Wednesday, January 1, 2020






(Baron Samedi)

Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #17 (1990)
co-created with Jean-Marc Lofficier and Geof Isherwood
(based on West African mythology)


Sub-Mariner #4 (1968)
co-created with John Buscema

Satan's Saints (motorcycle gang) 

Rocky Rhodes
Unnamed members

X-Men #32 (1967)
co-created with Werner Roth

Gary Friedrich made up that name--either for me, or maybe earlier in one of the Charlton Comics stories he wrote.

(Satana Hellstrom) 

Vampire Tales #2 (1973)
co-created with John Romita 


Dr. Strange #174 (1968)
co-created with Gene Colan
(Stan Lee gave the name)

(Karl Lykos) 

X-Men #59 (1969)
co-created "Karl Lykos" with Neal Adams
(becomes "Sauron" in X-MEN #60 (1969) co-created with Neal Adams)

Savage Land Mutates (Group)

Lorelei (Lani Ubana)

X-Men #62 (1969)
co-created with Neal Adams

Scarlet Centurion
(Nathaniel Richards of Earth-6311)

Avengers Annual #2 (1968)
co-created with Don Heck and Werner Roth

 Scarlet Scarab
(Abdul Faoul) 

Invaders #23 (1977)
co-created with Frank Robbins

Scarlet Scarab is an early "Muslim hero" and an Egyptian nationalist in 1942.  He had as little use for the British as for the Germans.  He was a homage to the Blue Beetle, which was the second comic I ever wrote.


Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #17 (1990)
co-created with Jean-Marc Lofficier and Geof Isherwood

Franz Schneider

Invaders #35 (1978) 
co-created with Alan Kupperberg and Don Heck


Marvel Premiere #16 (1974)
co-created with Len Wein and Larry Hama

Serpent Crown
(Helmet of Power, Naga Crown) 

Tales to Astonish #101 (1968)
co-created with Marie Severin

The Naga Crown--or Serpent Crown, as I generally called it--was an artifact that gave the wearer great powers, obtained supposedly from the god-figure Naga, who was in many ways the equivalent of the god Set in Robert E. Howard's Hyborian mythology.  The powers it bestowed tended to vary--perhaps attuned to the particular wearer--but the ultimate aim was for the wearer to come under the sway of Naga. 


Mighty Thor #240 (1975)
co-created with Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema
(based on Egyptian mythology)

SHIELD Super-Agents (Team)

Blue Streak (Don Thomas)
Marvel Boy (Wendall Vaughn)*
Texas Twister (Drew Daniels)**
Vamp/Animus (Denise Baranger)

**Fantastic Four #177 (1976)

co-created with Michael Friedrich and George Perez

Captain America #217 (1978)
co-created with Donald Glut and John Buscema
(Team First Appearance)

*renamed as "Quasar" in INCREDIBLE HULK #234 (1979) by Roger Stern


Marvel Feature #4 (1972)
co-created with Mike Friedrich and Herb Trimpe

Shou-Lao the Undying

Marvel Premiere #16 (1974)
co-created with Len Wein and Larry Hama

Shu-Hu the One

Marvel Premiere #15 (1974)
co-created with Gil Kane


Mighty Thor #275 (1978)
co-created with John Buscema
(based on Norse mythology)

Silent Joe

Marvel Feature #4 (1972)
co-created with Mike Friedrich and Herb Trimpe


Dr. Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #22 (1990)
co-created with Jean-Marc Lofficier and Lee Weeks

Sir Raam II

Marvel Premiere #1 (1972)
co-created with Gil Kane


Sub-Mariner #29 (1970) 
co-created with Sal Buscema
(based on Greek mythology)

Sleipnir (Horse Deity)

Mighty Thor #274 (1978)
co-created with John Buscema
(based on Norse mythology)


Marvel Two-In-One Annual #1 (1976)
co-created with Sal Buscema

Son of Satan
(Daimon Hellstrom)

Ghost Rider #1 (1973)
co-created with Gary Friedrich and Herb Trimpe

Daimon Hellstrom is the Son of Satan, with his mother a human mortal.  In 1973 or so, Stan Lee decided he'd like to do a series called MARK OF SATAN, along the lines of TOMB OF DRACULA.  But I easily convinced him that that might not go down well with some religious people, since Satan (like Dracula) would sometimes have to come off as a hero... after all, even Milton made Satan into a sort of hero in "Paradise Lost."  So Stan left it to me, and I came up with SON OF SATAN, which he immediately approved.  I named the character Daimon Hellstrom, and (except for requiring that the hero have a trident) turned it over to writer Gary Friedrich and artist Herb Trimpe, who did a magnificent job in developing it.

Mego Stretch Hulk editorial interruption:  Herb Trimpe denies having anything to do with designing the character, claiming Roy and Gary alone designed Daimon Hellstrom and only brought him in as artist after the character was fully realized. Roy later said he realized that a 1960s fanzine character created by his friend Biljo White had looked very similar. He quoted in 2001:

"... I realized that name and basic concept had been a fanzine comic by a friend of mine, Biljo White, back in the early '60s! He [Daimon Hellstrom] wound up looking a lot like Biljo's character, by sheer coincidence, because I don't think Herb Trimpe and Gary Friedrich, who did the actual story, ever saw him and I don't think I described it much. The branded chest, a trident, and so forth... I think it just came out looking almost identical. I explained it to Biljo, and he understood, but it was really weird, because if you look at his old fanzine, it's almost the same character!" 

Sons of Satannish

Dr. Strange #175 (1968)
co-created with Gene Colan 

Soul Gem
(Infinity Stone) 

Marvel Premiere #1 (1972)
co-created with Gil Kane

I'm told that one of the Infinity Stones--the Soul Gem--was the jewel embedded in Adam Warlock's head in MARVEL PREMIERE #1, his origin.  But so far as I know, that was mostly just a design thing that artist Gil Kane came up with when we worked out the look of the character together one afternoon, I think after hours at the Marvel office... not intended to be anything special, or at least nothing definite.  Ironically, the same "design only" thing was true of the gem embedded in the forehead of the Vision when he first appeared in AVENGERS #57; it was only later that we gave it any kind of powers at all.

Candace "Candy" Southern

X-Men #31 (1967)
co-created with Werner Roth
"Candy" Southern was named after the heroine of the risque 1960s novel CANDY by Terry Southern, which was made into a fairly forgettable movie, though I think Ringo Starr of the Beatles may have made a cameo in it.

(Jackie Falsworth-Crichton) 

Invaders #7 (1976)
co-created with Frank Robbins

My concept of a WWII English character, though except for maybe a general discussion the costume was designed by Frank Robbins for THE INVADERS.  I wanted a vaguely fiery feel to her, since she got her powers from the Human Torch.

Split-Second Squad (Team)

Kronus (Wilkins)
Cornelius Van Lunt (Taurus)*
Cap'n Skragg
Joe the Gorilla
Sweet William

*Avengers #72 (1970)
 co-created with John Buscema

Avengers #77 (1970)
co-created with John Buscema
(Team first appearance) 

Squadron Sinister (Team)

Dr. Spectrum (Kinji Obatu)
The Green Lantern type of the Squadron Sinister, with primary colors overlapping on his chest to form a white "oval."  His belt/pants should probably have been black, or maybe blue to match his mask, instead of green.  The Power Prism was a takeoff on GL's Power Ring, of course.

Hyperion (Mr. Kant, Zhib-Ran)
The first of the 4 members of the Squadron Sinister I designed for THE AVENGERS, to be an evil counterpart of Superman, kind of a parody/homage.  I took the name from the Greek sun god, by way of the Shakespearean quote from HAMLET:  "...that was to this, Hyperion to a satyr."  I made sure that every costume line on Hyperion was different from those on Superman... boots, belt, length of sleeves, face mask, etc.  And I gave him a cape that only attached to one shoulder, after the look of a 1940s character called Dyna-Man in a Harry Chesler comic. 
Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond)
Fan Richard Kyle had once pulled a fandom hoax by making fanzine-publishers Don and Maggie Thompson print a piece about an old pulp magazine or some such thing called NIGHTHAWK... obviously supposed to be a precursor of Batman.  So as a joke, I took that name which had later, but not relatedly, been a DC cowboy character first introduced in WESTERN COMICS #5 (1948), and made it the name of the Batman homage in the Squadron Sinister. 
Whizzer (James Sanders)
This Squadron Sinister member was named after 1940s Timely hero who first appeared in USA COMICS #1 (1941), but with a different costume. 

Avengers #69 (1969)
co-created with Sal Buscema

This initial takeoff on 4 members of DC's Justice League was the result of writer Mike Friedrich suggesting to JLA writer Denny O'Neil and me, at a party at my apartment, that each of us find a way to slip the other's group into the comic he was writing.  A year later, I made up the good-guy equivalent of the Squadron Sinister, the better-known Squadron Supreme (see directly below), with additional characters made up by Len Wein and myself.  I drew the costumes of all four of these original Squadron Sinister members on the Romita-designed character sheets and gave them to artist Sal Buscema.  I was really disgusted about the change in all the Squadron Supreme costumes years later.  Mine were better... more importantly, they were the originals.  Why can't all these geniuses just make up new characters to go with the costumes in their heads?

Squadron Supreme (Team)

American Eagle (James Dore Jr.)
Dr. Spectrum (Joseph Ledger) 2nd incarnation**
Golden Archer (Wyatt McDonald)
Hyperion (Mark Milton) 2nd incarnation**
Lady Lark (Linda Lewis)
Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond) 2nd incarnation**
Tom Thumb (Thomas Thompson)
Whizzer (Stanley Stewart) 2nd incarnation**

Avengers #85 (1971)
co-created with Len Wein and John Buscema

I created/named the Squadron Supreme for AVENGERS #85, but I had Len Wein do an anonymous plot (to my vague specifications), so he is the co-creator of the characters introduced therein; American Eagle, Golden Archer, Lady Lark and Tom Thumb.  I always felt I suggested the American Eagle character as the Hawkman type, but I don't know if Len ever "remembered" that.  The others, though, were his particular ideas.  And of course more characters were added by other creators later on.

