Tag Archives: Roy Thomas

Roy Thomas and the Avengers raise money for Hero Initiative! YAY!

I’ve mentioned this a few times in the last weeks…Roy Thomas penciled a cover for an issue of Avengers, and I got to ink it, and we auctioned off the artwork to raise money for THE HERO INITIATIVE, a very worthy cause.

…and as the auction ended, the cover raised $635 for retired cartoonists with medical bills and no way to pay ‘em (which is a big part of what HERO does).   What a lovely way to end the alarmingly busy, but pleasant month of May.  Tra la!

There’s plenty of covers left to auction off from this AVENGERS 100 set…here’s a few on the block right now!

The always lovely and talented TERRY DODSON

Click on the image to be taken to the auction

and the lovely and very Canadian Stuart Immonen.

Click on the image to be taken to the auction

It’s always a great cause, and some of these Avengers covers are the best sketches I’ve ever seen….(see below)

Ty the Guy

Here now, your BONUS Hero Avengers cover moment:

Click on the image and be taken to Steve Epting's Sketchblog!

Isn’t THAT pretty?

Oh, we could be Heroes…Just for one bid.

Well, that opening David Bowie pun gives away my age, doesn’t it? (For you youngsters in the crowd, David Bowie was in a band called Tin Machine, go ask your mom.)

Now this:

A couple of weeks back, I was showing off a delightful gig I’d gotten, where I got to ink a cover for the Hero Initiative Avengers 100 project, inking over pencils by….ROY THOMAS.

Roy Thomas?

Yes, Roy Thomas.  The legendary Marvel editor, Conan writer, Avengers creator, and perpetual fanboy penciled his first ever Marvel cover for this project and I got to ink it, and it’s finally up for auction on eBay HERE.

Go bid on the cover, please and thank you.  The proceeds go to help out comic creators in desperate time, such as Gene Colan, Russ Heath and other living legends who need a hero in their lives when they run into disastrous health problems and  medical bills.

Forget about my participation, you could be the first fan on Earth to have an original Roy Thomas Avengers cover.  Talk about unique!  Rare!  One-of-a-kind!  Other synonyms for singular objects!

Ty the Guy OUT!

Click on the image to be taken to the eBay auction page, and throw your money onto a good cause.

Roy Thomas and Ty Templeton? Sometimes things work out perfectly!

I’ve mentioned once or twice on this blog that my first ever comic book that I purchased with my own money was Avengers #58

Start collecting comics right here, and then get back to me.

Rascally Roy Thomas, Big John Buscema, Gorgeous George Klein…PLUS the Vision joins the Avengers, and has a good cry.   I suggest that it’s one of the best comics of the Sixties, and certainly one of the reasons I’m addicted to these funny books in general and the Vision in specific.  I had older brothers, and had read comics for a year or so previous, and even had a copy of the Avengers from just two months before, bought by my Grandmother I believe…

I still have these original copies, still in pretty good shape after all these years. Thanks Grandma.

But #58 is where I start spending my own 12 cents a month on these things, thus Roy Thomas and Ultron and these characters mean a LOT to me.

So you can imagine my unspeakable joy in being asked to collaborate with Roy Thomas on an Avengers project.  The Hero Initiative (a charity organization that helps out comic book creators in retirement and in need with medical expenses and other necessities) wanted me to ink a cover that Roy Thomas had penciled.

Fig. 1. The Rascally One himself.

You heard me right.  Roy Thomas pencils.

He edits. He writes. And now, he draws!

Mark Waid, and Jim McLauchlin, the two folks who asked me to help out, asked me to “tweak” the art so it was a little more “on model” for the characters, but I was torn…I figured anyone who might want to bid on a Roy Thomas original comic cover for charity might not want it obscured by the inker.  I sure wouldn’t.  So I tried to clean up the drawing without obliterating the one-of-a-kind Roy Thomas pencils.

Here’s what I came up with.

I added a wing to Thor's helmet, and those little round things to Iron Man's hips, but otherwise tried to keep as much to the original as I could manage...while tarting it up with shading and linework.

And I couldn’t be happier.  How often does anyone get a chance to work with one of the people who inspired them as a young child?  And with the very characters that were involved in that inspiration?  And for a good cause?  Sometimes things work out perfectly.

Go here to check out the Hero Initiative Website and their entry on this cover.

And if you’ve never heard of Roy Thomas, SHAME on you.  He’s one of the most important creators in comics, and besides being responsible for about a third of the Marvel Universe, and a small chunk of the DCU,  Roy is the reason you’ve heard of Conan, and probably the reason you’ve heard of the Golden Age of Comics.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, you Roy Thomas Moment from Avengers #58:

ALSO:  He apparently played baseball in the Seventies…

 

Unless it's just a common sounding name...

