With a career spanning over 40 years, Walt Simonson is an iconic creator, whose works have been reprinted many times, including Marvel Visionaries reprints for two different titles. Despite getting his initial degree in geology, Walt decided to enroll at Rhode Island School of Design, where he used his thesis project to help launch an illustrious career.
Using that thesis project, Star Slammers, as a portfolio, Walt was able to get work with DC comics shortly after graduating, illustrating a story in DC’s Weird War Tales issue 10. Shortly after, Simonson began drawing the award-winning “Manhunter,” a backup story in Detective Comics, which he credits with establishing him as an industry talent, and earning him consistent work, including runs on DC’s Metal Men and Hercules Unbound series.
After getting work on Marvel’s Rampaging Hulk series, where he introduced the character Bereet, seen briefly in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy film, Walt had his first run on Thor, working as the artist only. He continued to work with Marvel on Battlestar Galactica, as well as working on Alien for Heavy Metal. In 1982, Simonson drew the successful crossover The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans, written by Chris Claremont. It was the following year that he returned to Thor, both writing and drawing beginning with issue 337, where introduced now legendary Thor ally Beta Ray Bill, an alien who was the first non-Asgardian to be worthy of wielding Mjolnir. During this run, he also introduced several other important characters, including Malekith and Kurse, the main antagonists in Marvel’s 2013 film, Thor: The Dark World, as well as Lorelai, who appeared on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where she was pursued by Sif. Though Sal Buscema took over art duties with issue 368, Simonson continued writing Thor until issue 382, an impressive run during which he was also writing or drawing several other series, including X-Factor.
While he took some time off of several titles to refuel, he continued his work on X-Factor, written by his wife Louise, where he is credited with co-creating Archangel and the four Horsemen of Apocalypse. He continued on art duties until issue 39, when he left and became the writer of Fantastic Four with issue 334 and began penciling and inking with issue 337. Along with collaborator Art Adams, Simson introduced the “New Fantastic Four” consisting of Wolverine, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, and Hulk. Walt continued his run on the series through Fantastic Four #354.
Going back to DC, Walt wrote and illustrated Orion, as well as writing six issues of Wonder Woman. He also drew Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer and had a 17 issue run writing Hawkgirl. He also again partnered with his wife in co-writing Warcraft based on the incredibly popular video game.
While his creative output may have slowed somewhat compared to his impressive output in the 80s and 90s, he has maintained a stead presence in the industry, having a small cameo role in Thor and serving on the disbursement committee of The Hero Initiative, a charity whose goal is to help comic creators with financial hardships. His most recent work includes drawing six issues of The Avengers in 2012 and three issues of Indestructible Hulk for Marvel, as well as writing and drawing DC’s The Judas Coin. His creator-owned series Ragnarök is published by IDW and focuses on a version of Thor and Norse mythology unrelated to the Marvel Character.
Learn more about The Hero Initiative here.