Roy Thomas

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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 take a job at DC Comics as assistant to Mort Weisinger, then the editor of the Superman comics. "I'd already written a Jimmy Olsen script a few months before, while still living and teaching in the St. Louis area," Thomas recalled in Alter Ego #50, July 2005. "I worked at DC for eight days in late June and very early July of 1965," before accepting a job at Marvel Comics. "I was hired after taking [ Stan Lee's ] 'writer's test', and my first official job title at Marvel was 'staff writer'. I wasn't hired as an editor or assistant editor."

To that point, editor-in-chief 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 succeeded him as editor-in-chief. Thomas by this time had already launched a comic based on Robert E. Howard's pulp novel character Conan the Barbarian. The surprise success of Thomas' adaptations and original stories, combined with the detailed art of Barry Windsor-Smith, started a craze for sword and sorcery comics. Thomas, who stepped down from his editorship after two years, wrote Conan stories in several Marvel comics and black-and-white magazines throughout the decade.

He also continued to script mainstream titles, including Marvel's flagship, The Fantastic Four, and he launched such new titles as the unusual "non-team" series 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 then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter. Here he created several titles, his most significant 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' 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.

During the 1990s, Thomas began working less for Marvel and DC and more for independent companies. He wrote issues of Xena and Hercules titles for Topps, and collaborated 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. As of 2005, he lives in South Carolina.

Anthem, a new comic by Thomas about World War II soldiers, is scheduled for release by Heroic Publishing in January 2006.


  • Alter Ego #50, July 2005: Interview with Roy Thomas (offline)

External links

fr:Roy Thomas