Walter "Walt" Simonson (born September 2, 1946) is an American comic book writer and artist, best known for a run on Marvel Comics' Thor from 1983 to 1987, during which he created the character Beta Ray Bill. He is also known for the creator-owned work Star Slammers, which he inaugurated in 1972 as a Rhode Island School of Design thesis. He has also worked on other Marvel titles such as X-Factor and Fantastic Four, on DC Comics books including Detective Comics, Manhunter, Metal Men and Orion, and on licensed properties such as Star Wars, Alien, Battlestar Galactica and Robocop vs. Terminator.
Simonson at the Big Apple Summer Sizzler, June 13, 2009
September 2, 1946
Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
Detective Comics (Manhunter)
Walter Simonson was born September 2, 1946 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and lived there for two and a half years. When his father, who worked for the United States Department of Agriculture, received a promotion at work that required him to relocate to Washington, D.C., Simonson, his younger brother and his parents moved to Maryland, where Simonson's parents still lived as of 1989. Simonson first read comics as a child, through the subscriptions to Walt Disney's Comics and Stories that his brother had. By the age of ten he was an avid fan of the work of Carl Barks, Little Lulu, Little Iodine, and Alex Toth's work on The Land Unknown. He also enjoyed drawing from a very young age. Although Simonson was embarrassed to be seen by girls buying comics while in high school, he discovered Russ Manning's work on Magnus Robot Fighter right before he started college, and submitted a drawing that was printed in issue #10 in May, 1965, in the publication's fan page, "Robot Gallery." This was his first published work in comics.
Simonson studied geology at Amherst College, with the intent of becoming an expert on dinosaurs. In 1964 or 1965, Simonson discovered Marvel Comics, in particular that company's version of Thor. Having already developed an interest in Norse mythology prior to discovering Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's take on the hammer-wielding deity, it became Simonson's favorite title, one that he read for four years. From this he realized that drawing comics was more fun, and more feasible as a career than working outdoors in hot weather as a geologist or paleontologist, despite harboring a love for the latter that continued the rest of his life. Simonson came to be heavily influenced by the artists who worked for Marvel, such as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Gil Kane, as well as British artist Jim Holdaway and European artists such as Moebius, Jean-Claude Mézières, Antonio Hernandez Palacios and Sergio Toppi. In 1967, while in college, Simonson began writing his own epic story starring Lee and Kirby's version of the character, featuring Surtur and the Odinsword. In later years he would be given the opportunity to publish this story, as the writer on that title.
After graduating from Amherst with a degree in Geology, Simonson took a year off, and then enrolled as an art major at the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 1972. His thesis project there was the 50-page black and white book The Star Slammers, which took him two years to write, pencil, letter and ink himself, and was published as a sort of ashcan promotional comic book for the 1974 World Science Fiction Convention in Washington, D.C. (DisCon II). Simonson would later revisit Star Slammers throughout his career, publishing it through various publishers over the decades.
In August 1972, Simonson traveled to New York with his Star Slammers portfolio, and met with Gerry Boudreau, a friend who worked for DC Comics, where, as Simonson recalls, many young artists had begun working in the 1970s, in contrast to Marvel, which Simonson perceived as more stagnant. Boudreau arranged a meeting between Simonson and editor Archie Goodwin. After meeting with Goodwin, Simonson went to DC's coffee room, where he saw Howard Chaykin, Michael Kaluta, Berni Wrightson and Alan Weiss sitting together. Simonson struck up a conversation with the artists, who looked at his portfolio. Kaluta showed Simonson's work to Assistant Production Manager Jack Adler, who in turn showed it to DC Publisher Carmine Infantino, who after being shown the portfolio, summoned Simonson into his office. After speaking to Simonson for about ten minutes, he had Goodwin and his fellow editors Julius Schwartz and Joe Orlando give Simonson work. Simonson walked out of Infantino's office with jobs from each one of them.
At one point Simonson lived in the same Queens apartment building as artists Allen Milgrom, Howard Chaykin and Bernie Wrightson. Simonson recalls, "We'd get together at 3 a.m. They'd come up and we'd have popcorn and sit around and talk about whatever a 26, 27 and 20-year-old guys talk about. Our art, TV, you name it. I pretty much knew at the time, 'These are the good ole days.'"
