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Roy Thomas (22)

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  Summary  

Roy William Thomas, Jr. is an American comic book writer and editor, and Stan Lee's first successor as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics. He is possibly best known for introducing the pulp magazine hero Conan the Barbarian to American comics, with a series that added to the storyline of Robert E. Howard's character and helped launch a sword and sorcery trend in comics. Thomas is also known for his championing of Golden Age comic-book heroes — particularly the 1940s superhero team the Justice Society of America — and for lengthy writing stints on Marvel's X-Men and Avengers, and DC Comics' All-Star Squadron, among other titles.

Thomas was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2011.

  Biography  

 early life
Thomas was born in Missouri, United States. As a child, Thomas was a devoted comic book fan, and in grade school he wrote and drew his own comics for distribution to friends and family. The first of these was All-Giant Comics, which he recalls as having featured such characters as Elephant Giant. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1961 with a B.S. in Education, having majored in history and social science, and then worked for four years as a teacher.

Thomas became an early and active member of Silver Age comic book fandom when it organized in the early 1960s — primarily around Jerry Bails, whose enthusiasm for the rebirth of superhero comics during that period led Bails to found the fanzine Alter Ego, an early focal point of fandom. Thomas, then a high school English teacher, took over as editor in 1964 when Bails moved on to other pursuits. Letters from him appeared regularly in the letters pages of both DC and Marvel Comics, including The Flash 116 , and Fantastic Four 22 .

 career
 Marvel Comics
In 1965, Thomas moved to New York City to take a job at DC Comics as assistant to Mort Weisinger, then the editor of the Superman titles. Thomas said he had just accepted a fellowship to study foreign relations at George Washington University when he received a letter from Weisinger, "with whom I had exchanged one or two letters, tops", asking Thomas to become "his assistant editor on a several-week trial basis." Thomas had already written a Jimmy Olsen script "a few months before, while still living and teaching in the St. Louis area," he said in 2005. "I worked at DC for eight days in late June and very early July of 1965" before accepting a job at Marvel Comics.

This came after his chafing under the notoriously difficult Weisinger, to a point, Thomas said in 1981, that he would go "home to my dingy little room at, coincidentally, the George Washington Hotel in Manhattan, during that second week, and actually feeling tears well into my eyes, at the ripe old age of 24." Familiar with editor and chief writer Stan Lee's Marvel work, and feeling them "the most vital comics around, Thomas "just sat down one night at the hotel and — I wrote him a letter! Not applying for a job or anything so mundane as that — I just said that I admired his work, and would like to buy him a drink some time. I figured he just might remember me from Alter Ego." Lee did, and phoned Thomas to offer him a Marvel writing test.

The writer's test, Thomas said in 1998, "was four Jack Kirby pages from Fantastic Four Annual #2 ... or someone take out the dialogue. It was just black-and-white. Other people like Denny O'Neil and Gary Friedrich took it. But soon afterwards we stopped using it." The day after taking the test, Thomas was at DC, proofreading a Supergirl story, when Steinberg called asking Thomas meet with Lee during lunch, where Thomas agreed to work for Marvel. He returned to DC to give "indefinite notice" to Weisinger, but Weisinger ordered him to leave immediately and "I was back at Marvel less than an hour after I first left, and had a Modeling with Millie assignment to do over the weekend. It was a Friday."

To that point, editor-in-chief Lee had been the main scripter of Marvel publications, with his brother, Larry Lieber, picking up the slack as a sometime-scripter of Lee-plotted stories. Thomas soon became the first new Marvel writer to sustain a presence, at a time when comics veterans such as Robert Bernstein, Ernie Hart, Leon Lazarus, and Don Rico, and fellow newcomers Steve Skeates and O'Neil (brought in at Thomas' recommendation a few months later) did not.

His Marvel debut was the romantic-adventure story "Whom Can I Turn To?" in the Millie the Model spin-off Modeling with Millie #44 — for which the credits and the logo were inadvertently left off due to a production glitch, resulting in this being left off most credit lists. Thomas' first Marvel superhero scripting was "My Life for Yours", the "Iron Man" feature in Tales of Suspense #73 , working from a Lee plot as well as a plot assist from secretary Steinberg. Thomas estimates that Lee rewrote approximately half of that fledgling attempt.

