Writers of the Thing

This is where some of the most notable scriptwriters who worked on Ben Grimm's adventures are listed

Stan Lee (1922-)

Stanley Martin Lieber was born in New York City on December 28, 1922, in the apartment of parents Celia (maiden family name Solomon) and Jack Lieber, Romanian-born Jewish immigrants living in Manhattan. His father, trained as a dress cutter, worked only sporadically after the Great Depression, and the family moved further uptown to Fort Washington Avenue, in Washington Heights, Manhattan. When Lee was nearly 9, his only sibling, brother Larry Lieber, was born. He said in 2006 that as a child he was influenced by books and movies, particularly those with Errol Flynn playing heroic roles. By the time Lee was in his teens, the family was living in a one-bedroom apartment in The Bronx. Lee described it as "a third-floor apartment facing out back", with him and his brother sharing a bedroom and his parents using a foldout couch.

Lee attended DeWitt Clinton High School in The Bronx. In his youth, Lee enjoyed writing, and entertained dreams of one day writing The Great American Novel. In his youth he worked such part-time jobs as writing obituaries for a news service and press releases for the National Tuberculosis Center, delivering sandwiches for the Jack May pharmacy to offices in Rockefeller Center, working as an office boy for a trouser manufacturer; ushering at the Rivoli Theater on Broadway, and selling subscriptions to the New York Herald Tribune newspaper. He graduated high school early, at age 16½ in 1939, and joined the WPA Federal Theater Project.

With the help of his uncle Robbie Solomon, Lee became an assistant in 1939 at the new Timely Comics, the original name for pulp magazine and comic-book publisher Martin Goodman's company that would later become Marvel Comics in the 1960s. Lee, whose cousin Jean was Goodman's wife, was formally hired by the late Joe Simon, then an editor for Timely.

His duties were prosaic at first, beginning with the tasks of filling inkwells since many artists relied on those back in the 1930s. Marshaling his childhood ambition to be a writer, young Stanley Lieber made his comic-book debut with the text filler "Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge" in Captain America Comics #3 (May 1941), using the pseudonym "Stan Lee", which years later he would adopt as his legal name. Lee later explained in his autobiography and other numerous sources that he had intended to save his given name for more literary work. This initial story also introduced Captain America's trademark ricocheting shield-toss, which immediately became one of the character's signatures.

He graduated from writing filler to actual comics with a backup feature, "Headline Hunter, Foreign Correspondent", two issues later. Lee's first superhero co-creation was the Destroyer, in Mystic Comics #6 (Aug 1941). Other characters he created during this period fans and historians call the Golden Age of comics include Jack Frost, debuting in USA Comics #1 (Aug. 1941), and Father Time, debuting in Captain America Comics #6 (Aug. 1941).

When Simon and his creative partner Jack Kirby left late in 1941, following a dispute with Goodman, the 30-year-old publisher installed Lee, just under 19 years old, as interim editor. The youngster showed a knack for the business that led him to remain as the comic-book division's editor-in-chief, as well as art director for much of that time, until 1972, when he would succeed Goodman as publisher.

Lee entered the United States Army in early 1942 and served stateside in the Signal Corps, repairing telegraph poles and other communications equipment. He was later transferred to the Training Film Division, where he worked writing manuals, training films, and slogans, and occasionally cartooning. His military classification, he says, was "playwright"; he adds that only nine men in the U.S. Army were given that title. Vincent Fago, editor of Timely's "animation comics" section, which put out humor and funny animal comics, filled in until Lee returned from his World War II military service in 1945. Lee then lived in the rented top floor of a brownstone in Manhattan.

He married Joan Clayton Boocock on December 5, 1947, and in 1949, the couple bought a two-story, three-bedroom home at 1084 West Broadway in Woodmere, New York, on Long Island, living there through 1952. By this time, the couple had daughter Joan Celia "J.C." Lee, born in 1950; another child, Jan Lee, died three days after delivery in 1953. Lee by this time had bought a home in the Long Island town of Hewlett Harbor, New York, where he and his family lived from 1952 to 1980, including the 1960s period when Lee and his artist collaborators would revolutionize comic books.

In the mid-1950s, by which time the company was now generally known as Atlas Comics, Lee wrote stories in a variety of genres including romance, Westerns, humor, science fiction, medieval adventure, horror and suspense. In the 1950s, Lee teamed up with artist Dan DeCarlo of Archie fame to produce the syndicated newspaper strip, My Friend Irma, based on the radio comedy starring Marie Wilson. By the end of the decade, Lee had become dissatisfied with his career and considered quitting the field.

In the late 1950s, DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz revived the superhero archetype and experienced a significant success with its updated version of the Flash, and later with super-team the Justice League of America. In response, publisher Martin Goodman assigned Lee to create a new superhero team. Lee's wife urged him to experiment with stories he preferred, since he was planning on changing careers and had nothing to lose.

Lee acted on that advice, giving his superheroes a flawed humanity, a change from the ideal archetypes that were typically written for preteens. Before this, most superheroes were idealistically perfect people with no serious, lasting problems. Lee introduced complex, naturalistic characters who could have bad tempers, fits of melancholy, and vanity; they bickered amongst themselves, worried about paying their bills and impressing girlfriends, got bored or even were sometimes physically ill.