Simonson's first professional published comic book work was illustrating writer Len Wein's story "Cyrano's Army", which appeared in DC's Weird War Tales #10, which was cover-dated January 1973. He also did a number of illustrations for the Harry N. Abrams, Inc. edition of The Hobbit, and at least one unrelated print of a samurai warrior that was purchased by Harvard University's Fogg Museum, and included in its annual undergraduate-use loan program. Simonson's breakthrough illustration job was "Manhunter", a backup feature in DC's Detective Comics written by Goodwin, which cemented Simonson's professional reputation. In a 2000 interview, Simonson recalled, "What 'Manhunter' did was to establish me professionally. Before 'Manhunter,' I was one more guy doing comics; after 'Manhunter,' people in the field knew who I was. It'd won a bunch of awards the year that it ran, and after that, I really had no trouble finding work." Simonson then drew other DC series such as Metal Men and Hercules Unbound and co-created Doctor Phosphorus with Steve Englehart. Batman #300 (June 1978) featured a story by Simonson and writer David Vern Reed. In 1979 Simonson and Goodwin collaborated on an adaptation of the movie Alien, published by Heavy Metal. It was on Alien that Simonson's long working relationship with letterer John Workman began. Workman has lettered most of Simonson's work since.
Starting in January 1977, Simonson was the original artist on The Rampaging Hulk, a black-and-white magazine published by Marvel's Curtis Magazines line. Simonson also had his first run on Thor at this time, working only as the series' artist alongside writer Len Wein. In late 1978, Simonson, Howard Chaykin, Val Mayerik, and Jim Starlin formed Upstart Associates, a shared studio space on West 29th Street in New York City. The membership of the studio changed over time.
In 1979 Simonson did writing and art on a book for the first time with his run on Marvel's licensed Battlestar Galactica series, penciling 12 sporadic issues from issues #4 to 23 with writer Roger McKenzie. Simonson began co-writing the series with McKenzie with issue #11, co-wrote some issues with Bob Layton and Steven Grant after McKenzie left the title, wrote began writing the book himself with issue #19, staying on until issue #23.
Simonson is best known for his work on Marvel Comics' Thor which he began writing and drawing with issue #337 (Nov. 1983). During his run as writer/artist, Simonson used the epic story that he first began writing in college in 1967, transformed Thor into a frog for three issues and introduced the supporting character Beta Ray Bill, an alien warrior who unexpectedly proved worthy to wield Thor's hammer, Mjolnir. He left the book as artist with issue #367 (May 1986), after which Sal Buscema took over. Simonson continued to write the book until issue #382 (Aug. 1987). Buscema described Simonson's stories as "very stimulating. It was a pleasure working on his plots, because they were a lot of fun to illustrate. He had a lot of great ideas, and he took Thor in a totally new direction." In late 1986 he dropped several of his assignments, including Thor, remarking that "I had a very busy season over the past six to eight months, and I'd like to take some time off, to take time maybe to take stock and refuel a bit."
Simonson was to have drawn a Daredevil story written by Frank Miller but it was never completed and remains unpublished. Simonson joined his wife Louise on the X-Factor series with issue #10. In #25, the creators gave the character the Angel blue skin and metal wings in a process which would lead to his being renamed as "Archangel". Their run on X-Factor included the story arcs "Mutant Massacre", "Fall of the Mutants," and "Inferno".
Simonson left Upstart Associates in late 1986.
Simonson became writer of the Fantastic Four with issue #334 (Dec. 1989), and three issues later began penciling and inking as well (#337). For issues #347-349, he collaborated with Arthur Adams, introducing the "New Fantastic Four" consisting of Wolverine, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider and the Hulk. In issue #345 he depicted dinosaurs with feathers, two decades before this idea gained mainstream acceptance among paleontologists. Simonson's decision to depict the dinosaurs in this manner was inspired by Gregory S. Paul's then-controversial book, Predatory Dinosaurs of the World, in which Paul theorized that dinosaurs had feathers. Because this idea was met with skepticism from the scientific community at the time, Simonson decided to compromise by depicting the dinosaurs with a small amount of feathers, rather than covered with them. Simonson left the Fantastic Four with issue #354 (July 1991). In 1992, he wrote and illustrated the one-shot Superman Special #1 for DC. His other Marvel credits in the decade included co-plotting/writing the Iron Man 2020 one-shot (June 1994) and writing the Heroes Reborn version of The Avengers.
In the 2000s, Simonson mostly worked for DC Comics. From 2000 to 2002 he wrote and illustrated Orion. After that series ended, he wrote six issues of Wonder Woman (vol. 2) drawn by Jerry Ordway. In 2002, he contributed an interview to Panel Discussions, a nonfiction book about the developing movement in sequential art and narrative literature, along with Durwin Talon, Will Eisner, Mike Mignola and Mark Schultz.
From 2003 to 2006, he drew the four issue prestige mini-series Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer, written by Elric's creator, Michael Moorcock. This series was collected as a 192-page graphic novel in 2007 by DC. He continued to work for DC in 2006 writing Hawkgirl, with pencillers Howard Chaykin, Joe Bennett, and Renato Arlem.
His other work includes cover artwork for a Bat Lash mini-series and the ongoing series Vigilante, as well as writing a Wildstorm comic book series based on the online role-playing game World of Warcraft. The Warcraft series ran 25 issues and was from #15 on co-written with his wife, Louise Simonson. He wrote the Demon and Catwoman serial in Wednesday Comics in 2009.