 **(the 2nd incarnation is the "heroic" version of the character that first appeared as a villain in the Squadron Sinister in AVENGERS #69 (1969) co-created with Sal Buscema, I designed the costume)

Starr the Slayer
Chamber of Darkness #4 (1970)
co-created with Barry Windsor-Smith

Starr came about before Marvel had thought seriously about licensing an Sword & Sorcery character.  I went to Barry Smith to be the artist, and he fleshed out my story of a barbarian hero who was the main character in prose stories written by a pulp-style author who wants to kill him off, so that the barbarian comes into our world and slays the author instead.  Barry and I later decided to carry the wonderful  helmet he designed for Starr, with the horns in front like a bull's instead of on the side, over to the early issues of CONAN THE BARBARIAN.

(Walter Newell)

Tales to Astonish #95 (1967)
co-created as "Walter Newell" with Raymond Marais and Bill Everett
(becomes "Stingray" in SUB-MARINER #19 (1969) co-created with Marie Severin)

I needed a villain for SUB-MARINER, and wanted an underwater type (just like others I devised, like Tiger Shark and Orka the Human Killer Whale and Commander Kraken) who created a costume for his sub-sea life.  I think Marie Severin designed the costume pretty much on her own.

Rick Strong

Patsy and Hedy #105 (1966)
co-created with Stan Goldberg

Bill Stuart

Giant-Size Invaders #1 (1975)
co-created with Frank Robbins 

(George Smith) 

Daredevil #58 (1969)
co-created with Gene Colan

(Shiro Yoshida) 

 X-Men #64 (1970)
co-created with Don Heck

I had Don Heck design the character from my verbal suggestion of a costume that was an embodiment of the imperial Japanese Rising Sun flag, as Japanese or Japanese-American.

Supreme One

X-Men #20 (1966)
co-created with Werner Roth (pseudonym Jay Gavin)

 Supreme Serpent
(Dan Dunn and Montague Hale)

Avengers #73 (1970)
co-created with Frank Giacoia and Herb Trimpe



Avengers #68 (1969)
co-created with John Buscema


Strange Tales #144 (1966)
co-created with Steve Ditko

M'Sieu Tete

Marvel Feature #4 (1972)
co-created with Mike Friedrich and Herb Trimpe


Mighty Thor Annual #7 (1978)
co-created with Walter Simonson
(based on Inca mythology)

(William Carver)

Daredevil #69 (1970) 
co-created as "William Carver" with Gene Colan
(becomes "Thunderbolt" in POWER MAN #41 (1977) created by Marv Wolfman and Lee Elias)


Fantastic Four #129 (1972)
co-created with John Buscema 

A 7-foot Amazon type that I conceived as an homage of sorts to characters like Kirby's Big Barda in his Fourth World by DC Comics.  I asked John Buscema to give her a bandolier around her torso because a number of women's-lib types were wearing them (sometimes with real bullets) in photos in newspapers and magazines.  The name Thundra, besides coming from "thunder," was probably inspired in part by Th'unda, the name of a jungle hero first drawn by Frank Frazetta and written by Gardner Fox.

Tiger Shark
(Todd Arliss) 

Sub-Mariner #5 (1968)
co-created with John Buscema

John Buscema designed him from my general description of a sharp-toothed guy with a fin on his costume.  As I recall, after John had penciled the first story, Stan had him alter the fin so that it was far larger and extended down his back.

(Greer Grant Nelson) 

The Cat #1 (1972)
co-created "Greer Nelson" with Stan Lee, Linda Fite and Marie Severin, 
(becomes "Tigra" in GIANT-SIZE CREATURES #1 (1974) co-created with Tony Isabella, Gil Kane, John Romita and Don Perlin)

In the early 1970s I co-plotted the first issue of THE CAT with Linda Fite, whom I assigned to be the scripter after Stan Lee came up with the name and very general concept.  Later, that character, Greer Nelson, was transmogrified into Tigra the Werewoman, with script by Tony Isabella.  Frankly, I've always thought that I had something to do with the "Tigra the Werewoman" name and concept, but Tony doesn't seem to recall and neither do I.  By the time Tigra came out, anyway, I had left the editor-in-chief job.

Mego Stretch Hulk editorial interruption:  Roy's forgetting a little bit here on the creation of Tigra (hey, she had a ton of contributors to her creation, so I'll forgive him).  Her first writer, Tony Isabella, described the process in the afterword for Tigra's first appearance in GIANT-SIZE CREATURES #1:  

"When the plot was finished, Roy (Thomas, Marvel's Editor-in-Chief) called in Gil Kane to design the new character.  Gil's original sketch, done while Roy and I prompted him, is reproduced here.  You can see where Gil showed us that a lion has a different nose than a tiger.  Not only is Gil a pretty fair artist, he knows his zoology.  With some additional work by Gil, John Romita, and Don Perlin, Tigra's appearance was finalized."

Time Keepers (Group)


Avengers West Coast #61 (1990)
 co-created with Jean-Marc Lofficier, Dann Thomas and Paul Ryan
(rechristened, redefined and reinvented group that first appeared in MIGHTY THOR #282 (1979) created by Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio and Keith Pollard)

Named & developed with Jean-Marc Lofficier (as "R.J.M. Lofficier") for AVENGERS WEST COAST #61, from an unnamed group seen in one panel of MIGHTY THOR #282, written by Mark Gruenwald.  Jean-Marc, at my behest, did some plotting of the Immortus-connected flashbacks so that I could try to make sense of a confusing, ongoing time-paradox storyline which John Byrne had left behind when he abruptly quit the title the issue before, in the middle of the story.  The Marvel editor, if he had any idea of where Byrne intended to take the story (he probably didn't), did not share it with me.  We also conceived the idea of the Nexuses, which was used in the Disney+ series WandaVision.

The Time Keepers oversee and guide various alternative time scenarios to keep things flowing smoothly.  While Mark Gruenwald utilized them afterward in a couple of issues of QUASAR, Jean-Marc and I developed them quite a bit further in our five-issue, more or less continued WHAT IF? sequence in issues #35-39.  Material currently being used in the Disney+ series Loki seems based as much on what Jean-Marc and I did as what Mark did... though neither of us would want to deny him due credit.

Incidentally, I had earlier made up a funny-animal character called the Time Keeper for two issues of DC's CAPTAIN CARROT & HIS AMAZING ZOO CREW! in the early 1980s, although Scott Shaw! did most of the writing of the actual story, which he also drew. Check out the DC Comics List in this database.

Titans Three (Group)

Sub-Mariner #34 (1971)
 co-created with Sal Buscema
(Hulk-land, Namor-sea, and Silver Surfer-air)

Stan Lee toyed briefly with the idea, after that full-issue Hulk/Sub-Mariner fight in TALES TO ASTONISH #100 (1968) with making them a permanent "team" called The Invaders.  He soon changed his mind, though.  "Titans Three" was never intended to be called anything else... although when he decided it might make the basis of a new series (with Dr. Strange replacing the Silver Surfer), Stan decided he wanted that new group/non-group to be called The Defenders.  It was an odd coincidence (mostly because I was writing all three books; DR. STRANGE, THE INCREDIBLE HULK and SUB-MARINER) that I already had a crossover storyline where Doc teamed up with the Hulk and Sub-Mariner (SUB-MARINER #22 and THE INCREDIBLE HULK #126 both released in 1970).  But it WAS just a coincidence, I'm sure, when Stan picked Doc Strange to replace the Surfer in the Defenders.


Daredevil #59 (1969)
co-created with Gene Colan  

Lawrence Trask

X-Men #57 (1969)
co-created with Neal Adams

(Charles Bernard "Barney" Barton) 

Avengers #64 (1969)
co-created with Gene Colan 


Captain Marvel #18 (1969)
co-created with Gil Kane and John Buscema

Triumvirate of Terror (Team)

Hammerhead (Louis Browning)
Piledriver (Jerome Whale)
Thunderboot (Moses Lewton)

Avengers #39 (1967)
co-created with  Don Heck

Tsiln (Race)

Amazing Spider-man #103 (1971)
co-created with Gil Kane  


Avengers #49 (1968)
co-created with John Buscema
(based on Greek mythology) 



Invaders #3 (1975)
co-created with Frank Robbins


Avengers #36 (1967)
co-created with Don Heck 

(Group of alien robots)

Avengers #36 (1967)
co-created with Don Heck


Avengers #55 (1968)
co-created with John Buscema
(first mentioned in AVENGERS #54 (1968)) 

When I decided to make a self-aware robot the next AVENGERS foe, I sent John Buscema the image of a similar menace from a 1951 issue of the Fawcett comic CAPTAIN VIDEO, which was loosely based on an early TV show.  That killer robot's name was Machino.  I named him "Ultron"--which I thought at least was an improvement on "the Ultroids," the meaningless robots I'd used in one of the first AVENGERS issues I had plotted.

 Umar the Unrelenting

Strange Tales #150 (1966)
co-created with Bill Everett

Undying Ones (Race)

Dr. Strange #183 (1969)
co-created with Gene Colan 

 Union Jack
(Brian Falsworth)

Invaders #18 (1977)
co-created as "Brian Falsworth" with Frank Robbins
(becomes 2nd "Union Jack" in INVADERS #21 (1977) co-created with Frank Robbins, the 1st Union Jack was Lord Montgomery Falsworth who first appeared in INVADERS #7 (1975), listed in the Marvel Part 1 List under "F" as the "Freedom's Five (Team)" listing)

I knew just what I wanted this WWI and WWII English hero to look like--a walking Union Jack flag--so I drew that costume on one of the "hero layouts" or stats that John Romita had designed for such purposes.  Frank Robbins was the first person to draw the character on the actual page (from my sketch), and then I was lucky enough to get Jack Kirby to draw the cover.  Wish I'd saved my original "drawing." 

