Some call him a Heartland hometown hero!
You’ve probably heard of Stan the Man, as in Stan Lee.
But have you heard of Roy the Boy, as Stan liked to call him?
Roy Thomas is not just a comic book writer and editor. He was Stan Lee’s first successor as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics.
He helped create some of comics’ greatest heroes and like Wolverine and Ultron.
Thomas also wrote for a long list of Marvel titles, including Avengers, Thor, Fantastic Four, X-Men and notably Conan the Barbarian.
He also has strong ties to the Heartland.
In fact, Roy was born in Jackson, Missouri in 1940.
When he returned home for a special celebration, Heartland Weekend’s Nichole Cartmell got a chance to sit down with the so-called Native Son.
12 things to know about Roy Thomas:
- Roy was born in Jackson, MO. He attended St. Paul Lutheran School and Jackson High School.
- He worked in many places growing up in Jackson. The Palace Theatre, the Jackson Drive-In, one day at a driving range, one night at Wibb’s Drive-In.
“As my wife often says, I’m lucky I can write these strange little fantasies because otherwise, I would have no skill for any kind of useful endeavor.”
- He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and went on to be an English/History teacher.
“I didn’t like it. It wasn’t for me. Wonderful profession but not for me.”
- Roy caught the attention of those working in the world of comics with his fanzine Alter Ego. It was a hobby he did when he wasn’t grading papers.
- He took an offer to write for DC Comics as the assistant editor of the Superman line of comics.
- He really wanted to meet Stan Lee. So he wrote him a letter.
“He was, I felt writing and editing the best comics in the field.”
- That letter turned into a job offer from Marvel. After Roy took the job, his boss at DC called him a spy for Stan Lee.
- Roy spent 15 years working for Marvel and even stepped into Stan Lee’s shoes as Editor-In-Cheif.
- He now lives on a farm with a lot of animals including about 50 guinea pigs. He even owns toucans and a few llamas.
“I can’t get them to stop procreating.”
- His favorite comic is All-Star Squadron.
- Roy spent 20 years ghostwriting Spiderman newspaper clip for Stan Lee.
- You might see Roy’s byline in some upcoming Marvel projects.
Roy may not live in Jackson any longer.
But for him, this will always be home.
“Jackson was always the place I remembered,” Thomas said. “I was always telling people about that little library there. One of the things that was great that unlike most libraries that wouldn’t have had them in the building was, it had a complete collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs so I was able to read almost all of the Tarzan books all but the first one, they didn’t have that one for some reason.”
In honor of Thomas and his work, Mayor Dwain Hahs declared Feb. 23 as Roy Thomas Day in Jackson.
During a special celebration put on by the Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization and the Cape Girardeau County Historical Society, Thomas received a key to uptown Jackson, and was endowed a lifetime membership to the Cape Girardeau County Historical Society.
A signed letter from Marvel Comics editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski conveyed the true essence of these sentiments, saying:
“… Your town should be justly proud of producing such an esteemed writer, editor and historian.”
Cebulski called Roy a legend, one they will continue to look to for guidance an inspiration.