In 2011, Simonson had a cameo role in the live-action Thor film, appearing as one of the guests at a large Asgardian banquet. The sequel, Thor: The Dark World, featured Simonson's character Malekith the Accursed.
Other work in the 2010s includes drawing six issues of The Avengers vol. 4 in 2012 and providing the artwork for three issues of The Indestructible Hulk which guest starred Thor. Simonson collaborated with his wife for a short story in Rocketeer Adventures vol. 2 #4 and drew covers for several Rocketeer comics during this period.
In 2012 DC Comics published The Judas Coin, a graphic novel written and drawn by Simonson. The book shows how one silver coin paid to Judas to betray Jesus affects various characters down the centuries including Batman.
Simonson's distinctive signature consists of his last name, distorted to resemble a Brontosaurus. Simonson's reason for this was explained in a 2006 interview. "My mom suggested a dinosaur since I was a big dinosaur fan."
Simonson inked his own work with a Hunt 102 Pro-quill pen. He switched to a brush during the mid-to-late 2000s, and despite the disparity between the two tools, Bryan Hitch, an admirer of Simonson's, stated that he could not tell the difference, calling Simonson's brush work "as typically good and powerful as his other work."
|2009||Batman: Black and White (episode "Legend")||Writer and artist||TV series|
|2011||Thor||Cameo as Asgardian|
|2013||Thor: The Dark World||Special thanks, creator of villain Malekith the Accursed|
Together with exciting new artist Walt Simonson, [Archie] Goodwin executed seven flawless tales that chronicled Paul Kirk's hunt for the world's deadliest game." " Manhunter's award-winning revival earned undying acclaim for its talented storytellers.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
Engelhart and Simonson introduced readers to Dr. Phosphorus, who earned a spot in Batman's Rogues Gallery.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
In these stories, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Walter Simonson, the Hulk contended against an invading race of aliens called the Krylorians.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
The gist of it is that by the time Marvel was interested in having us work on the story, Frank was off doing Dark Knight and I was off doing X-Factor. So it never happened. Too bad--it was a cool story too.
Take Spidey, Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and the Hulk, add a script by Walt Simonson and illustrations by Art Adams, and the result is one of the best Marvel comics of the decade.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
This is because Simonson...decided to be as accurate as he possibly could in the depiction of the dinosaurs in the issue. He relied heavily on Gregory Paul's book, Predator Dinosaurs of the World, which was a controversial call at the time as Paul's theories regarding dinosaurs having feathers was not yet proven and drew much skepticism from other scientists.
| Thor artist
| Star Wars artist
| Thor artist
| Thor writer
| The Avengers writer
(as John Harkness)
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Rob Liefeld and Jeph Loeb
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| Wonder Woman writer
Ahab (Dr. Roderick "Rory" Campbell) is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.
Dr. Roderick Campbell made his live action debut as the main antagonist of the first season of The Gifted television series portrayed by Garret Dillahunt. This version of the character was shown as the head researcher of Trask Industries.Bereet
Bereet is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.Beta Ray Bill
Beta Ray Bill is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Debuting in the Bronze Age of Comic Books, the character was initially intended to be a surprise; an apparent monster who unexpectedly turns out to be a great hero. As such, Bill becomes the first being outside the Marvel Universe's Norse pantheon to be deemed worthy to wield Thor's hammer, Mjolnir. After an initial rivalry for possession of the weapon, the alien warrior was granted a war hammer of his own, called Stormbreaker, and the two reconciled as staunch allies, going on to fight side by side.
Beta Ray Bill has been featured in other Marvel-endorsed products, such as animated television series, video games, and merchandise.Elves (Marvel Comics)
There are many fictional Elves appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The most common of the Elves are the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim and the Light Elves of Alfheim that are based on the elves of Norse mythology. They frequently appear in stories featuring the superhero Thor.
The Dark Elves appear in the 2013 Marvel Studios film Thor: The Dark World.Helix (comics)
Helix was a short-lived, science fiction and science fantasy imprint of DC Comics, launched in 1996 and discontinued in 1998. In early promotional materials prior to the release of the first title, the imprint was called Matrix instead of Helix. It was renamed because of the then-upcoming film, The Matrix. It featured a handful of ongoing monthly series, several limited series, and one short graphic novel.
Despite the involvement of successful science fiction/fantasy novelists Michael Moorcock, Lucius Shepard and Christopher Hinz, and established comics creators Howard Chaykin, Elaine Lee, Matt Howarth, Warren Ellis, Walt Simonson, and Garth Ennis, sales of the comic books were low, and most of the ongoing titles were cancelled after 12 or fewer issues. Ellis' Transmetropolitan was switched to the Vertigo imprint, where it continued for several more years before reaching its planned conclusion. Ennis' Bloody Mary mini-series and Michael Moorcock's Multiverse were later collected in Vertigo-label paperbacks and Moeller's Sheva's War was released as a graphic novel paperback by Dark Horse.