Ursa the Man-Bear

Red Wolf #4 (1972)
co-created with Syd Shores


Mighty Thor #272 (1978)
co-created with John Buscema
(based on Norse mythology)  



Avengers #83 (1970)
co-created with John Buscema
(based on Norse mythology) 

I wanted a sort of female Thor, but of course at first I just made her a disguise of the Enchantress in THE AVENGERS.  I left the look mostly to John Buscema, though I may have said I wanted her to be blonde.  Dissatisfied with that first story, I made up a second (visually identical) Valkyrie in THE INCREDIBLE HULK (that was in issue #142 and "Scrapper 142" was the nickname given to the Valkyrie in the "Thor: Ragnarok" movie from 2017), as the alternate identity of a modern-day woman.  When Steve Englehart took over THE DEFENDERS, for some reason he gave the Valkyrie persona a third alternative identity, another modern woman.

(Jack Van Nyborg)

Incredible Hulk #126 (1970)
co-created with Herb Trimpe

Abigail Verpoorten

Avengers Spotlight #38 (1990)
co-created with Dann Thomas and June Brigman 

Hoder Vilison

Mighty Thor #274 (1978)
co-created with John Buscema
(first mentioned in SAVAGE TALES #4 (1974), based on Norse mythology) 


Mighty Thor Annual #7 (1978)
co-created with Walter Simonson 


Avengers #57 (1968)
co-created with John Buscema
(rechristened, redefined, and reinvented character named "The Vision" ("Aarkus"), first appeared in MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #13 (1940) created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby)

I thought about bringing the old Joe Simon and Jack Kirby Timely hero the Vision into THE AVENGERS, but when Stan Lee finally told me I could introduce a new character into the Avengers, as opposed to bringing in Hercules or Black Panther or Black Widow, he didn't like the Vision enough to approve that idea, and told me that he wanted the new Avenger to be an android.  He didn't tell me why, and I never asked.  So, I introduced an android, but made him a modern Vision, with a costume I asked John Buscema to alter a bit.  I suspect I suggested a cowl instead of a bald head, although the jewel on his forehead (now so important in the films) may have been either my idea or, I suspect, a design elements tossed in by John.  I did ask him to give Vision a chest symbol--a diamond--as a focal point, because he could make his body hard as diamond.  I took that from the WWII comic hero Spy-Smasher.



Avengers #62 (1969)
co-created with John Buscema


Marvel Super-Heroes #12 (1993)
co-created with Jean-Marc Lofficier, Stuart Hopen and Brian Postman


X-Men #30 (1967)
co-created with Jack Sparling
(rechristened character named "Mad Merlin," first appeared in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #96 (1963) created by Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein and Joe Sinnott) 

Adam Warlock 

Marvel Premiere #1 (1971)
co-created with Gil Kane
(rechristened, redefined, and reinvented character named "Him," first appeared in FANTASTIC FOUR #66 (1967) created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)

Gil Kane, who designed the costume with my input and who suggested he have the first name "Adam" to my "Warlock"--the concept was partly a takeoff on Kirby's Fourth World, but mainly a response to my love of the record album "Jesus Christ Super-Star," before it became a Broadway musical and movie.

Warrior Woman
(Julia Koenig)

Invaders #16 (1977)
co-created as "Julia Koenig" with Jim Mooney
(becomes "Warrior Woman" in INVADERS #17 (1977) co-created with Frank Robbins)

Werewolf by Night
(Jack Russell) 

Marvel Spotlight #2 (1972)
co-created with Jean Thomas, Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog

When the Code allowed werewolves again, I knew Stan Lee would like Marvel to have one.  I made up a series I called "I, Werewolf," which would be narrated by a teenage werewolf, obviously a combination of Spider-Man and the 1950s hit "I Was a Teenage Werewolf."  My then wife Jean helped me work out the precise plot for the first issue.  I then turned that plot over to Gerry Conway to write and Mike Ploog to draw.  

Sally Weston

Daredevil #64 (1970)
co-created with Gene Colan

Bill Wheeler

Daredevil #65 (1970)
co-created with Gene Colan

(David Cannon) 

Avengers #46 (1967)
co-created with  John Buscema
(rechristened character named "The Human Top," first appeared in TALES TO ASTONISH #50 (1963) created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) 

White Gorilla Cult (Group)

Avengers #62 (1969) 
co-created with John Buscema

James "Jim" Wilson

Incredible Hulk #131 (1970)
co-created with Herb Trimpe 

Tom Wolfe

Dr. Strange #180 (1969)
  homage to late author, first drawn by Gene Colan

(James "Logan" Howlett a.k.a. Weapon X)
Incredible Hulk #180 (1974)
co-created with Len Wein and John Romita
 (Click the picture to read the history of the creation of Wolverine)


Xeron the Star-Slayer

Incredible Hulk #136 (1971)
co-created with Gerry Conway and Herb Trimpe


(Henry "Hank" Pym) 

Avengers #59 (1968)
co-created with John Buscema
(revamped costume for character named "Henry Pym" who first appeared in TALES TO ASTONISH #27 (1962) created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby) 

Tomo Yoshida

X-Men #64 (1970)
co-created with Don Heck

Yu-Ti the Dragon Lord

Marvel Premiere #15 (1974)
co-created with Gil Kane


(Spirit of Vengence) 

Marvel Spotlight #5 (1972)
co-created with Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog 

Helmut Zemo
(The Phoenix, Baron Zemo II)

Captain America #168 (1973)
co-created with Tony Isabella and Sal Buscema 

(Rock 'n' Roll Group)

Charles Chandler IV
Cord Ryan

Patsy and Hedy #104 (1966) 
co-created with Al Hartley

Zodiac Cartel (Team)

Aquarius (Darren Bentley)
Aries (Grover Raymond)
Cancer (Jack Kleveno)
Capricorn (Willard Weir)
Gemini (Joshua Link)
Leo (Daniel Radford)
Libra (Gustav Brandt)
Pisces (Noah Perricone)
Sagittarius (Harlan Vargas)
Scorpio (Jacob "Jake" Fury)*
Taurus (Cornelius van Lunt)
Virgo (Elaine McLaughlin)

Avengers #72 (1970)
co-created with Sal Buscema

*character created by Jim Steranko 

(Simon William Garth)

Tales of the Zombie #1 (1973)
co-created with Steve Gerber and John Buscema
(developed character named "Zombie," first appeared in MENACE #5 (1953) created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett)

Zusommin (Team) 

Decimator (Lachlan Carroll)
 Dreadlox (Estelle Hawkins)*
Macabre (Maggie Langella)
Stasis (Lester Selkirk)
Tokama (Willie Tamm)

Secret Defenders #1 (1993)
co-created with Andre Coates 

 *co-created with Dann Thomas and Andre Coates



 All New, All Different Uncanny X-Men

 Giant-Size X-Men #1 (1975)

In mid-1974, in a Marvel editorial meeting consisting of myself (as editor-in-chief), publisher Stan Lee, president Al Landau, and production manager John Verpoorten—and possibly art director John Romita—Landau ventured the opinion that it might be smart for Marvel to launch a mag featuring a team of super-heroes from various foreign lands in which Marvel wanted to sell more comics.  All present immediately realized the notion’s worth.  Sure, it would also benefit Landau’s company Transworld—but all that really mattered was that it would probably be a good thing for Marvel.  Since Stan and I (more so me) had been consciously looking for a way to revive the X-Men, who hadn’t had their own mag for nearly half a decade—and since I had already co-created a Canadian-originated character called the Wolverine with Len Wein and John Romita in an issue of THE INCREDIBLE HULK—I at once proposed a new version of THE X-MEN comicbook, in which a couple of the original team members would go on a worldwide hunt to gather mutants from various nations.  Stan instantly approved the idea…  I quickly assigned the writer Mike Friedrich and artist Dave Cockrum to develop the concept…  and the result, some months later was GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 (May, 1975), although by then I had resigned as editor-in-chief, and new color-comics head Len Wein had decided to script the new series himself.

Avengers Logo

Avengers #96 (1972)

If I recall a-right, sometime around 1969 Stan had a house letterer design the new MIGHTY AVENGERS logo that curved in from both sides. I never liked it, and soon found an excuse to revert to the old logo, designed (like the original FF one) by Sol Brodsky, which I considered to be lackluster but at least serviceable.  But then, in the early 1970s, Gaspar Saladino, who lettered occasionally for Marvel though he was mostly a DC guy, asked me if I didn’t want a new logo.  I told him I sure did.  He came up with the new logo with the arrow in the “A,” which I got Stan Lee to okay, and some version of it has often been used since.  Somewhere along the line, it became the basis of the movie series’ logo, probably because it was the only AVENGERS logo with any real character.  Which makes sense, since the late Gaspar Saladino was very MUCH a character.

Black Leopard

Fantastic Four #119 (1972)

Just as I was about to bring the Black Panther into a FANTASTIC FOUR issue, in a story that mocked apartheid in South Africa (which I called "Rudyarda" in the story), Stan Lee decided to try a new tack with T'Challa.  He'd been frustrated at the confusion between the Black Panther character and the only slightly later Black Panther group... so he told me to rechristen T'Challa "the Black Leopard."  I did so as best I could, but I didn't like the idea.... even though the black panther and the black leopard are 100% the same animal.  Soon afterward, Stan decided that hadn't been such a good idea, so when T'Challa was brought into the Avengers (probably Stan's idea, one I concurred with), he had me just call him "the Panther."  That worked for a while.  Not sure when the character got transitioned back into being called "the Black Panther."  

Black Widow Joins the Avengers

Avengers #36 (1966)

When I took over the plotting of THE AVENGERS with issue #36 in late 1966, I decided that the Black Widow--both because she would be another female presence in the group, and because she already had a relationship with Hawkeye--should join the group.  Besides, I liked her then-outfit, which reminded me of DC's Black Canary. So she and Hawkeye waltz in near the start of #36, and I kept her around for some time, even if I don't recall ever having it said that she had formally become an Avenger.  Certainly, the high point of that period, Widow-wise, was the introduction of the Red Guardian and the revelation that he had been her husband.

Bruce Banner and the Hulk become separated for the first time

Incredible Hulk #130 (1970)

I thought it might be interesting to actually split Bruce Banner and the Hulk into two separate bodies/entities, since no one had done that before.  I suppose the idea was inspired by stories in which that had happened to Superman and Clark Kent... or maybe it was like the original Captain Marvel trying to kill Billy Batson.  I wish I'd kept them that way for a bit longer and explore more possibilities.