Thomas' earliest Marvel work also included the teen-romance title Patsy and Hedy #104-105 (Feb.-April 1966), and two "Doctor Strange" stories, plotted by Lee and Steve Ditko, in Strange Tales #143-144 (April–May 1966). Two previously written freelance stories for Charlton Comics also saw print: "The Second Trojan War" in Son of Vulcan #50 and "The Eye of Horus" in Blue Beetle #54 . "When Stan saw the couple of Charlton stories I'd written earlier in more of a Gardner Fox style, he wasn't too impressed," Thomas recalled. "It's probably a good thing I already had my job at Marvel at that point! I think I was the right person in the right place at the right time, but there are other people who, had they been there, might have been just as right."

Thomas took on what would be his first long-term Marvel title, the World War II series Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, starting with #29 and continuing through #41 and the series' 1966 annual, Sgt. Fury Special #2. He also began writing the mutant-superteam title Uncanny X-Men from #20-43 (May 1966 - April 1968), and, finally, took over The Avengers, starting with #35 , and continuing until 1972. That notable run was marked by a strong sense of continuity, and stories that ranged from the personal to the cosmic — the latter most prominently with the Kree-Skrull War in issues #89-97 (June 1971 - March 1972). Additional work included an occasional "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D" and "Doctor Strange" story in Strange Tales. When that title became the solo comic Doctor Strange, he wrote the entire run of new stories, from #169-183 (June 1968 - Nov. 1969), mostly with the art team of penciler Gene Colan and inker Tom Palmer.

As Thomas self-evaluated in a 1981 interview, shortly after leaving Marvel for rival DC Comics, "One of the reasons Stan liked my writing ... was that after a few issues he felt he could trust me enough that he virtually never again read anything I wrote — well, at least not more than a page or two in a row, just to keep me honest."

Thomas eloped in July 1968 to marry his first wife, Jean Maxey, returning to work a day late from a weekend comic-book convention in St. Louis, Missouri. Thomas said in 2000 that Brodsky, in the interim, had assigned Doctor Strange to the writer Archie Goodwin, newly ensconced at Marvel and writing Iron Man, but Thomas convinced Brodsky to return it to him. "I got very possessive about Doctor Strange," Thomas recalled. "It wasn't a huge seller, but at the time you needed to sell even more." He eventually did have a Caribbean honeymoon, where he scripted the wedding of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne in The Avengers #60 .

Thomas, who had turned over X-Men to other writers, returned with issue #56 when the series was on the verge of cancellation. While efforts to save it failed — the title ended its initial run with #66 — Thomas' collaboration with artist Neal Adams through #63 is regarded as a Silver Age creative highlight. Thomas won the 1969 Alley Award that year for Best Writer, while Adams and inker Tom Palmer, netted 1969 Alley Awards for Best Pencil Artist and Best Inking Artist, respectively.

In 1971, with Stan Lee and Gerry Conway, Thomas created Man-Thing and wrote the first Man-Thing story in color comics, after Conway and Len Wein had introduced the character in the black-and-white comics magazine Savage Tales. Among the many other characters Thomas co-created with Marvel artists were Yellowjacket and Adam Warlock, based on existing characters; Morbius, Doc Samson, Ms. Marvel, Valkyrie,
Killraven and Ultron. He also devised the fictional metal adamantium, used in countless stories.

Editor-in-chief
The following year, when Lee became Marvel's publisher, Thomas succeeded him as editor-in-chief. Thomas by this time had already launched Conan the Barbarian, based on Robert E. Howard's 1930s pulp-fiction sword-and-sorcery character. Initially low-selling, it became a surprise success due to Thomas' accessible adaptations and original stories, combined with the detailed, Beaux Arts-inspired illustrations of Barry Windsor-Smith. Thomas, who stepped down from his editorship in August 1974, wrote hundreds of Conan stories in a host of Marvel comics and black-and-white magazines. During that time, he and Smith also brought to comics Howard's little-known, sword-wielding woman-warrior Red Sonja, initially as a Conan supporting character.

Thomas also continued to script mainstream titles, including Marvel's flagships, The Fantastic Four and The Amazing Spider-Man. He launched such new titles as the unusual "non-team" series The Defenders, as well as What If, a title that explored alternate histories. In addition, he indulged his love of Golden Age comic-book heroes in the World War II-set superhero series The Invaders. Thomas also helped create such new characters as the superpowered martial artist Iron Fist, the supernatural Brother Voodoo, and the demonic, motorcycle-driving Ghost Rider; had a behind-the-scenes role in creating the revamped X-Men team that would emerge as an eventual blockbuster; and was instrumental in engineering Marvel's comic-book adaptation of the movie Star Wars, without which, 1980s editor Jim Shooter believed, "e would have gone out of business".