The first superhero group Lee and artist Jack Kirby created was the Fantastic Four. The team's immediate popularity led Lee and Marvel's illustrators to produce a cavalcade of new titles and characters. With Kirby primarily, Lee created the Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and the X-Men, with Don Heck, Iron Man, with Bill Everett, Daredevil, and with Steve Ditko, Doctor Strange and Marvel's most famous superhero, Spider-Man, all of whom lived in a thoroughly shared universe. Lee and Kirby gathered several of their newly created characters together into the team title The Avengers and would revive characters from the 1940s such as the Sub-Mariner, Captain America, and Ka-Zar.

He eventually made his way up to senior editor and then publisher by the 1970s, and even after relinquishing his writing chores to other scriptwriters, he never strayed far from the profession, with She-Hulk one of his creations in later days along with John Buscema.

Steve Gerber (1947-2008)

A native of Saint Louis, Missouri, he came from a family with 4 children, and his first job was as a copy editor for a city advertising agency. As a story writer, he began writing short stories, some of which were published in the satirical Crazy Magazine (one of them was titled "And the Birds Hummed Dirges"). In 1972, he auditioned in writing with Roy Thomas, by then a leading editor for Marvel, who gave him an assignment to script a Daredevil storyline that was illustrated by Gene Colan.

His resulting comics writing career at Marvel began with three comic books cover dated December 1972: Adventure into Fear #11, The Incredible Hulk #158, and a collaboration with writer Carole Seuling on Shanna the She-Devil. Gerber initially penned superhero stories for titles such as Daredevil (20 issues), Iron Man (3 issues), and Sub-Mariner (11 issues). Gerber penned anthology horror-fantasy stories for Creatures on the Loose (adaptations of Lin Carter's Thongor), Monsters Unleashed, Chamber of Chills, and Journey into Mystery. He also became a special editor for issues #11–14 of Crazy magazine.

Gerber scripted one of his signature creations, Man-Thing, about a swamp-monster empath, beginning in Adventure into Fear #11 (Dec. 1972). On page 11 of that issue, he created the series' narrative tagline, used in captions: "Whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing's touch!" After issue #19 (Dec. 1973), Man-Thing received a solo title, which ran 22 issues (Jan. 1974 – Oct. 1975). Gerber and Mayerik introduced the original Foolkiller in issue #3 (March 1974). In the final issue, Gerber appeared as a character in the story, claiming he had not been inventing the Man-Thing's adventures but simply reporting on them and that he had decided to move on.

With penciler Val Mayerik, Gerber created Howard the Duck, debuting him as a secondary character in a Man-Thing story in Adventure into Fear #19 (Dec. 1973). Howard graduated to his own backup feature in Giant-Size Man-Thing, confronting such bizarre horror-parody characters as the Hellcow and the Man-Frog, before acquiring his own comic-book title with Howard the Duck #1 in January 1976. Gerber wrote 27 issues of the series, penciled initially by Frank Brunner and shortly afterward by Colan. The series gradually developed a substantial cult following, which Marvel helped to promote by Howard's satiric entry into the 1976 U.S. presidential campaign under the auspices of the All-Night Party.

In the late 1970s, Gerber often worked with writer Mary Skrenes. Among other Marvel projects, Gerber created Omega The Unknown with Skrenes and artist Jim Mooney, which explored the strange link between a cosmic superhero and a boy, and wrote the first issue of Marvel Comics Super Special featuring the band KISS. He created the characters of Starhawk, Aleta Ogord, and Nikki. He wrote stories featuring Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, Morbius the Living Vampire and Lilith, Daughter of Dracula.

Gerber often revived forgotten characters. In The Defenders, he brought back three pre-superhero characters, the Headmen. He reintroduced the 1969 one-time feature Guardians of the Galaxy, first as guest stars in Marvel Two-in-One, for which he scripted the first few issues, and The Defenders, then as a feature in Marvel Presents.

During the mid 1970s and early to mid 1980s, Gerber did some work for DC Comics, including an issue of Metal Men, the last three issues of Mister Miracle, The Phantom Zone limited series, and a run of "Doctor Fate" backup stories in The Flash co-written with Martin Pasko. For independent comic companies, Gerber scripted the original graphic novel Stewart the Rat for Eclipse Comics, with art by Colan and Tom Palmer. For Eclipse Magazine Gerber and Mayerik created the anti-censorship horror story, "Role Model/Caring, Sharing, and Helping Others". In the late 80s, he resumed doing some writing for Marvel, producing another Man-Thing story in the Marvel Comics Presents anthology, and later the Midnight Sons series in the mid-90s.

He worked in television animation, working as story editor on the animated TV series The Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Dungeons & Dragons, created Thundarr the Barbarian, and shared a 1998 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class – Animated Program, for the WB program The New Batman/Superman Adventures.

He was one of the founders of the Malibu Comics Ultraverse, co-creating Sludge and Exiles. For Image Comics, he co-created The Cybernary with Nick Manabat and scripted Codename: Strykeforce, in addition to guest-writing Pitt. For DC he created Nevada for the Vertigo imprint in 1998 with artist Phil Winslade and Hard Time with long-time collaborator Skrenes, which outlasted the short-lived imprint DC Focus, but slow sales led Hard Time: Season Two to be cancelled after only seven issues.

In 2007, Gerber was diagnosed with an early stage of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and was eventually hospitalized while continuing to work. He had gotten onto the waiting list for a transplant at UCLA Medical Center. On February 10, 2008, Gerber died in a Las Vegas hospital from complications stemming from his condition.

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