In 1939, Martin Goodman, who had been publishing pulp magazines since the early 1930s, decided to get into comic book publishing. At the time, what you did as a new comic book publisher was rather than hire the writers and artists yourself, you would contract a “Packaging Studio” who would put together the comic book for you and then you would just publish it. Goodman’s first comic book, Marvel Comics #1, was packaged by Funnies, Inc, which had artists Bill Everett and Carl Burgos on staff as writers/artists and Joe Simon as a writer/editor.
Marvel Comics #1 was a huge hit. We’re talking almost a million copies sold of their first issue!! Goodman was all in on comics now, so he did not want to buy from a packager anymore, so he hired Joe Simon to become his Editor-in-Chief of what was now called Timely Comics. At the end of 1940, Simon and one of the artists that Simon brought to the new company, Jack Kirby, created Captain America Comics, which was a sensation…
Simon and Kirby, though, split from Goodman after roughly a year, over a financial dispute. Goodman put staffer Stan Lee in charge as the new Editor-in-Chief and the then-19 year old Lee remained as Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief until Lee was promoted to Publisher in 1972 (Lee did take a couple of years off while he was in the Army during World War II. I wrote about Marvel’s interim Editor-in-Chief during this period).