Monday, November 24, 2014

Groove's Faves: Roy Thomas Made Me a True Believer

This past Saturday (11/22/14) was Roy (The Boy) Thomas' 74th birthday--can ya believe it? Still going strong with Alter Ego, Taschen's gi-normous 75 Years of Marvel,  and a variety of e-comics for the Edgar Rice Burroughs site, Roy is living proof that good-guys win and fans can make the best comicbook writers and/or historians! Ol' Groove's admiration for The Rascally One is no secret here in Groove City. Roy was the first writer (Sorry, Stan, but you were close to retiring from monthlies, after all...) whose work I actually collected. His intelligent-yet-energetic style made comics cool to moi, and converted Young Groove into a full-fledged, F.O.O.M.-card carrying, Marvelite.

So, how to pay tribute to Roy for his 74th? While it's pretty easy for anyone to pick favorite pages based on artwork, but Ol' Groove never does anything the easy way. After all, Roy's not an artist, so I've gone back and picked out favorite pages based on Roy's writing! Surprisingly enough, it wasn't  a very hard task, 'cause Roy's writing made such a huge impact on Young Groove that it still resounds today! Yea and verily, 'tis true! ('Course it didn't hurt that those early impressions were drawn by guys like Neal Adams, Barry Smith, Gil Kane, Gene Colan, Sal Buscema, and Herb Trimpe...) Read on...

Gil Kane/Dan Adkins art from Captain Marvel #17
Nothing fancy, but the story is told, the words move the pictures without distracting...and it doesn't hurt that this particular page was reprinted in the 1975 Funk &Wagnalls Encyclopedia science fiction entry--which I proudly showed to anyone who would pay attention!

Herb Trimpe/Sal Buscema art from Incredible Hulk #134
The childlike, yet dignified, personality Roy gave The Hulk seemed so real to me as a kid. His reasoning skills were not too far below Young Groove's own level, making him easy to relate to, I s'pose... And did Roy ever know how to masterfully use silent panels!

Neal Adams/Tom Palmer art from X-Men #60
Young Groove truly dug Roy's skill for characterization. A hot-headed hero (in the right, but doing things the wrong way) with true-blue friends to watch his back went a long way to help kids like me learn about friendship and team-work.

Barry Smith/Sal Buscema art from Conan the Barbarian #4
Young Groove had no idea who Robert E. Howard was, but I'd never experienced the creepy-cool feelings Roy's adaptation of "Tower of the Elephant" gave me, so Roy got all the credit then. He still gets plenty of credit for his skillful adaptations--and for introducing me to such great authors as Howard!

Sal Buscema/Jim Mooney art from Sub-Mariner #35
Not only was Roy able to build up an epic battle with the best pro-wrestlers, he also constantly reminded me that Marvel was part of the real world. His use of pop-culture references (like Goliath's dialogue) always jumped out and grabbed me. That was so cool!

Gene Colan/Bill Everett art from Amazing Adventures #5
Heroes didn't always wear costumes, and sometimes winning meant (supreme) sacrifice. Roy, did'ja know you were teaching us kids such deep life-lessons?

Neal Adams/Tom Palmer art from Avengers #96
Back in the Groovy Age, heroes didn't kill. Guys like Wolverine and Punisher were years away. That's what made this page featuring The Vision so shocking--and spectacular! Our Spock-like, emotionless android was ma-a-aaaaad!!

Ya get the picture why Roy is so special to Ol' Groove? Happy birthday, Mr. Thomas! Here's to many more!

(P.S. Ol' Groove's been meaning to thank you for your sharing art from--and especially for plugging--The Diversions in Alter Ego. Many thanks, man!)


  1. What a fantastic tribute, Groove! I share your admiration for Roy Thomas - and Roy, if you're reading this, happy birthday!

  2. Love those old Captain Mar-Vell issues. I have the paper back that collects entitled, "The Life of Captain Marvel" was a fantastic epic that dove tailed into the Warlock saga. But I digress, Roy Thomas was a favorite writer of mine all through out the seventies. His work on Conan got me interested in reading the actual Robert E. Howard novels. I wanted to read what the comics couldn't adapt or miss.

    I just think his work on "The Invaders" would have gotten more recognition if he had went with a different artist. I was hoping that Sal Buscema or Jack Kirby would have illustated that series because it was a book I went out of my way to avoid.

  3. Groov, Yep Thomas' time was some of the finest in 4 color fun.



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