Captain America gets retconned

Captain America #153 (1972)

Although I thought Stan Lee's idea of treating Captain America as if he'd been in suspended animation in an iceberg since 1945 was brilliant, it always bothered me--both as fan and later as pro--that this ignored all the 1945-1949 and 1953-54 Captain America stories, the more so after we began reprinting the 1950s stories in MARVEL SUPER-HEROES.  So, I suggested to Steve Englehart that he deal with that problem in CAPTAIN AMERICA.  What he did with the 1950s Cap was very well done, although I'll admit it pained me to see that Cap treated as a deranged maniac... still, it made a certain kind of logical sense and, more important, a good story. But Steve, whether on purpose or because he forgot part of what we discussed, didn't deal with the late-1940s Cap.  In the long run, I was happy that it didn't, because I got a chance myself to handle that aspect of things in WHAT IF #4, which I announced at the time was canonical and not really a "what if" story at all.

Captain Marvel's Green Costume

Marvel Super-Heroes #12 (1967)

When Stan Lee worked up the first story of Marvel's first Captain Marvel in 1967, at publisher Martin Goodman's direction, he left the character to artist Gene Colan to design.  Gene did a basically good job on an outfit that was half super-hero costume, half space-suit... but it was lacking something, I told Stan:  a chest symbol.  He told me to give him one, so I drew (I think on one of Gene's penciled drawings) a Saturn-like ringed planet that would be the home world of the Kree.  If I'd left things there, with that chest symbol and then taking over the scripting with the second story, it would've been all well and good.  But for some reason, I also gave Stan two (or perhaps three) suggested color schemes for the costume--I don't think he'd asked me to, I just did it.  One or more were composed of primary colors (red, yellow, blue, as I recall)... but for some reason I also turned in one that was white and green, based I think on memories of seeing stories of the DC hero the Spectre... and memories of SUPERMAN b&w ad that I had colored that way as a kid.  For some obscure reason, Stan liked the green and white version and used it... and I've hated myself ever since for suggesting those colors.  To me, he looks like he's wearing white longjohns.  When I worked with Gil Kane to redesign his costume in 1969, I made sure we had primary colors that time.

Captain Marvel's Red Costume

Captain Marvel #16 (1969)

On the morning at home that I came up with the idea for revamping Mar-Vell as a science-fictional "answer" to the Big Red Cheese and got Stan by phone to approve both the idea and my taking over the strip from Archie Goodwin, I almost immediately made a drawing of the character's new look.  Basically, it was a tracing or re-rendering of Jerry Robinson's cover figure for his 1946 ATOMAN comic, a look I'd always loved.  What I came up with wasn't exactly the same costume... certainly not in the color scheme... not sure if I kept the cape or not, etc.... but kept the general look, mask, and the sunburst-type chest symbol.  That was all set to be the look until, a couple of days later, before Don Heck had even drawn the new costume that was to be introduced in his and Archie's final issue, Gil Kane waltzed into Stan by sheer coincidence and told him he'd really like to become the artist of Marvel's CAPTAIN MARVEL and see if the character could be salvaged.  Stan told him that I (whom he barely knew) was in the process of revamping the character, but that he was sure I'd love to have him join the team as artist.  (I presume at that time the plan was for Don Heck to stay on as artist.)  Being a big Kane fan--far bigger than Stan was, certainly--I was happy with the idea, and all materials for the first post-Heck issue were turned over to Gil to draw.  Somewhere along the line, I recall that he and I sat down with my sketch and Gil showed me the ways he'd like to alter the look still further.  I remember going all with most if not all of his suggestions, since the important thing to me was a new look to go along with the new storyline, and Gil's amended visual version worked at least as well as what I'd envisioned.  He then went off and drew the story, with some help from his young assistant Roger Brand in breaking the story down... and both he and Roger sent me word a bit later, separately, how much they had liked the new concept.  Gil's and my friendship and closeness dated from that time...and the original art for the splash page from that first Kane CAPTAIN MARVEL issues hangs in the foyer of our house.  Our five issues did quite well, brought the book back from the brink of oblivion... even if, after those few issues, we had to turn the book over to other hands.

Colonel Bernardo

Incredible Hulk #181 (1974)

Colonel Bernardo first appeared on one page in INCREDIBLE HULK #181 by Len Wein and Herb Trimpe.  He was the commanding officer of Department H who first refers to Wolverine as "Weapon X" and a "mutant" but was only called "sir" and never given a proper name or seen again. When I wrote X-MEN LEGENDS #1-2 in 2022, it was a backstory of events that happened between HULK #181, 182 and GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1.  I wanted to put my friend and manager John Cimino in the story, so I brought back that character and named him after John.  "Bernardo" is John's middle name.

Mego Stretch Hulk editorial interruption:  Click on this link to read Roy's story behind this in detail:  X-Men Legends Solved a Nearly 50-Year-Old Wolverine Costume Mystery (

Connecting the Eternals to the Marvel Universe 

Mighty Thor #283 (1979)

Jack Kirby, who created, wrote, and penciled THE ETERNALS series (which wasn't a limited run, it was an open-ended series in the mid '70s that merely got canceled at some stage). By Marvel's own suggestion, I did a series in THOR (begun with John Buscema) that was specifically designed to bring the Eternals into the Marvel Universe, something Jack had not wanted to do while he was handling the series.  It began with THOR #283 in 1979, and ran for a number of issues, accomplishing its purpose.  A recent article gave Neil Gaiman credit for this circa 1990, but I did it--at Marvel's behest, ten years before that.

Cyclops' Optic Power 

X-Men #43 (1968)

I don't really recall much about the explanation of Cyclops' optic power... except that the term about his lenses being made of "ruby quartz"--I had no idea whether that was a real thing, let alone which it was chosen--showed up in penciler Werner Roth's notes for one issue.  I recall thinking, without any real evidence, that maybe Werner and Stan Lee had discussed that during the one issue Werner penciled for Stan, or during that very brief period when I was taking over the scripting and Werner was somehow slated by himself and Stan to be the plotter.  I probably went along with the "ruby quartz" idea as much out of not wishing to offend Werner (from whom, after all, I had basically wrested control of the direction of the feature, subject to Stan) as much as anything.  It seemed to work out.  What difference did it really make what those lenses were made of, etc.?  Oh, and I don't recall anything at all about the "solar energy" thing, though that sounds like me rather than Werner at that stage.  They didn't really work in real life anyway! 

Death of a Legend

Epic Illustrated #34 (1986)

For EPIC ILLUSTRATED #34, I decided to do an actual story about Robert E. Howard's suicide.  I assigned talented artist Sandy Plunkett to draw the story, which follows the events of the last few minutes of REH's life in 1936 closely--then shows how all the fictitious worlds he had mentally created for Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane, El Borak, et al., were splintered into a thousand pieces when he pulled the trigger of that pistol in his family's driveway in Cross Plains, Texas.  The only thing that didn't go as planned was that, in the two-page spread in which Howard shoots himself, the images of all his heroes and worlds were supposed to be shattered, like glass struck by a big rock.  Sandy didn't draw it that way, and (whether by accident or on purpose) editor Archie Goodwin didn't follow through with my instructions to create the shattered effect by means of Photostats, on omission which I've always felt greatly undercut the effect of the climax.  However, it's still a beautiful piece of work.  Far as I know, Robert E. Howard didn't reappear as a character in comics until I wrote the REH/Conan "crossover" story in SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #200 (1992).

  Death of Gwen Stacy

Amazing Spider-Man #121 and 122 (1973)

Soon after Gerry Conway became the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN writer, he and John Romita came to me with the idea that, to shake up the series, they proposed having Gwen Stacy die.  I was never certain if it was equal-parts the idea of them both, and it hardly mattered.  I had some reservations, naturally, but became convinced it would be a big event that might be worth doing... might restore some of the incipient tragedy that had been a part of the earlier SPIDER-MAN series, so the three of us bearded Stan Lee in his lair (office) and proposed the idea.  He was not in favor of it, but, faced with an idea put forward by the writer and (probably more important) artist/guiding spirit John Romita, and backed by the editor-in-chief, he went along with it.  His forgetting about his acquiescence later was, I suppose, mostly his way of coping with the fact that he'd never liked the notion in the first place.  But, nearly a half century on, it's still a much-remembered and much-referenced story, which perhaps proves something or other.

Mego Stretch Hulk editorial interruption:  As every Spider-man fan knows, the death of Gwen Stacy was a monumental moment in Marvel history and is responsible for taking comics out of the "Silver Age" and ushering in the "Bronze Age" of comics.  The reader fan mail that swamped the Marvel offices was crazy and many letters besides insults, rantings and even death threats demanded to know if Gwen was already dead before her fall by the hands of the Green Goblin or was it Spidey's attempt to catch her that caused it.  Roy wrote the shocking answer in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #125:

"It saddens us to say that the whiplash effect she underwent when Spidey's webbing stopped her so suddenly was, in fact, what killed her.  In short, it was impossible for Peter to save her.  He couldn't have swung down in time; the action he did take resulted in her death; if he had done nothing, she still would certainly have perished."

Dr. Strange's Blue Mask Costume

Doctor Strange #177 (1969)

I decided--and I'm pretty sure I okayed this with Stan Lee, though it was my idea--to alter Doc's costume to make it a bit more super-heroish, and to have his face transformed into a blue more alien-looking visage.  In that sense, I designed it visually, telling Gene Colan pretty precisely what to do... but I didn't draw a picture, so far as I recall, so Gene had some leeway.  His version looked almost exactly like what I'd seen in my head, though... sort of like when I did the same for such costumes as Red Wolf's.

