As I’ve said before, I’m a huge X-Men fan. As an awkward, lonely teenager who didn’t feel like he really belonged anywhere, the X-Men gave me a sense that I was not alone. They were really the reason I started collecting comics in the first place, and I’ve managed to stick with them, through the good and the bad. For my first comics article on this site, I decided to rank the X-Men writers. But as I went about doing this, I realized ranking all of them might be difficult.
So instead, I wrote about the 5 Best and 5 Worst X-Men Writers. And when the article was released, there were a number of comments from people talking about how they felt a certain writer deserved to make it into one of the coveted five spots. I felt this writer was close and I almost considered giving him an honorable mention in that article, but I decided against it (more on that writer later).
Since then, I’ve thought a lot about that article, and I’ve thought back on the X-Men’s fifty-year history. And I managed to discover another five writers who are very good and very deserving of note. So here we have Five X-Men Writers Worthy of Mention. And we start off with…
5. Roy Thomas
If there’s one man who could be labeled the successor to Stan Lee, it’s Roy Thomas. Hired by Marvel Comics in 1965, Thomas became one of Marvel’s most prolific writers, penning successful runs on the Avengers, Iron Man, Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, introduced pulp hero Conan into Marvel Comics, and he was the first editor-in-chief following Lee. After Lee departed the X-Men, Thomas took over for him.
It’s hard to believe now, but once upon a time, the X-Men was a low-selling title. It was constantly on the verge of cancellation, but of all the writers in the 60s, none put forth a more valiant effort than Thomas. His first stint wasn’t very memorable, but his second stint, which paired him with artist Neal Adams, was without a doubt the strongest of the X-Men’s early years.
This short run saw new characters like Cyclops’ brother, Havok, as well as Polaris, the presumed (later confirmed) daughter of Magneto, joining the team. This era also saw the return of the mutant-hunting Sentinels and the introduction of longtime X-Men enemies Sauron of the Savage Land and the Living Monolith.
While nowhere near as successful as later attempts, the Thomas run is still a highlight of the Silver Age of comics, and helped to give the original X-Men some much-needed personality and life. But unfortunately, it was really a case of too little, too late. The X-Men were really in need of a complete overhaul and a total facelift. Fortunately, writers came along who were willing to do just that.
This article was first posted on May 4, 2013