 

MORE UNKNOWN MARVEL, and some UNKNOWN WRITING

Because I’m penciling and inking some stuff for Marvel at the moment, all last week we devoted this blog to unseen artwork I’ve done for Marvel comics in my career.   I still have a million more things to show you in that area, but today, I thought I’d spend a little space talking about some WRITING for Marvel that a lot of people don’t know I did, simply because it was for the Marvel younger readers line, and the average fan simply IGNORES them. It’s a pity, because some of the creators who worked for that line were deserving of more attention.  Graham Nolan, Norm Breyfogle, and Tom Grummett worked on some of the issues before and after my brief run, just to name a few.  And of course, Jeff Parker (now doing well with Hulk office gigs) wrote a SLEW of the Marvel Adventures Avengers books before I got to ‘em.  But here’s the three I wrote:

The premise for the issues, as asked for by the editor, was to tell stories about Avengers that were NOT part of the regular team…new members joining, or old members showing up for a visit….as a way of introducing the newer readers to these characters.    If anyone recalls a post from a couple of weeks ago, I consider the ROY THOMAS/JOHN BUSCEMA Avengers period in the late sixties/early seventies the pinnacle of comics excellence from that period.  Silver Age Marvel is Roy and John to me, even SLIGHTLY more so than Stan and Jack, or Stan and Steve, simply because it got inside my brain first.   So when given a second chance at these Avengers characters, I went right back to that well of inspiration again and went for the characters originally from that era.  Quicksilver, Hercules, and of course THE VISION. Amusingly enough, they ran the stories in the opposite order from which I wrote them.

The Quicksilver story was a fun script.   Quicksilver has been kidnapped and forced (in a roundabout way) to betray the Avengers to a super-villainess, the creator (in this continuity) of the Super-Adaptoid.  The art was by my good friend Stephen Molnar, with whom I’d later do my STAR TREK GRAPHIC NOVEL.

I’d had the idea for the Hercules issue in my head for years:  If Hercules was immortal, why hasn’t he been part of human history?  Where was he during World War 2, or the American Revolution.  Or heck, ANYWHERE in  history?  It didn’t make sense to me that so outgoing a character would have stayed hidden for centuries.  But what if he had no choice?  What if he’d been imprisoned for a few thousand years…buried in lava rock beneath the streets of Pompeii?  Perhaps his cousin, Pluto, sent the lava from the center of the Earth JUST to mess with the demi-god.  Sucks to be from Pompeii and get stuck in the middle of it, but from there it was easy to extrapolate a story.

For the last story, this lazy, unscrupulous, thieving bastard went after Roy and John’s original Vision two parter AGAIN!  Last time (in Avengers United) I re-worked the second part, where the team figures out what to do with the killer android in their midst, so this time, I reworked part one of the original story, and set the killer android against the Avengers for the first time.  But instead of ULTRON creating him, this time he’s a creation of Pym’s robotics, Stark’s security tech, and the life force from a bolt of lightning from Ororro/Storm.  (Thor was my first choice for the lightning bolt, obviously, but he wasn’t on the team at the time).  I’m very happy with how this issue turned out, and would love to re-visit this version of our red and green robot pal, but the series eventually ran out of steam and  finished up.  Sigh.

Still a GREAT gig for a few months.  And dig those crazy Grummett covers!

One last image for the lost Marvel today.  It’s an ad I drew for HEROCLIX last year.  Heroclix is sort of a game, sort of an action figure, sort of a desert topping.  Obviously, with Ultimates Cap and Ultimates Iron Man, standing next to Classis 616 Hawkeye and Wasp, with the Simonson Thor tossed in with the Witch and the Seventies Wonder Man, this Avengers team exists only for this ad…but wouldn’t that be a fun team?  Like much of the lost Marvel stuff, I’ve never seen where this ad ran, or what it looked like in colour.  If anyone has a copy in colour, I’d die to see it.  ALSO:  Since last week, I have been told there are Spanish X-Men comics with my art on the covers, taken from the many video covers, and have been promised scans .

Oh, this reminds me…I have a Heroclix story of EPIC scope that I’ll post later this week.  It has to do with my eldest son, and a mini-series I wrote that I NEVER thought they’d make Heroclix for.

Ty the Guy

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BIG PS:  As a lifelong Vision freak, I was excited and elated last week to receive an email from Vision artist RICHARD  HOWELL, who bought a page or two of Mike Parobeck Elongated Man stuff off me.  Richard wanted to know if I’d remembered him…?  Like I would ever forget anyone who worked on the Vision miniseries?  This fangeek is as fangeek as they come!  Here’s one of Richard’s covers below.  Thanks for the email, Richard, and best of luck with your current work at CLAYPOOL COMICS.

Thus endeth the shout-out.