First African-American superhero to get his own comicbook title

  Hero for Hire #1 (1972)
In 1971, when the success of the movie "Shaft" had reached an interracial audience, Stan Lee decided it was time to go beyond the African Black Panther and Captain America's partner the Falcon as a support character.  I think he briefly toyed with the notion of a FALCON comicbook--how could not, NOT have?--but probably felt the Falcon was better off where he was, and that he was perhaps not as strong a character as was needed.  When he mentioned that he wanted to work up a new African-American super-hero who would be a bit different and would start right out in his own comic, he asked me for my suggestions as to the writer.  I didn't feel I should do the character myself--I had plenty on my plate--so I suggested Archie Goodwin, although Gerry Conway, Len Wein, and others must've crossed my (and Stan's) mind.  Archie, Stan, and I--with John Romita perhaps present, I can't recall--spent a half hour or so in deliberations within the next day or so, and each of us contributed something to the mix.  Stan's was definitely the guiding hand, because he knew he wanted a super-hero who was off the beaten track, off to make a living at crime-fighting (a la a private eye), and with a different look or feel than a typical super-hero, even a Marvel one.  Romita helped provide that, of course, with the outfit that was perfectly suited to the 1970s (whatever anyone may think of it now), including the chains.  Stan was looking for a name for the character, and I suggested Cage--which later I realized I'd seen some time before on a list of potential character names Gil Kane had shown me and had consciously forgotten about.  (Archie would add the "Luke" when he did the script later.)  Stan wanted an untypical name for the mag, too... not a usual super-hero name, but something indicating what he was.  I'd recently written an AVENGERS issue titled "Heroes for Hire," so I suggested HERO FOR HIRE as the title.  As for powers, I suggested he be very strong and bulletproof, though bullets could cause him some discomfort by raising temporary welts on his skin, etc.... Philip Wylie's GLADIATOR was my main inspiration here, though Stan and I agreed that we didn't want him to have Hugo Danner's leaping abilities (which had been borrowed by Superman years before).  Archie, I believe, came up with the precise escaped-innocent-prisoner concept, though Stan probably contributed to that as well.  And out of that committee of three (four, counting John's concept sketch) was Luke Cage, Hero for Hire born.  George Tuska was brought in later, but he had no hand in the character's conceptualization.  I suggested Billy Mitchell be the inker, so he could make certain that the black characters looked authentic... and, since he was a rising newcomer, we all saw it as likely that he might pencil the strip later... which he briefly did, before moving on to the Black Panther series.  Thus did HERO FOR HIRE become the first black American hero to have his own comics title, and he's been around ever since.

First autograph I signed as a comicbook professional

New York Comic Con 1965
What can I say?  This is probably from Saturday, which was the shows first day, since that's the only day that Fox and Weisinger in particular would've been there (I don't know about Otto)... and I signed it. I'm sure I was proud to sign it right below that of Otto, who had been so kind and encouraging to me not only as a fanzine publisher in far-off Missouri but even after I came to NYC, particularly after I had abruptly quit working for Mort Weisinger, who was also his boss on Superman.  And here I am signing with Weisinger... the closest the two of us would ever come again after those two weeks when I first arrived... plus Gardner Fox, one of the two pros (the other was Julius Schwartz) most responsible for my getting together with Jerry Bails and thus being in on the ground floor at ALTER EGO.  Gardner, Julie, and Otto were considered the three "patron saints" of the first volume of ALTER EGO back in the 1960s, Otto in particular of my issues beginning with #7.  Otto and Gardner were both guys that Gil Kane was known to refer to as "sweet," and that was meant in a basically good way. No one that I know of ever called Mort Weisinger "sweet," but he was a talented guy who in many ways gave me my start... and I'm sorry he passed away, less than a decade later, so that we never had a chance to see if we had a professional relationship worth repairing. Probably not, though.

First comicbook story I wrote for Marvel

Modeling with Millie #44 (1965)
The Friday afternoon I went to work for Stan Lee, he handed me the fully-penciled original art to this comic, which was primarily a romance and romantic-adventure at that time, with a touch of humor... and told me he needed it scripted over the weekend.  I did so, indicating the word balloons and captions on transparent overlays.  He did a bit of rewriting (and, amusingly, neither he nor I thought to add any credit to that story), and it went out on Monday to a letterer.  Probably most of the plotting was done by penciler Stan Goldberg--who in the credits was generally "Stan G." paired with "Stan Lee"--so I became "Roy T." to keep the rhyme going.  After that, I wrote a number of issues of MODELING WITH MILLIE and MILLIE THE MODEL for the next few months.

First "kung fu" comic

Special Marvel Edition #15 (1973)

As far as I know, the first "kung fu" comic (at least at Marvel or DC) was SPECIAL MARVEL EDITION #15 featuring the first appearance of Shang-Chi, the master of kung fu... and while I made a tweak or two and championed it to Stan Lee, it was all the doing of Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin.  My main addition was including the hated Fu Manchu as well as a few other characters created by novelist Sax Rohmer... and getting rid of Shang-Chi's mustache.

First Marvel Bullpen Bulletin about me

Tales of Suspense #74 (1966)

This is the first Bullpen Bulletin about me which appeared in, among other places, TALES OF SUSPENSE #74 (Feb. 1966), which would've come out in November or so of '65, and been written a couple of months earlier, at the very least.

Mego Stretch Hulk editorial interruption:  I thought it would be interesting to also list another Bullpen Bulletin that Stan Lee wrote about Roy (which came out in comics cover-dated April 1967), that Roy got furious about. 

Here's Roy:

I complained to Stan prior to publication about the wording of this bulletin, because I didn't like the fact that he said I liked to "shoot my mouth off" (or whatever the precise wording was).  He was taken aback, as he hadn't meant it to be offensive.  Matter of fact, by sheer accident later, I overheard him talking with Sol Brodsky about the item in his office... I was at my own desk next door, but those walls weren't as thick as Stan thought, even though I wasn't trying to eavesdrop.  Stan, with Sol, just couldn't seem to understand why I found the wording offensive.  I thought he might drop the item entirely, but he left it just as it was... no changes.  I still resent it.

First Marvel Team-Up story

Marvel Team-Up #1 (1972)
MARVEL TEAM-UP was all Stan Lee's idea.  But he asked me to write the first issue, to start Spider-Man and the Human Torch, so I did... making it a rare Marvel Christmas story.

First Marvel Villain to headline a feature

Astonishing Tales #1 (1970)
First Marvel villain, yes... IF you don't count the semi-villainess Black Widow of the 1940s, who went around collecting souls for Satan.  But of course, there'd been several other villain headliners in the past, most especially the Claw (a.k.a. the Green Claw) in early Lev Gleason/Your Guide comics... I think Funnyman in one of those Rural Home-style comics was one, also.

Stan Lee felt that Dr. Doom, although a super-villain, was more popular than many of our heroes, so he might be able to carry off a series if it was handled right.  Although Wally Wood helped get the series off to a good start with stories he plotted and drew (probably with assistants) and I merely approved-in-advance, dialogued, and edited, it didn't last long.  Dr. Doom was best off as an antagonist of the F.F. and occasional others, not as the star of his own feature.

First professional interview

In-Depth (Summer 1967)
Here is a two-page interview I gave to the fanzine IN-DEPTH apparently in early to mid-1967, to interviewer Jon Wolf.  I post it merely as a curiosity, one of the first "interviews" I probably gave the fan press after working for one or two years at Marvel.  I was, of course, restricted from giving away much information about what was coming up, because Stan Lee had directed me not to do so.  So, I tried to do what little I could, and make a few jokes to make the interviewer feel he's gotten SOMETHING for his time, anyway.

First time I appeared in a comicbook

Fantastic Four Annual #5 (1967)
I was blown away and happy to see myself drawn in that humor filler and referred to as "Rascally Roy Thomas, muscle of the Midwest."  Jack had clearly picked up on my Missouri background.  Alas, for some reason, Stan took a dislike to that story, and wherever it was originally slated to appear, I recall that it sat on a shelf for at least a half year before it was put into that annual.  I think Stan was the only person around the entire office who didn't like that story, but of course he was the one that counted.

First time I appeared on a comicbook cover

Amazing Adventures #16 (1972)
Unfortunately, my first appearance on a comicbook cover doesn't show my pretty face, but I'm there watching the action in my Spider-man costume.

Mego Stretch Hulk editorial interruption:  For the full story on Roy's Spider-man costume click this link: 

Marvel Age #93 (1990)

I guess MARVEL AGE #93 is the first Marvel cover I was on (even if it wasn't really a comic) as "just Roy Thomas."  But I don't think I even knew anything about it until it came out and there I was, explaining how Larry Hama would be writing THE AVENGERS (the East Coast gang) and I'd be writing AVENGERS WEST COAST.

First time my name was mentioned on a comicbook cover

Not Brand Echh #1 (1967)
It was a thrill seeing my name (and my buddy Gary Friedrich's name) with humorous quotations attributed to them on that cover--but of course all that was actually written entirely by Stan.  We just got a free ride. 

First time the Holocaust is used in a Silver Age superhero story

Captain Marvel #19 (1969)

Neal Adams, Rafael Medoff and Craig Yoe put together a book for IDW called WE SPOKE OUT and Craig seems to feel my story in CAPTAIN MARVEL #19 was the first Silver Age super-hero story to use the Holocaust as a story element... although I've always said that story was Gil Kane's idea, though we did the plotting together from his kernel of an idea.  It had no particular significance to us that I ever heard Gil mention; he just thought it would be a good story, which it clearly was.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (1969)

In the late 1960s, Arnold Drake came in one morning for a meeting with Stan Lee.  He had recently come over from DC, where he'd co-created the Doom Patrol and Deadman, and had been given THE X-MEN to write, but he was looking for a new assignment and hoped to sell Stan on some new comic for him to do--only he didn't have any ideas to give him, far as I can recall.  When he stopped by my desk and we chatted for a few minutes, since I'd been enthusiastic about his coming to Marvel, I gave him one I'd been kicking around:  In an America conquered in the very near future by and divided between the USSR and Red China (in the mode of novels like THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE and, even more so, NOT THIS AUGUST), the only U.S. defenders are a guerrilla group.  I don't recall if they had any super-powers or not... my idea wasn't that far along.  Arnold liked the idea and said he'd bring it up to Stan.  When he came out a half hour or hour later, he said he had broached the idea, but Stan had immediately changed it so it was aliens who had conquered the Earth, with some humans and human-related guerrillas fighting them as "The Guardians of the Galaxy."  That was fine by me... now my original idea was back to me, if I wanted to push it at some future time (in some ways, I suppose it contributed to my conception of the "War of the Worlds" features a few years later).  Stan never seemed to remember that he had co-created not only Groot, who later became a Guardian, but the actual original idea--with Arnold Drake, the guy who would later often accuse him of swiping his Doom Patrol to make up the X-Men, a far-fetched conspiracy theory of his.  I didn't like the name "Guardians of the Galaxy," because DC already had a "Guardians of the Universe," but Stan liked the name, so it stayed.  I don't recall if I ever brought up the similarity to him, and Stan is unlikely to have noticed the "Universe" name when (rarely) he perused the DC comics that were sent to us.  So--do I consider myself a co-creator of the Guardians of the Galaxy concept?  Well, only indirectly. 

