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Marvel Comics[edit]

Englehart's first work in comics was as an art assistant to Neal Adams on a 10-page
story by writer Denny O'Neil in Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror
comics magazine Vampirella #10 (March 1971).[3] After briefly serving as a member of
the Crusty Bunkers,[4] Englehart started working as a full-time writer. He began with a
co-writing credit, with Gardner Fox, on the six-page, Englehart-drawn "Retribution" in
Warren's Eerie #35 (Sept. 1971). Then, as Marvel editor Roy Thomas said in a 2007
interview, Englehart became
...a summer replacement or some such for [writer] Gary Friedrich. When Gary wanted to
go away for a while, he got Steve, who was sort of a young aspiring artist when he
came up to Neal [Adams]'s studio, and he ended up at Marvel as a proofreader. Then
he wanted to write, and I believe he wrote a few pages of a sample script. Anyway, I
gave him "The Beast" [in Amazing Adventures] to try out on, and that worked out pretty
well.[5]
Englehart said he had first done uncredited co-scripting on a number of stories:
When Gary Friedrich's Sgt. Fury #94 came in, de facto editor-in-chief Roy Thomas
wanted major revisions in the script and had me do them. Evidently he liked the result,
because right after that, Gary turned back a job he'd been holding onto - dialoguing a
little story plotted by Al Hewetson - and Roy asked me to script it from scratch. That was
[the seven-page] "Terror of the Pterodactyl" [drawn by Syd Shores, in Monsters on the
Prowl #15 (Feb. 1972)] and my first credited job.... Over the next six months, even as
my credited stories began to appear, I continued to do uncredited collaborations -
sometimes by design and sometimes at the last minute."[6]
This uncredited work included Friedrich's Sgt. Fury and his Howling
Commandos #97, Iron Man #45, and The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, #152, plus
two romance comics stories and a Western tale.[6] Englehart then wrote two romance
stories under the pseudonym Anne Spencer, in Our Love #18 (Aug. 1972) and My
Love #19 (Sept. 1972), and, under his own name, a standalone supernatural story in the
anthology Journey into Mystery vol. 2, #1 (Oct. 1972) [7]
During his first credited superhero work, on a series starring erstwhile X-Men member
the Beast in Amazing Adventures vol. 2, #12-17 (May 1972 - March 1973), Englehart
integrated the Patsy Walker character, the star of a teen romantic-comedy series, into
the Marvel Universe alongside the company's superheroes.[8] He and artist Sal
Buscemalaunched The Defenders as an ongoing series in August 1972[9][10] and
introduced the Valkyrie to the team in issue #4 (Feb. 1973).[11] Englehart has stated that
he added the Valkyrie to the Defenders "to provide some texture to the group."[12]
He wrote The Avengers from issue #105 (Nov. 1972) to #152 (Oct. 1976). During his
time on that title, he wrote several major storylines including "The Avengers Defenders
War" in issues #115-118 (Sept.-Dec. 1973) and The Defenders #8-11 (Sept.-Dec.
1973);[13] "The Celestial Madonna" in #129-135 (Nov. 1974 - May 1975) and Giant-Size
Avengers #2-4 (Nov. 1974 - May 1975);[14][15][16] and "The Serpent Crown" in #141-144
(Nov. 1975 - Feb. 1976) and #147-149 (May–July 1976).
In the fall of 1972, Englehart and writers Gerry Conway and Len Wein crafted
a metafictional unofficial crossover spanning titles from both major comics companies.
