JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - A Jackson native who created Wolverine and many other comic book characters was back in his home town Friday.
Writer Roy Thomas is the former editor and chief of Marvel Comics and is visiting this weekend for his 60th Jackson High school reunion.
Thomas stopped by the Cape Girardeau County History Center Friday night to see a new comic book display that features him.
It was put together by Michael Archer and looks at the history of Superman, a character that Thomas says is celebrating his 80th year.
“I would never thought there would a comic book exhibit in Jackson, Missouri," Thomas said. "Because I used to get in trouble if I would go into the local library, and Librarian Miss Bess would just rage at me and throw me out if I walked in there with a comic book. Nowadays they’re happy to see people read comics because at least they are reading, so times have changed.”
Thomas got his start when he took a job as an assistant editor to the Superman comics in New York City.
“But I didn’t like the editor so after a week or two I quit and I jumped over to much smaller Marvel comics. It was only a fraction of the size at that time in 1965 compared to D.C.,” Thomas said.
Since then the writer has lived in Los Angles, where he has done work for TV and film and now lives in South Carolina and raises animals in the countryside.
Thomas says he comes back to Jackson once or twice a year, and always enjoys seeing old friends. One of the writers he was closest to was Jackson Native Gary Friedrich, who created Ghostrider. Thomas says they were going to have him as a guest Friday night, but unfortunately he passed away earlier this month.
“We both worked at the Palace Theater in the later 1950′s,” Thomas said. “We became friends very quickly, shared a little bit of a love for comics but more it was rock’n’roll and movies. We were in a band in the 1960′s until the Beatles came along and kind of leveled us out. He was a very wonderful guy. I saw him a couple of year ago. Yeah I really miss him.”
For aspiring writers and artists Thomas says you have to have some talent, some skill and a lot of luck to make it far.
“If you write stuff, if you draw stuff put it online, sooner or later you may get somebody in whatever field you are interested in to take a look at it," Thomas said. "Put yourself out there and give it a try and if you don’t that is okay to. I can imagine 4,000 worse things than having gone through my life here in Jackson, Missouri teaching here and doing something like that.”
Thomas is still writing a Spiderman comic strip with Stan Lee and for a magazine series called ‘Alter Ego’ about comic books and their creators.
He plans to make another trip back to Jackson in February 2018.