General Roy Thomas

Marvel Mini-Books (1966)
Apparently I was a comic character in the SGT. NICK FURY Marvel Mini-Book that was one of six mini-comics which sold for a dime in gumball machines.

Ghost writer for Stan Lee

Spider-man Newspaper Strip (2000-2019)

Sometime in the first few months of 2000, I dropped Stan Lee a line saying I'd love to do some work for Stan Lee Media, Stan's well-publicized and multi-staffed dot-com company, if he could ever use me.  He replied that, while he'd like to work with me again, I would've had to be around L.A. to work for SLM, but that, by coincidence, he really needed a writer to work with him on the SPIDER-MAN comic strip... to plot out and do the first-draft script of the seven-days-a-week King Features strip.  I said that sounded fine to me (even though I'd never really been wild about writing Spidey compared to the F.F., Avengers, Conan, etc.).  He replied with a chuckle that maybe I should wait till I heard his offer, because the money was so minuscule... just $300 a week.  I laughed, and told him that he had no idea how little money it cost me to live on my 40-acre place in the middle of South Carolina.  The mortgage and both our vehicles were paid off, so Dann and I had no expenses except what we spent month-to-month.  So a deal was quickly struck, and I went to work, with my first strip (a Monday, of course) appearing on July 17, 2000.  As it turned out, although I never got a raise in 18 1/2 years I basically ghost-wrote the strip until 2019.  I spent maybe two days a month writing four weeks' worth of strips, and another day 2 or 3 times a year doing outlines for upcoming storylines.

Mego Stretch Hulk editorial interruption:  Click on this link to read the entire story in detail:

(Clinton Francis "Clint" Barton) 

Avengers #64 (1969)
I just decided Hawkeye should have a name, and made it Clint Barton for no particular reason...  forgetting that we weren't supposed to use the name "Clint" because of lettering possibilities.

Here Comes the Spider-Man Song

Co-written with Gary Friedrich (1966)

Around the turn of 1966, while walking through Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich decided to write a "Spider-Man" song, starting with the line "Nobody loves you when you crawl along the wall" and building from there.  The song, titled "Here Comes the Spider-Man" preceded by some months the similarly titled (but otherwise totally different) theme song of the soon-forthcoming first "Spider-Man" TV cartoons.  A few weeks later, it was recorded, with their friend, Topps executive Len Brown, as producer, with Roy as vocalist and Gary on drums, plus a couple of studio guitarists, with two young women singing backup.  With Stan Lee's informal blessing, Roy and Gary had one unproductive meeting about it with an executive of Roulette Records, but it was then retired, as they had no formal permission from Marvel to do anything with it.  It was first played in public as the "Roy Thomas Day" festival in Jackson, Missouri, in February 2019.  Its first national airing was over the "Steve... and Cimino Says Boom!" Show on June 24, 2022.  Then it went back in the attic trunk.

Heroes for Hire (Team)

Power Man and Iron Fist #54 (1978)

"Heroes for Hire" was the name of a story I wrote in AVENGERS #77 (1970).  When Stan Lee was looking for a non-standard super-hero title for the book about Luke Cage, probably even before Archie Goodwin added the name Luke--a name that would emphasize the idea that this guy wanted to make super-heroing pay--I suggested HERO FOR HIRE, thinking of that title.  Stan liked it, and we kept it for a couple of years. It eventually became the name of the Power Man and Iron Fist duo team-up and evolved further from there.

Jack Kirby turns Roy Thomas into Sol Brodsky

What If #11 (1978)

For WHAT IF #11 I had an idea for a weird story:  "What if the Marvel Bullpen Had Become the Fantastic Four?"  The idea was that Stan Lee would become Mr. Fantastic, Jack Kirby the Thing, Flo Steinberg the Invisible Girl, and I myself the Human Torch.  I enlisted Jack Kirby to draw the story.  However, without consulting me, Jack altered things so that it was original production manager Sol Brodsky, not I, who became the Torch.  At first, I was unhappy about this and considered getting the art changed.  However, I soon decided that Jack's idea (even if handled in an insubordinate way) was better than mine:  Sol Brodsky had been around at the time of FF #1 (while I hadn't come along till four years later); indeed, Sol had designed the FF logo and had even inked issues #3 &4.  So, I let it stand, and I'm very pleased with the result.  It's enough that I had the idea for what became Jack Kirby's final FF story.

Kree-Skrull War

Avengers #89-97 (1971-1972)

In the early 1970s, a few years after Stan Lee and Jack Kirby co-created the Kree (first the Sentry, then Ronan the Accuser) and Stan had devised CAPTAIN MARVEL with Gene Colan, it occurred to me that the Kree and the Skrulls were two major aggressive races tooling around out among the galaxies, and that it was not unlikely that they would end up in a war.  And so, influenced by Raymond Jones' mid-1950s novel THIS ISLAND EARTH (but not the horrible movie made from it), I set about, with Stan's blessing, to launch what became known eventually as the Kree-Skrull War.  Sal Buscema and I did the first few preliminary issues; and about the time that it needed to go into high gear, by an amazing stroke of luck, along came Neal Adams.  Sal, Neal, and John Buscema between them helped make that sequence of AVENGERS issues one of the most influential in Marvel history.

Marvel Bullpen and friends

Sub-Mariner #19 (1969)
The Bullpen personnel on the splash page of SUB-MARINER #19 were all drawn by Marie Severin, without prior consultation with me or, far as I know, anybody else.  She just drew them.  Above the unconscious Namor is John Verpoorten (with camera); behind him is Marie Severin herself; to her right, with glasses, is me--Roy Thomas; below me is, Morrie Kuramoto; leaning over Namor is Gary Friedrich; crouching behind him in an orange bikini is Jean Thomas; at top, running towards the group, is Tony Mortellaro; the bald guy at top right in a baby blue shirt is Larry Lieber (the man holding the child and woman with red hat surrounding Larry are Marie's friends); waving to the reader at middle right in a grey long sleeve shirt is Stu Schwartzberg; lower down, in the yellow Hawaiian t-shirt, is Sol Brodsky; beside him with the red towel is Jack Kirby; behind Jack in light green is Don Heck; grinning at the reader above the credits in orange is Bill Everett (Namor's creator); gasping in awe in the striped tank top is Herb Trimpe; above Herb, with the goatee, is Stan Lee; behind Stan is Nancy Murphy; beside Stan is John Romita (with white towel); the lady with the green bathing cap next to John Verpoorten is Susan Lane; behind Susan is Frank Giacoia.

Marvel Multiverse

Avengers Annual #2 (1968), Avengers #70 (1969) and Avengers #85 (1971)
The first use of parallel versions of Earth published at Marvel would be THE AVENGERS ANNUAL #2 (1968), in which I had the new Avengers meet the original Avengers of another plane.  (This, of course, does not count the Steve Ditko Dr. Strange dimensions, or spheres such as the Negative Zone to which the F.F. had already traveled).  The second would be the introduction of the Squadron Sinister in AVENGERS #70 which lead into AVENGERS #80 with the introduction of the Squadron Supreme.  Of course, Julius Schwartz and Gardner Fox had started it all with FLASH #123 back in 1961...

Merry Marvel Marching Society 

Two-Gun Kid #82 (1966)
Joe Frank (an ALTER EGO correspondent) points out something I hadn't known--that my name as a numbered member of the Merry Marvel Marching Society was printed in TWO-GUN KID #82, during a period when the Marvel mags were trying to run a full listing of all MMMS members over the course of one issue or another.  As a comics fan, of course, I had joined the MMMS the moment it came out, some months before I came to NYC and soon went to work for Marvel.  Various other recognizable names may still lurk in the pages of RAWHIDE KID or (if they printed MMMS members' names) the MILLIE THE MODEL mags.


Avengers Annual #1 (1967)
I made "Uru" (whether or not "Uru" was  meant to be capitalized, I don't know) become the metal the hammer was forged from and "Mjolnir" as the name.  The story goes like this:
Larry Lieber:  One incident I remember with you [Roy] and me was:  I was in the office, and you came in.  You'd been poring over Bulfinch's Mythology or something, and you said, "Larry, where did you find this 'Uru hammer' in mythology?"  And I said, "Roy, I didn't find it; I made it up."  And you looked at me like, "Why the hell did you make it up?"  You went and found the hammer's original name, Mjolnir.
Roy Thomas:  But I kept your name for it, too, because I thought "Uru" could be the metal it was made of.
Larry Lieber:  I kind of liked it; it was short.  It's easy on the letterer; they're going to be using it all the time.  I don't know where the hell I came up with it.
Roy Thomas:  Stan Lee said he always thought you got it from a mythology book.  I'd been trying to track it down before I talked to you.
Larry Lieber:   I used to get names out of the back of the dictionary, from the biographical section where you have foreign names, Russian, this and that.  I used to go to it and gets parts of names to put together.
When I took over writing THE AVENGERS with #35, Thor had been removed as an active Avengers and made for a time only cameo appearances, 'cause that's all Stan would allow me to do.  During the days before this, apparently, he used the rightful name of Thor's hammer in Norse mythology, "Mjolnir," exactly twice--one time spelled "Mjolnar."  Actually, I was surprised to see this, because Stan never used that phrase in my hearing... so my guess is that Jack Kirby stuck the name in his margin notes to Stan and Stan picked it up from there... but unless Jack reminded him of that name with a note, Stan tended to forget it and either use the term "uru hammer" or just "hammer."  I didn't consciously remember "Mjolnir" ever being used in a script by Stan when, in the 1967 AVENGERS ANNUAL, I was allowed at last to bring in Thor (and Iron Man) to fill out the group's ranks for a 49-page epic that was, I believe, the longest one-part Marvel story up to that date.  In the chapter therein in which Thor and Hawkeye battle the Living Laser (on p. 31, to be exact), the thunder god tosses his weapon while referring to it as "the invincible hammer which hath ever been called MJOLNIR!"  I wrote that line specifically because I wanted to underscore that pretty much everybody except the writers of "Thor" at Marvel Comic had been referred to the hammer by that name for a thousand years.  After that annual, I had to go back for a time to restricting Thor and Iron to occasional appearances, but the first chance I got, when Stan was more amenable to letting me have the group cast I really wanted, I brought those two (and Captain America, who'd been exiled from the bunch for a while, too, leaving me with precisely zero solo-title heroes in the group) back for good... and after that the verbal references to "Mjolnir" piled up.

