of age and will play twilight games only.

Coler Avenue, 3; 74th Street, 0.
The Coler Avenue Boys, a newly organized stickball team, opened their season by playing their second twilight game against the Seventy-fourth Streets and winning by a score of 3–0….

The Coler Avenue Boys earned their first run in the second inning…In the fifth inning two more runs scored when W. Sisson singled doubled and A. Simek hit a home run into left field.

The Coler Avenue Boys’ stickball team played a practice game against the Seventy-fourth Streets and defeated them by a of 3–1 score in an overtime game.

The Coler Avenue Boys started their line-up with W. Sisson, E. Paur, E. Sisson, B. Bruno and A. Simek. Timely hitting by W. Sisson and great fielding by A. Simek in the last inning were the features of the game….

July 11, 1932
...Arthur Simek

August 13, 1932
The Maspeth Beavers failed to open their season against the Maspeth Clovers last Sunday because of a cancelled engagement.

However, this Sunday morning at Winfield Oval, the Beavers will open their season against the Woodside Cardinals.

A. Simek will probably pitch for the Beavers.

August 26, 1932
The Elmhurst Junior Grays stickball team gained its twelfth win of the season at the expense of the Woodside Roamers, 6–3, at P.S. 12….

…The line-ups: Elmhurst Jr. Grays…Simek, first base

April 24, 1933
Pawnees, 9; Marvels, 3
...P. Dier and A. Simek, pitchers

74-22 46th Avenue, Queens, New York

Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York)
March 28, 1940
The Elmhurst Islanders Baseball Club, a newly organized team managed by Artie Simek, are open for games in April and May.

Due to lack of a home field, the Islanders will be a traveling team. They are in the 18-21-year-old class and would like games with such teams as the Elmhurst Cubs, Elmhurst Elms, Astoria Bruins, etc.

For games write Artie Simek, 74-22 46th avenue, Elmhurst, or call Havenmeyer 4-5231 between 6:30 and 7 P.M. Ask for Johnny.

Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York)
June 5, 1940
“...Artie Simek has relinquished the managerial duties in favor of Wally Sisson for the Islanders and will now be take his turn on the mound.”

Name: Arthur Milton Simek
Address: 7517 41st Avenue, Jamaica Heights, Queens, New York
Age: 24
Birth Date: January 6, 1916
Birth Place: Queens, New York
Registration Date: October 16, 1940
Registration Place: Elmhurst, Queens, New York
Employer: Self (Artist)
Weight: 155
Complexion: Ruddy
Eye Color: Gray
Hair Color: Brown
Height: 6 1
Next of Kin: Theresa Rose Simek   

Long Island Daily Press (Jamaica, New York)
March 3, 1941

Jackson Basketball Team Liked Simek’s Cartoon
All the boys on the Jackson squad liked Art Simek’s  cartoon (Feb. 22) very much. A number of the teachers also commented on its potent characterization.
Coach Lew Grummond, Andrew Jackson H.S.

Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York)
May 7, 1941
“...Artie Simek, Elmhurst Elms pitcher, is the same who does an occasional cartoon for the L.I. Press...”

Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York)
June 27, 1942
“St. Mary’s Cedars of Winfield, with two losses to date, take on the Brooklyn Blue Sox, who have been beaten three times. Mike Filardi will probably start Joe Marshall and Harry Rush, keeping Art Simek and Johnny Murray available for relief.”


Sports cartoons by Jack Sords appeared in the Daily Star and Star Journal. Sords and other cartoonists inspired Simek to join their ranks.

Long Island Daily Press (Jamaica, New York)
December 22, 1943
More Holiday Mail
…Art Simek, Elmhurst cartoonist,…

Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York)
December 21, 1943
“Add Christmas greetings: From...Artie Simek, the sports cartoonist...”

Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York)
April 15, 1944: James Bradford Turner
Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York)
April 21, 1944
There’s quite a story in young Artie Simek, our cartoonist, who whipped up that amazingly accurate likeness of James (The Red) Turner, Queens Club patron, which appeared in Saturday’ issue of your favorite newspaper.

Simek, who used to be an athlete himself, lives at 74-22 46th avenue, Elmhurst, and found out that he got a greater bang out of drawing athletes than participating with them in various sports. SOOOoooooo, he gave with the India ink and the fancy lines only to meet with plenty of rebuffs when his work failed to display that professional touch.

But Artie never said quits in sports and he never said quits as a sports cartoonist. For more nights that he admits to, he passed up the movies and other entertainment to practice away hour after hour. That his labors have borne fruit is obvious after one look at his drawings today.

What is not generally known, however, is that it was Simek who drew a sports cartoon of Captain Eddie Grant, the New York Giant’s immortal, which was made into a plaque and which is now aboard the Eddie Grant Liberty ship in the captain’s quarters. Artful Arthur also did a likeness of John McGraw, which occupies a similar spot in the John McGraw Liberty Ship.

Simek has also done plenty of work for the Dodger and Giant magazines and for Mike Lee, sports editor of The Long Island Press. As a matter of fact, we recall a time when Mike was having a bad streak at the track and he called Simek into his office and said “draw me a winner”!

Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York)
May 19, 1944

“Artie Simek: Will you call this department, please?”

Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York)
July 6, 1944: Jackson Club
Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York)
July 25, 1944: John L. Flood
Long Island Daily Press (Jamaica, New York)
December 30, 1944
More Holiday Mail
…also cards from Mr. and Mrs. Art Simek of Jackson Heights…he used to be a cartoonist for the Press…

April 9, 1946
“…Former sports cartoonist Art Simek, of Jackson Heights now making strides in the cartoon field…Draws such horror funnies for the kiddies he can’t sleep nights…”

December 4, 1954
“…After all these years who should we hear from the other day but Artie Simek of Elmhurst, who used to do cartoons for the column many years ago..Artie has been working for Timely Comics and has a nice cartoon in the Jan. issue of Male Mag…Since we last heard from Artie he has acquired a wife, Dottie, and two children, Gloria Jean, six, and Glen Arthur, one...”

September 1975
“On February 20, 1975, early in the morning, the comic book industry lost one of its foremost talents. ARTIE SIMEK died. For thirty-odd years, the majority of his life, Artie produced a veritable mountain of work and gained a reputation for being a true professional. He was one of the cornerstones in building the mighty world of Marvel and his efforts cannot be ignored.

To those of us who were privileged to know Artie, he was a valued friend, a unique personality, and an irreplaceable co-worker.

He will be missed.”

Find a Grave
Name: Arthur Simek
Birth Date: 1916
Death Date: 1975
Cemetery: Flushing Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place: Flushing, Queens County, New York

Ultimate Spider-Man
#11, September 2001

Dear Customer Support, 

My name is Arthur Simek. I work for Miramax Films. A couple of nights ago, my employer attended a party at the Fisk Towers and was very interested in the surveillance technology that they are using.

Your company came highly recommended. My employer has asked me to put together some information on what the set-up entails. I have both time and space needs.

Any information you could forward to me would be very helpful.

Story reprinted in Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 2: Learning Curve (2004); scroll down to read the reply from Sam Rosen.

Alter Ego
#11, November 2001
A Conversation with Vince Fago
Interview Conducted and Transcribed by Jim Amash

IV. Some Faces In The Four-Color Crowd
JA: What about other production people or letterers?
Fago: Billie Landis was a musician, sculptor, freelance letterer, and a friend.

Veda Lufkin was a housewife from New Jersey, and she'd letter at home.

Alberta Tews was also a freelance letterer. One day she came in and told me she'd had her teeth knocked out playing basketball the day before. She said it was no big deal because they were false teeth, even though she was a young girl.

Mario Aquaviva lettered, too. Artie Simek worked for us; he was a tall, friendly guy that everyone liked.

Alter Ego
#52, September 2005
Joe Giella Interview
…Artie Simek was on staff at Timely. He lived in Queens, and he also used to work out of his bedroom; he had a little drawing table in there. I used to drive to his home and pick up jobs he’d lettered, then take them home and work on them…

Alter Ego
#90, December 2009
Leon Lazarus Interview
Jim Amash: Who hired you to be a letterer?

Leon: Gary Keller. He was in charge of the production department; gray haired…he was an old guy. Timely had trouble with their proofreaders, so I was made an associate editor in order to look over their shoulders and check out their work. Don Rico was working with Stan Lee and Ernie Hart. Rico had drawn features like “The Sub-Mariner.” He may have written some of it, too; I can’t be sure now. Ernie Hart had done a book on German police dogs, and could draw as well as write. He was a nice guy, very slick-looking, with a good sense of humor. He was smart.

We were on the 14th floor of the Empire State Building. The letterers were gathered in the production room, away from the artists. In that room with me were many people, most of whom I don’t remember now. Mario Aquaviva was in charge of the letterers, but Artie Simek was over him. Artie was a tall, skinny guy, very nice and quiet, with a big Adam’s apple. He never pushed anyone around. He didn’t letter stories; he did logos.

Grand Comics Database: credited as Art Simek; credited as Artie Simek

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  1. Always liked Art's lettering; didn't know he was a cartoonist; thanks for the info!

  2. Just when I thought I knew it all. Wow. Thanks for digging up all this and sharing.

  3. Great background on Simek. Its nice to know he was a great baseball fan and played in my neck of the woods in Queens. Artie remains a cornerstone of Marvel comics with his superb lettering skills.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Interesting read, thanks for taking the time on this. Going to show it to Dot, I think she'll really appreciate. If anyone else has some stories, I'd love to hear.

    1. Chris, thanks for your comment. Are you related to Artie?

    2. Yes, he was my grandfather and I'm sitting with my dad looking at these clippings.

    3. Chris,

      You should be very proud of your grandfather. He was a very talented man who, with his calligraphic skills, contributed greatly to comic books in general and Marvel in particular. I grew up on the Marvel of the 1960s and his name was always recognized as being a part of the overall look of Marvel. I paid a little tribute to him and Sam Rosen on my blog some time back and also gave him his due in the 75 Years of Marvel Comics book from Taschen that was published last year (I wrote many captions in the silver age section):

    4. Also, in going through many comic books I've discovered Artie's lettering at other companies besides Marvel, such as DC and Prize in the 1950s and have been adding his credits to the Grand Comic Book Database, which, in case you are unaware, attempts to chronicle, list and credit the creators or every comic book published. You can view your grandfather's listed credits here:

    5. It was a shame your grandfather died so young. Always enjoyed his unique style of lettering. I have often wondered what did he die of? I hope I am not being too nosy or morbid. It just struck me how young he was when he passed.

  6. Think's for the information.