Ty

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Comics that Matter (to me, anyway)

One of the nicer things that my vast fame and fortune has brought me is that I get interviewed from time to time about the comics that were most influential on me and my career…the comics that matter.  And I’ve been asked enough that the answer is down to a science now.

The first one is BATMAN #251, THE JOKER’S FIVE WAY REVENGE.  This is the first DC comic I ever purchased with my own money, and WOW, what a doozy to start with.   There’s a great saying that goes–”The Golden Age of everything is 12 years old”.  That’s when your opinions form, that’s when you find the best version of TV, movies, comics, fiction, girls…the stuff that you measure all the others against for the rest of your life, and this is one of the comics that falls into that category for me.  I often wonder if I’d be doing this for a living if my first comic had been something by lights lesser than the great DENNY O’NEIL and NEAL ADAMS!  And it’s not just a comic by these titans, it’s the comic that re-introduces the Joker to the world, with a brand-spanking-new homicidal bent to him like never before.

In previous years, the Joker had been a tepid character…robbing banks with rubber chickens, and kidnapping clowns, and the like (gems like “JOKER’S MILLIONS” were still undiscovered by me at the time, so I didn’t know Joker much beyond his TV show version…) But this story involves Joker murdering his entire gang, just to make sure he got the one member who was an informant.  He kills these guys with bombs, electrocution, and ends with tossing an old guy into a shark tank, wheelchair and all.  Illustrated by Neal Adams in his “new” exciting style, this was like no other comic I’d ever seen, and I instantly wanted more, more, more.  Sadly, Neal only drew one further  Batman comic (for a while anyway) before handing the series over to the wonderfully skilled Irv Novick…but it didn’t matter.  I was addicted to both Batman and Neal Adams for the rest of my life, and still am.   As an adult, I go back to this comic and re-read it, and I use it as a teaching tool in my TORONTO CARTOONISTS WORKSHOP classes to show off story and character construction.  Fortunately, it’s not just my own nostalgia that makes this comic a classic, and everyone I show it to, is as blown away by it as I am.

Next up:  These two issues of the Avengers were the first two Marvel comics I owned.  Purchased by an older brother when I was about seven years old, and left (in very lovely condition) at my Grandmother’s apartment until years later when I got to read them, probably at the age of twelve.  Again…for a first introduction to these characters of Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Blank Panther, Yellowjacket, Wasp and of course…the Vision…this was a magnificent place to start.  EVEN AN ANDROID CAN CRY is often cited as one of the best written superhero comics of the sixties, and I’d be in no position to argue.

Roy Thomas‘ script is touching, exciting, and intelligent, something this child of STAR TREK and TWILIGHT ZONE (my favorite shows as a kid) recognized as different from the other stuff that comics were about.  And the artwork by John Buscema and George Klein is stunningly good.  It remains, to this day, my mind’s eye version of the what the PERFECT Marvel comic artist should strive to achieve….with layouts that jump around the page, but still lead the eye correctly from panel to panel.  Human bodies, drawn with exquisite anatomy and detail, are leaping and jumping from the first page to the last, and the second issue in the two parter is essentially a long conversation about what to do with the android in the building that tried to kill us.  A conversation?!?  And it was that exciting and lively?  If I ever get half this good as either a writer or a penciler, I get to retire with a smile.

These three comics (along with a few issues of Mad Magazine, Tintin and Asterix that were also left to me by older siblings) are the bedrock foundation of my love of this biz.  If, instead, I’d purchased as my first comics, BROTHER POWER THE GEEK, PATSY WALKER, or RED WOLF, we can rest assured I’d be a baker or a plumber at this point in life.

Besides getting me into the lifestyle…I’ve been influenced more directly by these comics by mining them for scripts and images more than once.  Seen above, my cover for BATMAN ADVENTURES #31 is clearly an homage or an all out steal of the #251 cover.  At the time I drew it, I was not conscious of the similarity, but that’s what an influence is…it’s there inside your brain telling you “If you want to make it more dramatic, make the Joker one hundred stories tall!” without realizing why you’re doing it.  It’s not theft, it’s INFLUENCE…

The Vision story I stole far more directly.  When I was assigned the writing chores with AVENGERS UNITED, one of the first scripts I turned in was a re-working of Thomas/Buscema’s original VISION story, only with the twist that my issue was called “Androids Can’t Cry”, and I switch out the ending.  This one I WAS conscious of ripping off, and I had so much fun playing in the sandbox that had been there since I was a child, it’s hard to explain the joy.  When I met Roy Thomas, years later, the first words out of my mouth were babbling nonsense about apologizing for stealing his story, but I couldn’t help myself, etc.  I’m certain he walked away from the meeting believing I was a madman and has mercifully forgotten me.

Since I brought ‘em up, next time out in “COMICS THAT MATTER” I’ll discuss the early Tintin and Asterix and Mad stuff that sits inside my brain, below even this superhero stuff.

Ty the Guy

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