 DC Comics and later career

In 1981, after several years of freelancing for Marvel and a dispute with then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter, Thomas signed a three-year exclusivity writing/editing contract with DC. He marked his return to DC with a two part Green Lantern story in Green Lantern #138-139 (March-April 1981), and briefly wrote Batman, DC Comics Presents, and the Legion of Super-Heroes. DC gave Thomas' work a promotional push by featuring several of his series in free, 16-page insert previews.

Thomas married his second wife Danette Couto in May 1981. Danette legally changed her first name to Dann and would become Roy's regular writing partner. Thomas credits her with the original idea for the Arak, Son of Thunder series drawn by Ernie Colón. Writer Gerry Conway would also be a frequent collaborator with Thomas; together they wrote a two-part Superman-Captain Marvel team-up in DC Comics Presents; a series of Atari Force and Swordquest mini-comics packaged with Atari 2600 video games; and three Justice League-Justice Society crossovers. Conway also contributed ideas to the funny animal comic Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!, created by Thomas and Scott Shaw. Thomas and Conway were to be the co-writers of the JLA/Avengers intercompany crossover but editorial disputes between DC and Marvel caused the project's cancellation. As a solo writer, Roy Thomas wrote Wonder Woman and, with artist Gene Colan, updated the character's costume and introduced a new supervillainess, the Silver Swan.

Thomas realized a childhood dream in writing the Justice Society of America . Reviving the Golden Age group in Justice League of America #193 and continuing in All-Star Squadron, he wrote retro adventures, like those of The Invaders, set in World War II. In addition to the JSA's high-profile heroes, Thomas revived such characters as Liberty Belle, Johnny Quick, the Shining Knight, Robotman, Firebrand, the Tarantula, and Neptune Perkins. He used the series to address the complicated and sometimes contradictory continuity issues surrounding the JSA.

In 1984, Thomas and artist Jerry Ordway launched a JSA spin-off, Infinity Inc., set in the present day and depicting the adventures of the JSA's children. Thomas wrote several limited series for DC including America vs. the Justice Society, Jonni Thunder a.k.a. Thunderbolt, Shazam! The New Beginning, and Crimson Avenger. From 1986 to 1988, Thomas contributed to the Secret Origins series and wrote most of the stories involving the Golden Age characters. Young All-Stars replaced All-Star Squadron following the changes to DC's continuity brought about by the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series. Thomas's last major project for DC was an adaptation of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle drawn by Gil Kane and published in 1989-1990. Since then, Thomas has written a trio of Elseworlds one-shots combining DC characters with classic cinema and literature: Superman's Metropolis, Superman: War of the Worlds, and JLA: The Island of Dr. Moreau.

Thomas and Gerry Conway collaborated on the screenplays for two movies: the animated feature Fire and Ice and Conan the Destroyer . In that latter year, Shooter wrote in 2011, Thomas sent him a letter on May 14 in which he hoped


By 1986, Thomas had begun writing for Marvel's New Universe line, beginning with Spitfire and the Troubleshooters #5 . He then embarked on a multi-issue run of Nightmask, co-scripted by his wife Dann Thomas. He went on to script titles starring Doctor Strange, Thor, the Avengers West Coast, and Conan, often co-scripting with Dann Thomas or Jean-Marc Lofficier.

During the following decade, Thomas began working less for Marvel and DC than for independent companies. He wrote issues of the TV-series tie-ins Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys for Topps Comics. Additionally, he began writing more for other media, including television, and relaunched Alter Ego as a formal magazine published by TwoMorrows Publishing in 1999. In 2005, he earned a Master's degree in Humanities from California State University.

With Marvel's four-issue miniseries Stoker's Dracula (Oct. 2004 - May 2005), Thomas and artist Dick Giordano completed an adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, which the duo had begun 30 years earlier in 10- to 12-page installments, beginning with Marvel's black-and-white horror-comics magazine Dracula Lives #5 . They had completed 76 pages, comprising roughly one-third of the novel, through issues #6-8 and 10-11 and Marvel Preview #8 ("The Legion of Monsters"), before Marvel canceled Dracula Lives and later many of its other black-and-whites. Anthem, a comic book series by Thomas and artists Daniel Acuña, Jorge Santamaria Garcia and Benito Gallego, about World War II superheroes in an alternate reality, began publication by Heroic Publishing in January 2006. Thomas returned to Red Sonja in 2006, writing the one-shot Red Sonja: Monster Isle for Dynamite Entertainment. In 2007 Thomas wrote a Black Knight story for the four-issue miniseries, Mystic Arcana.

As of 2011, he lives in South Carolina, and serves on the Disbursement Committee of the comic-book industry charity The Hero Initiative.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Томас, Рой", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.