It's interesting to note that Stan began using the name "Mjolnir" more frequently with THOR #145... because that would've come out around the same time, or maybe just after, my 1967 AVENGERS ANNUAL.  Stan proofed that issue, of course, so maybe he saw it there and that influenced him to start using it more often.  I do seem to recall talking to him once, probably earlier, and asking him why he never called it "Mjolnir," and him saying that he just didn't recall the name.  That's the reason I think he got it from Jack in those earlier appearances.  No big deal, but I do think that's a case where I (even more than Jack) influenced Stan, though I can't prove it, of course.

Namor's Black Costume

Sub-Mariner #67 (1973)

I decided that Namor should have a costume, and I wanted a trident to be part of the design... but the actual costume was basically John Romita's design.

Rutland Vermont Halloween Parade

Avengers #83 (1970)

When apartment-mate Dave Kaler and I met Tom Fagan at the comics convention in NYC in July of '65, he invited us to the Rutland (VT) Halloween parade, where he'd been appearing on floats as Batman for a year or three.  Dave and I went in the Dr. Strange and Plastic Man costumes we'd worn at the con's masquerade.  Over the next few years, the number of comics pros attending the con slowly grew.  I decided to write a story set there, in AVENGERS #83, which included cameos of Tom, my first wife Jean, and me... the same story that introduced the first version of the Valkyrie.  The next year, there was both a Marvel and a DC "Rutland story"--mine in the second DEFENDERS story, again with the three of us doing cameos in a Dormammu tale (drawn by Ross Andru), and Denny O'Neil (who was there) working with Neal Adams (who wasn't) on a BATMAN Grim Reaper/Holocaust survivor story.  The year after that, there were no fewer than three stories, bouncing back between Marvel and DC, though I (and Denny) had permanently opted out of writing them.  Perhaps the height of attendance by comics pros was 1969-72, after which, for various reasons, attendance tapered off.  The big old mansion for which Tom was "house-sitting" for several years--a good party venue--is now  bed and breakfast and advertises the Rutland Halloween parties as part of its ambience.

Mego Stretch Hulk editorial interruption:  For more details on this and the world famous "Roy Thomas Spider-man Costume" click this link:

Sanctum Santorum

Dr. Strange #182 (1969)

The "sanctum sanctorum" phrase is Stan Lee's, not mine, and is an actual English expression from Latin for the "holy of holies."  My own contribution was to set that place, Doc's mansion, at 177A Bleecker Street 10012-1406 in Greenwich Village, NYC, on the corner of Bleecker and Fenno Place in the heart of Greenwich Village. My official apartment-mate was Gary Friedrich, from late 1965 to a few months into 1966.  However, soon after we moved in, Bill Everett became a "guest," usually 4 or so nights a week... occasionally less or more. The "177A Bleecker Street " appeared on the final page of DR. STRANGE #182... the second-from-last issue of the series.  I added it because I wanted to show a telegram which had originally been addressed to Dr. Stephen Strange and which, after Eternity's actions, now read "Dr. Stephen Sanders."  I needed an address to make the telegram look more authentic, and I didn't just want to fudge it--so I gave it the address where Gary, Bill, and I had lived for about six months. 

I should say that the first time I used the "177" number (without the "A") for an address in a Dr. Strange story occurred in issue #159, on the splash page, where Doc is standing not specifically on Bleecker Street but before a big hole in the ground where his mansion had lately stood...and across the street the number "177" is clearly written above a doorway.  I suppose it could be said that in Marvel Comics 177 was across the street from 177A, though I wasn't thinking along those lines at the timeI was reminded when the original b&w art for DS #182, p. 11, was reprinted in the back of the Marvel Masterworks volume, that address was NOT in the original art as penciled and inked.  The telegram address there just reads "DR. STEPHEN STRANGE, M.D." with two lines of faked lettering for the rest of the address.  On this original art, there are various lines written by me leading to the margin (whose editorial notes are cut off, alas) in which I changed a lot of the dialogue in panels 4 & 5... including one to those two lines of "faked lettering" on the address.  This is clearly where/when I decided, after the story was fully written, to give Doc the address of 177A Bleecker Street.  And to help set Doc's new secret identity, I completely rewrote at the last minute all of Wong's dialogue in panel 4, so that it would underscore the notion of Doc needed a different identity.


Marvel Premiere #5 (1972)

Shuma-Gorath was a name made up by Conan creator Robert E. Howard and used only in the long-unpublished vignette that was eventually published as "The Curse of the Golden Skull," a story of pre-Cataclysmic days in which Kull (not yet a king) is an offstage character who has mortally wounded a vile sorcerer called Rotath of Lemuria.  I turned the events of "Golden Skull" into a 3-page prologue of CONAN THE BARBARIAN #37, which was drawn by Neal Adams... but I left REH's lone reference of "the iron-bound books of Shuma-Gorath" out of the CONAN prologue for reasons of space.  Still, I loved the name "Shuma-Gorath"; so, when, in the 1972 revival of a Dr. Strange series in MARVEL PREMIERE, I decided to add a Lovecraftian/Cthulhu-Mythos aspect to Strange's adventures, I asked new Marvel (but veteran DC) scripter Gardner Fox to use the name "Shuma-Gorath" as the mysterious menace behind the new ongoing storyline.  He's first mentioned in MARVEL PREMIERE #5 (1972), page 5, as "the dread Shuma-Gorath."  Of course, it was Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner, a few issues later, who took that concept, ran with it, and built on it to make Shuma-Gorath what he became in the Marvel Universe.

Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-man

Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-man (1976)

Gerry Conway asked me to take the role of Marvel advisor on the SUPERMAN VS. SPIDER-MAN book, with Julius Schwartz serving in that capacity for DC.  Except for one or two minor details, however, I contributed nothing to the comicbook.

Jasper Sitwell

Strange Tales #144 (1966)

Jasper Sitwell was created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Howard Purcell.  I only learned about any possible link between Jasper and myself years after the fact, when Mark Evanier (who had been Jack's assistant during the early 70s) told me that Jack had said as much to him.  Of course, that hardly means a one-to-one connection, just a starting point for a character who was basically nearly a one-dimensional stereotype.  And of course Stan Lee wrote all Jasper's dialogue, so much of what fans think of as Jasper was contributed by Stan.  I found Jasper a reasonably interesting character, but too shallow to really take hold on the imagination.  Weirdly, when the name was used for an MCU character, it was applied to a totally different type... a true villain, if I recall a-right.  I think Phil Coulson, at least as portrayed in the early movies, was closer to Jasper.

Sons of the Tiger (Team)

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1 (1974)

I can't swear to it, but I believe the 'Sons of the Tiger' concept, probably the name and the concept of three heroes, one white, one black, one Asian, with of course a karate/kung fu connection, was mine... conceived for Marvel's black-&-white DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU magazine.   But everything was developed from that point by original writer/co-creator Gerry Conway and artist Dick Giordano.

Stan Lee's successor

Editor-in-Chief (1972-1974)

Sometime in 1972, after some weeks of production manager John Verpoorten, assistant art director Frank Giacoia, and myself (as just "story editor") operation as an uneasy retirement, I was very unhappy with the arrangement and was actually considering accepting an offer from Carmine Infantino at DC.  I felt that, under Stan Lee as the new publisher and president, I should be the company's editor, in charge (subject to Stan) of art as well as script, because I felt that Frank G., while a wonderful inker, really couldn't handle the combination of art overseeing and cover generation.  Gil Kane gave me good advice:  Just hang in there a little longer, "my boy," and everything I wanted would come to me.  Only days later, Stan called me in to complain about the covers Frank was laying out, among other things, and wanted me to oversee him more closely.  I told Stan I couldn't really do that, because he had created the three of us as equals.  Thinking it over, Stan decided I should become the editor, not just story editor, with full authority subject to himself.  He asked me to choose between two titles:  "executive editor" and "editor-in-chief."  I chose the latter, which sounded more like a sleeves-rolled-up kind of thing... I made sure the hyphens were a part of it.  Now, why Stan didn't just name me "editor" as he had been for the past three decades, I've no idea... so that, technically, I became the first person ever to hold the post of Marvel's "editor-in-chief."

Mego Stretch Hulk editorial interruption:  Click this link to read an article about Roy protecting Stan Lee's legacy from a salacious biography:

(Ororo Munroe) 

Giant-Size X-Men #1 (1975)

All I seem to have done re Storm was to stick my head into a meeting Len Wein, Dave Cockrum, and maybe one or two other people were having about the new characters they intended to add to the X-Men when that mag was revived.  They mentioned they were having a problem straightening a few of them out... they had a man named Typhoon with weather powers and another (who may or may not have been African American--I don't recall) named the Black Cat, long before the Spider-Man character (though long after the Harvey one, of course).  They felt that Black Cat was going to be redundant, with all the other "cat" heroines popping up lately, and I said, off the cuff, according to Dave, "Why not make the girl Typhoon?"  Then I left.  I guess that's how Typhoon wound up as an African American woman--renamed Storm by Dave and the gang.  I wouldn't remember much of this except that Dave repeated the story in a 2003 interview printed in ALTER EGO #163... and I think Len told the story earlier, in some X-Men-related publication.

