Roy Thomas

From Academic Kids

For other uses, see: Roy Thomas (disambiguation)

Roy Thomas (born November 22 1940 in Missouri) is an American writer and editor of comic books. He is known for his love of the Golden Age of comic books, particularly the Justice Society of America, and for lengthy writing stints on The Avengers, Conan the Barbarian and All-Star Squadron.

Thomas was one of the early members of comic book fandom when it organized in the early 1960s, primarily around Dr. Jerry Bails, whose enthusiasm for the rebirth of superhero comics during the Silver Age of comic books led him to found a fanzine, Alter Ego, which was an early focal point of fandom. Thomas, then a high school teacher, was an enthusiastic contributor to AE, and took over editing the fanzine in 1964 when Bails moved on to other fannish pursuits.

In 1965, Thomas travelled to New York City to investigate a job at DC Comics under Mort Weisinger, then the editor of the Superman comics. He also visited the offices of Marvel Comics, where he was also offered a position by Marvel editor Stan Lee, which Thomas accepted instead.

To that point, Lee had been the main scripter of Marvel publications, but Thomas soon joined him, taking over writing The Avengers, which he wrote into the early 1970s. Thomas' run was marked by a strong sense of continuity, and stories which ranged from the personal to the cosmic, most notably in the latter category the Kree-Skrull War. Later in the decade Thomas took over writing the X-Men, which was on the verge of being cancelled. Though he failed to save the title, Thomas' short run with Neal Adams is regarded as one of the high points of Marvel's 1960s publications.

In 1972, Lee became publisher of Marvel, and Thomas became editor. Thomas had already launched a comic based on Robert E. Howard's character Conan. The success of Thomas' adaptations and original stories, combined with the detailed art of Barry Windsor-Smith, started a craze for barbarian comics. Thomas wrote Conan stories throughout the 1970s.

Thomas continued to script mainstream comics, including Marvel's flagship title, Fantastic Four, and launched new titles, such as the unusual "non-team" title The Defenders, the World War II superhero book The Invaders, and What If, a title with the premise of exploring alternate histories. He also had a behind-the-scenes role in the creation of the "all-new, all-different" X-Men, and was instrumental in engineering Marvel's comic book adaptation of Star Wars.

In 1981 Thomas moved to DC after a dispute with Marvel's new editor-in-chief Jim Shooter. Here he created several titles, but his most significant work was a revival of the Justice Society of America. Set during World War II, All-Star Squadron revived a slew of Golden Age characters and introduced the work of artist Jerry Ordway. He and Ordway also launched a modern-day spin-off, Infinity Inc., featuring the children of the JSA.

In the late 1980s sales began to slow on Thomas's DC titles. Shooter having departed, Thomas returned to Marvel, where he scripted Doctor Strange, Thor and Avengers West Coast, as well as returning to Conan. By now he was often co-scripting with his wife, Dann Thomas.

As comics sales continued to soften in the 1990s, Thomas began working less for Marvel and DC and more for other companies. He produced some Xena and Hercules titles for Topps, for example, as well as collaborating on an adaptation of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle with Gil Kane. He also began writing more for other media, including television, and relaunched Alter Ego as a subscription magazine. He currently lives in South Carolina.


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