As a brilliant ambassador and historian of comics for the last 57 years, roy thomas served as Stan Lee’s protege and successor over a period that saw the duo orchestrate Marvel’s rise to the summit of the comic world. While marvel comics officially branded 2022 the “Year of Vengeance,” perhaps more apropos would have been to instead brand 2022 the “Year of Rascally Roy.”
With several comics showing his innate knack for creating superheroes that wholeheartedly captivate the imagination while remaining wholly pertinent, Eisner Hall of Fame Inductee Thomas has never been more relevant in the Marvel Universe.
Making his debut with arguably the most beloved superhero of all time in The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (1971), Dr. Michael Morbius has appeared in multiple self-titled runs and popular crossovers over the years. Combining the upcoming Morbius movie with the remarkable revival of Marvel comics’ darker, supernatural Midnight Sun’s and public thirst for Morbius may only become more undeniable.
After a CCA code revision, Thomas would seize a unique opportunity to co-create Morbius the Living Vampire. In typical Thomas fashion, he pays homage to past pioneers, building upon the traditional Stoker vampire archetype while crafting a modernized, tormented anti-hero, forever grasping at the last shreds of his humanity de él and one of the best heroes from his vault de he.
With the introduction of Dane Whitman in the Eternals movie, the Black Knight seems poised to play an impactful part in Marvel’s foreseeable future. With a rich history spanning his Silver Age debut in Avengers #47 (1967) and notable ties to already established Marvel properties like the Avengers and Doctor Strange, Whitman appears ready to brandish the Ebony Blade across the MCU.
Thomas presents nigh every historically relevant superhero archetype during his accredited career, from an Android to a Valkyrie. Utilizing his unique brand of creative insight from him, he would co-create the most relevant Knight in Marvel comics, not Misty or Moon, and one of his best superheroes from him.
Whether leading the Avengers or Thunderbolts, maturing into a devoted husband and father to Jessica Jones and Danielle, or starring in his own Netflix series, Luke Cage continues to impact Marvel Comics as the first Black American superhero to feature in his own monthly series.
debuting in Heroes for Hire #1 (1972), Thomas adroitly co-creates Cage as an allegory to show the barriers and injustices faced by minorities while also highlighting ethical concerns regarding human experimentation. While essentially being the same character imagined by Thomas almost 50 years ago, it’s Cage’s relatability that marks him as one of the best.
For most comic fans of the Bronze Age, there is no name more synonymous with Thomas than presidential favorite and pulp legend Conan the Barbarian, the most prodigious warrior of the Hyborian Age, made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1982 cult classic.
Upon acquiring the rights from creator Robert E. Howard, Thomas would skillfully adapt the character for Marvel Comics. Starting his award-winning run with Conan the Barbarian #1 (1970)Thomas masterfully pays homage to the Barbarian’s roots while also penning a very tangible, complex personality for a Neolithic man, helping to usher the ‘sword and sorcery’ genre into the mainstream and signaling Conan as a best for Thomas.
Premiering in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (1968), Carol Danvers debuted as a strong, independent, capable woman, not afraid to challenge the status quo in pursuit of her ambitions. Whether tackling equal pay for women in the workplace or Ronin the Accuser in space, Danvers would indisputably prove that a woman could be a compelling and top-notch hero.
enter in Captain MarvelDanvers highlights co-creator Thomas’s unique ability to encapsulate the nuances of humanity, allowing him to conceive a dynamic superhero that continues to be an integral part of the Marvel landscape over half a century later.
debuting in Marvel Spotlight #5 (1972), Ghost Rider, the Spirit of Vengeance, is born. Teaming up with some of the most prominent superheroes in Marvel comics and having title roles in everything (from comics to video games), Ghost Rider continues to blaze a path in the hearts of comic fans worldwide.
As esoteric as he is iconic, it’s easy to see why the Bearer of Brimstone stands on the precipice of his 50th birthday. As one of Thomas’s best of him, this supernatural skeletal evil Knievel, sporting a skull just as on fire as his motorcycle, endures as one Hell of a good superhero, much like his creator of him.
Punching his way into Marvel Comics ith Marvel Premiere #15 (1974), Daniel Rand emerges as Iron Fist, the Living Weapon. After his self-titled stint ended, Rand teams up with Luke Cage, yielding a beloved partnership that is so fulfilling and memorable.
Showing a knack for seeing the trends in popular culture begin to germinate, Thomas will eruditely capitalize on the martial arts era with the creation of Rand. But strikingly, the most telling is the fact that while the frenzy for martial arts has faded over the subsequent decades, it has not for Rand, anointing him as one of Thomas’s best superheroes.
At the behest of Stan Lee, who wanted a new android teammate added to the Avengers (via hollywoodreporter), Vision would make his unforgettable debut in Avengers #57 (1968). Created as the “synthozoid” son of Ultron, Vision’s human synthetic brain would rebel, seeing him become a pivotal superhero while fighting as an Avenger and Defender.
Ever the Fanboy at heart, Thomas would co-create Vision, a character whose personal journey to discover the what and why of his existence was only overshadowed by the nobleness with which he undertook it. Conclusively proving “even an android can cry,” Vision deserves mention as an all-time best from the treasured mind of Thomas.
With Marvel continuing to unveil its expanding MCU in the upcoming guardiansofthegalaxy3, comic fans worldwide will become acquainted with Adam Warlock. As the superhero responsible for introducing the first Infinity Stone into Marvel Comics, Warlock’s notable inclusion speaks to his future volumes in Marvel comics.
starting with Marvel Premiere #1 (1972), Thomas will redefine and rechristen the character “Him,” resulting in the birth of Warlock. Admittedly drawing inspiration from his love of the soundtrack Jesus Christ Superstar (via IGN), Thomas deftly presents Warlock as an astronomical superhero redeemer, co-creating a smart hero that was vital to Marvel Comics’ lore and one of his best.
Since his inception, Wolverine has appeared in nearly every critical Marvel storyline, seemingly riding a wave of popularity forever ascending, all the while garnering fans for his grit and acclaim for his writers. Adding to the mythos is Logan’s true-to-form cinematic portrayal by award-winning actor Hugh Jackman, which has impactfully brought Thomas’ best superhero from the pages of comics to screens worldwide.
Forever thinking of the reader, Thomas commits to co-creating the first Candian superhero in The Incredible Hulk #180 (1974) and conceives Wolverine as a feisty, no-nonsense type true to his namesake. Ingeniously utilizing the metal alloy he created in Avengers #66 (1969) to give Wolverine his signature unbreakable skeleton and claws, Thomas would forever cement his bond to one of the best superheroes ever created.
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