(Animated Series) 

One Season with 13 episodes (1966)

ALTER EGO correspondent Joe Frank recently reminded me that I said, years ago, that I had worked at Stan Lee's behest, on at least an idea or two for a new Sub-Mariner story to be used on the 1966-67 "Marvel Super-Heroes" limited-animation TV series, because there weren't enough new Sub-Mariner stories to make a full season.  I've no hard memories of what synopses I wrote for that series, but Joe pointed out that one of the episodes dealt with a mysterious woman who is tracking down Namor for the entire series, who in the end turns out to be his grandmother, the mother of his father, sea captain Leonard McKenzie.  I don't know if I wrote that one, but if so it may have served as an accidental template for SUB-MARINER #9 a year or two later, in which a middle-aged Betty Dean is revealed at the end.  On the other hand, if I didn't write that one, chances are I never saw it... I don't necessarily know that I was charged with "reviewing" whatever Subby synopses were written in 1966 in the Marvel offices for that TV series, and I never did see most of the episodes on TV.


Avengers #57 (1968)

I coined the word "synthozoid" for whatever kind of android the Vision was ("an artificial human," according to Hank Pym)... I first spelled it that way in THE AVENGERS #57, p. 9... a term that Hawkeye says Pym had coined earlier, a line that's a lead-in to the story in #58.  Maybe it got spelled "synthezoid" later, maybe even by me... I dunno.


 Invincible Iron Man #55 (1973)

When Jim Starlin showed me the designs (and names) for several Titan characters he had drawn and wanted to use, I said that "Thanos" was a great name, and I thought he should take that character and beef him up.  Whether I said so or not, I had in mind his being a sort of Darkseid type of character, but what Jim did with it was up to him.  

Mego Stretch Hulk editorial interruption:  Roy's forgetting a little bit of the details here as Jim stated in an interview for COMIC BOOK ARTISTS #2 that what Roy actually said to him was "Beef him up! If you're going to steal one of the New Gods, at least rip off Darkseid, the really good one!"  And that's way too awesome of a quote to leave out when discussing the creation of Thanos.

The New Fantastic Four
(Animated Series)

One Season with 13 episodes (1978)

This was the HERBIE the Robot show, of course, from DePatie-Feleng Enterprises and Marvel Comics Animation (both owned by Marvel Entertainment) in the late 1970s.  It was done, at least by Stan Lee and me, Marvel-style, with Jack Kirby breaking down the story into storyboards from a detailed synopsis, at least on my part.  Then I added the dialogue, etc.  The result, despite HERBIE, was closer to the FANTASTIC FOUR comics than any of the shows before or after, at least for several years.  We made relatively few concessions to a super-young audience.  I think the first episode I did was an original story, "The Phantom of Hollywood."  I also did one on "The Olympics of Space."  I did 4 or 5 total, every one that Stan didn't do except one that Christy Marx did... but I don't recall what they were.  I'm proud of my work on it... since I don't care much generally for working in animation.

The Incredible Hulk 
(Live-Action Series)

 The Incredible Hulk Video Novel (1979)

By that time, I had moved to Los Angeles, some months past.  My friend Alan Waite and I visited the set of the filming of the first "Incredible Hulk" TV movie, courtesy of assistant director Tom Blank, and saw the filming of the scene in which the Hulk breaks out of that big iron-lung-type machine, in the presence of the female scientist, who later dies in that pilot.  Soon afterward, after the movie was a hit, Marvel asked me to put together the "video novel," which meant going to the Universal lot and going over the whole movie, shot by shot, with some film technician, so that he could pull the images I felt we needed to tell the story in the allotted number of pages in the book.  Oddly, though it was pretty much a one-time experience, I don't remember a lot of the details about the doing of the thing, except that I had to oversee it from start to finish, and I think it came out pretty well.  I suppose I did have Kenny Johnson's screenplay at the time, would almost had have to have it, wouldn't I?  If so, maybe I still do, among the dozens piled up in a closet, from "Rebel without a Cause" through "What about Bob?" and a bunch of those I wrote with or without Gerry Conway.

One interesting side note of the project was that, at the start of working with that technician, he showed me one or two test shots (just still) of the original actor who was to play the Hulk, the towering but lanky Richard Kiel.  I remember that one shot showed Kiel striding if not trotting down what looked like some country road.  I recall that, at the time, he looked to me more like the original relatively gaunt version of the DC monster Solomon Grundy than he did like the Hulk (We all learned later than some bigwig's kid didn't feel that Kiel looked right as the Hulk, and that's how Lou Ferrigno got the part.)   A year or so later, I met Kiel... he was to play the caveman lead in the sitcom "Arrgh and Dr. Dan" which I had developed for Charles Fries Productions, but which never went past a meeting or two with network people... and he was a friendly guy.  When he learned that I had seen test shots of him as the Hulk, he enlisted me to try to get hold of one of them for him, just as a souvenir, but I couldn't really help him.  Did any of those ever turn up?  I'd love to see them again.  Anyway, it does seem to me that I heard that Richard had gotten hold of them some time before he passed away, and I was glad to hear that.  Still, Ferrigno was a better choice for the Hulk, since the camera could make him look taller than he was... and he had the right build for the Hulk.  But I always hated the particular fright-wig they had Lou wear.

I've told my other stories re the Hulk TV movie elsewhere, so I won't go into that again.  But the Video Novel was a nice project... though I did a lot more work on it than I was paid for. 

Tomb of Dracula

 Tomb of Dracula #1 (1972)

In 1971 Stan Lee discussed with me the concept of a Dracula comic... evidently originally planned as a black-&-white and suggested by Martin Goodman himself.  Stan had a very rough idea for the story, which he gave me verbally in a couple of sentences.  I took that and turned it into a written plot... finishing up and mailing it before I joined wife Jeanie at a party at production manager John Verpoorten's apartment in lower Manhattan (it may well have been a Halloween party, but if so, not a costume affair).  Unfortunately, when we gave it to Gerry Conway to dialogue, I forgot to ask Gerry to give me a plotting credit (with or without Stan being listed), and he neglected to do so on his own.  I didn't bother to correct that when the first issue of TOMB OF DRACULA went through the office.  I've always regretted that...but then, Gerry wrote a plot (Moby Dick in space) that became the basis of a HULK two-parter, for which he was paid the proffered sum of $25, but credit was never intended to be a part of that bargain.  I guess we came out even.  I don't get any money from Marvel when TOD #1 is published, and he doesn't get any when they reprint those HULK issues.

War Is Hell

War is Hell #1 (1973)

I'm not sure of much about this concept... for example whether Stan Lee gave me the title (without a concept to go with it) or whether I suggested the concept.  I know that Tony Isabella did the real development with it.  My hope was that it would be Marvel's answer to WEIRD WAR TALES, without being in any way a copy of it.

What If

What If #1 (1977)

When I stepped down as editor-in-chief, I wanted to do some projects that would dis-involved me with the Marvel mainstream and thus having to coordinate plots.  The Conan and other Robert E. Howard-related titles already fit that description, but I almost immediately made up two new ones:  THE INVADERS, because it was set in WWII, and WHAT IF, because it would be about alternate realities.  It was an attempt to do open-ended stories within a closed system, if that's not a contradiction in terms.  Each issue would be a new adventure with new heroes, getting past the barrier of "Imaginary Stories" at DC... catching a bit of the "Earth-Two" feel of Julie Schwartz's magazines, which Stan Lee otherwise hadn't ever really liked.  But I took the term "what if" from a common expression that Stan often used in connection with notions for stories.  Just as he had once wanted to do a comic called THE INVADERS (with Hulk and Namor), I figured that if I had a name Stan already liked because (whether he realized/remembered it or not) he had basically made it up or at least wanted to utilize it, I was already halfway to my goal.  And both concepts were approved with just a couple of sentences between Stan and me, probably in late '74 or at latest early '75. 

Mego Stretch Hulk editorial interruption:  Click on this link to read Roy's story behind the creation of this series in detail:

Wolverine's Mask

X-Men Legends #1 and 2 (2022)

The alteration of Wolverine's mask between THE INCREDIBLE HULK #180-182 and GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 really has nothing to do with me... or at least it HAD nothing to do with me, until I scripted X-MEN LEGENDS #1-2 in 2022, and used that story to, among other things, give a canon rationale for the change.  I was acting as a contractual writer/editor by the time GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 really got underway, even though I had set the ball in motion in summer of '74... so I had no direct part in the change.  What happened, apparently, was that John Romita designed the Wolverine look and costume, which Herb Trimpe penciled faithfully in the three HULK issues.  Some months later, while Dave Cockrum was penciling the interior of GSXM #1, Gil Kane drew the main figures of the new X-Men for the cover.  Gil, whether from carelessness or because he didn't much care for the Romita mask (I'd guess the former), gave Wolverine a considerably different mask than Romita and Trimpe had drawn, and that Dave was drawing inside.  Dave, who was also working on the cover, liked the new Kane look and decided to adapt it into his own drawings, and so Logan's mask changed fairly drastically between the HULK and GSXM issues.

Mego Stretch Hulk editorial interruption:  Click on this link to read Roy's story behind this in detail:  X-Men Legends Solved a Nearly 50-Year-Old Wolverine Costume Mystery (

X-Men Screenplay

 Co-written with Gerry Conway (1984)

Gerry Conway and I did a couple of drafts for an X-MEN film circa 1984 for a company that had a deal with Orion Pictures--unfortunately for us, just before Orion went bust. We weren't allowed to do the X-Men the way we wanted: there were a couple of new mutants in it (a Japanese young woman, as I recall), Professor X could walk, etc. Gerry and I discussed it in ALTER EGO #58, and there's even a detailed summary of one of our versions of the screenplay. Earlier, we had written a treatment or two which were almost entirely different. 



1 comment:

  1. It truly is a wonder of how much Roy Thomas had with Marvel's second wave of characters that ushered in the Marvel Bronze Age. His editor in chief run is second only to Stan Lee. And the amount of timeless stories and characters that came out of it defined the industry and pop culture. Nobody else came close as Jim Shooter is a distance third.

    It starts with Wolverine and then it goes to the stars from there.