Limited availability of the books in bookstores that already sold science fiction, resistance among science-fiction readers to serialized monthly publication, the lower visibility of the line's deliberately muted cover color palette, and the lack of interest in genre SF among regular patrons of comic-book stores, were all cited by industry observers as factors in the imprint's demise.Horsemen of Apocalypse
The Horsemen of Apocalypse are a team of fictional supervillain characters that appear in comic books published by Marvel Comics.Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle
Detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle is a fictional character portrayed by actor Gene Hackman in the films The French Connection (1971) and its sequel, French Connection II (1975), and by Ed O'Neill in the 1986 television film Popeye Doyle. Hackman won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in The French Connection. The character is based on a real-life New York City police detective, Eddie Egan, who also appeared in the film as Walt Simonson, Doyle's supervisor. Doyle, as played by Hackman in The French Connection, is ranked number 44 as a hero on the AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains list.Kurse
Kurse is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer/artist Walter Simonson, the character first appears as the Dark Elf Algrim the Strong in Thor #347 (Sep. 1984). He is later transformed into Kurse in Secret Wars II #4 (Oct. 1985).
Algrim is portrayed by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in the 2013 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor: The Dark World.List of Thor (Marvel Comics) titles
Thor is a comic book superhero in the Marvel Comics Universe. Since 1962, he has starred in several ongoing series, as well as a large number of limited series and specials. All stories are published exclusively by Marvel Comics under their standard imprint, unless otherwise noted.Lorelei (Asgardian)
Lorelei is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She is based on the being Lorelei from Germanic mythology.Malekith the Accursed
Malekith the Accursed () is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is the ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, and has come into conflict with Thor. He once wielded the Casket of Ancient Winters.
The character was portrayed by Christopher Eccleston in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor: The Dark World.Mortalla
Mortalla is a fictional extraterrestrial goddess published by DC Comics.Nanny (comics)
Nanny is the name of a fictional mutant character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character appears in X-Men and related titles.Orphan-Maker
Orphan-Maker (Peter) is a fictional mutant character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. His first appearance was in X-Factor vol. 1 #31.Rictor
Rictor (Julio Esteban "Ric" Richter) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, primarily in the X-Men family of books. The character was created by writer Louise Simonson and artist Walt Simonson and first appeared in X-Factor #17 (June 1987). In subsequent years, the character was featured as a member of the original New Mutants team and the original X-Force team, and continued to appear in various X-Men franchise publications thereafter. In comic books published in the 1980s and 1990s, Rictor's mutant powers were to generate and manipulate seismic energy and creating tremendously powerful vibrations in any nearby object, inducing earthquake-like phenomena and causing objects to shatter or crumble. When the character was reintroduced in 2005, it was as one of many depowered mutants adjusting to civilian life. The character remained depowered until a 2011 comic.
Introduced in the late 1980s as a supporting character in X-Factor, Rictor appeared in Marvel comics for ten years under the pens of a number of different writers; much of his character development in this period came from Fabian Nicieza's run on X-Force. The character returned to publication in 2005 with the X-Factor vol.3 and has been written by Peter David continually since then. Responding to fan interest in the gay subtext surrounding the character in Jeph Loeb's X-Force run, Rictor's kiss with teammate Shatterstar in the pages of X-Factor vol.3 in 2009 became the first depiction of a same-sex kiss in a mainstream Marvel Comics publication. Since then, Rictor has been written as an out gay man who is fully accepting of his sexual identity, and one of the few gay superheroes in the Marvel Universe.RoboCop Versus The Terminator (comics)
RoboCop Versus The Terminator is a four-issue comic book crossover limited series published in 1992 by Dark Horse Comics. It was written by Frank Miller and drawn by Walt Simonson.Scaleface
Scaleface is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.Silver St. Cloud
Silver St. Cloud is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with the superhero Batman. The character debuted in Detective Comics #470 (February 1978) and was created by Steve Englehart and Walt Simonson. Silver St. Cloud is typically depicted as a romantic interest of Bruce Wayne, who is also Batman.Sword of Sorcery
Sword of Sorcery was an American sword-and-sorcery comics anthology featuring Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, heroes and rogues created by Fritz Leiber. Published bi-monthly by DC Comics, it ran for five issues in 1973, with a cover price of 20¢. The title was written by Denny O'Neil and featured art by Howard Chaykin, Walt Simonson, and Jim Starlin.
In June 2012, the series returned with a revival of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld by writer Christy Marx and artist Aaron Lopresti. The title included a backup feature starring Beowulf written by Tony Bedard and drawn by Jesus Saiz.