Each comic featured Englehart, Conway, and Wein, as well as Wein's first
wife Glynis, interacting with Marvel or DC characters at the Rutland Halloween
Parade in Rutland, Vermont. Beginning in Amazing Adventures #16 (by Englehart with
art by Bob Brown and Frank McLaughlin), the story continued in Justice League of
America #103 (by Wein, Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano), and concluded in Thor #207 (by
Conway and penciler John Buscema). As Englehart explained in 2010, "It certainly
seemed like a radical concept and we knew that we had to be subtle (laughs) and each
story had to stand on its own, but we really worked it out. It's really worthwhile to read
those stories back to back to back — it didn't matter to us that one was at DC and two
were at Marvel — I think it was us being creative, thinking what would be really cool to
do."[17][18][19]
Englehart had a potent run on Doctor Strange (originally with artist Frank Brunner, later
with Gene Colan), in which Strange's mentor, the Ancient One, died, and Strange
became the new Sorcerer Supreme. Englehart and Brunner, audaciously, also created
a multi-issue storyline in which a sorcerer named Sise-Neg ("Genesis" spelled
backward) goes back through history, collecting all magical energies, until he reaches
the beginning of the universe, becomes all-powerful and creates it anew, leaving
Strange to wonder whether this was, paradoxically, the original creation (Marvel
Premiere #14). Editor-in-chief Stan Lee, seeing the issue after publication, ordered
Englehart and Brunner to print a retraction saying this was not God but a god, so as to
avoid offending religious readers. The writer and artist concocted a fake letter from a
fictitious minister praising the story, and mailed it to Marvel from Texas; Marvel
unwittingly printed the letter, and dropped the retraction order.[20] Englehart's Doctor
Strange #14 featured a crossover story with The Tomb of Dracula #44, another series
which was being drawn by Gene Colan at the time.[21] In Englehart's final story for the
series, he sent Dr. Strange back in time to meet Benjamin Franklin.[22]
Describing that time, Englehart said in 1998,
We'd rampage around New York City. There was one night when a bunch of us,
including Jim Starlin, went out on the town. We partied all day, then did some
more acid, then roamed around town until dawn and saw all sorts of amazing things
(most of which ended up in Master of Kung Fu, which Jim and I were doing at the
time).[23]
Englehart and artist Starlin co-created the character Shang-Chi, Master of Kung
Fu,[24][25] though they only worked on the early issues of the series. Englehart reconciled
the existence of Captain America and sidekick Bucky in Marvel's 1950s precursor, Atlas
Comics, an anomaly that had been ignored since Captain America's 1964 reintroduction
to Marvel after having been in suspended animation since 1945. Englehart's
newly retconned history stated that the 1950s Captain America and 1950s Bucky had
been different characters.[26][27][28] This was followed by an extended storyline of Steve
Rogers becoming so profoundly disillusioned with the United States[29][30] that he
temporarily abandoned his Captain America identity to become Nomad[31] until he
decided to refocus his purpose as the defender of America's ideals, not necessarily its
government.[32] The Englehart/Sal Buscema run on the Captain America title saw the
series become one of Marvel's top-sellers.[33] In 2010, Comics Bulletin ranked
Englehart's work on Captain America, The Avengers, and Doctor Strange fourth, eighth,
and ninth, respectively, on its list of the "Top 10 1970s Marvels".[34]
Following Gerry Conway's elevation to editor-in-chief in March 1976,[35] Englehart had a
falling-out with Marvel. He recalled in 2010 that Conway
...was a young guy in those days. He basically said, 'I'm the editor at Marvel. I can do
whatever I want to do. I want to write The Avengers and I want to write The Defenders.'
So he just took them. He took The Avengers away from me and he took The
Defenders away from Steve Gerber. We said, 'This is not the collegial atmosphere that
we've all been working under.' I quit. I got into Marvel because of the whole Bullpen, the
whole ambience that you could see from the readers' side. When I came in the door, it
was exactly like that inside. Marvel was a wonderful place to work. This was a big
change, this kind of 'I have power' [mentality].[36]
Conway, who left the editorial post after only "about a month-and-a-half,"[37] recalled
circumstances differently:
[The Avengers] was perennially late to the printer, which was costing Marvel a lot of
money. ... I asked Steve for a commitment to have his next plot for The Avengers in by
Friday ... so that, if he didn't make it, I'd have time over the weekend to play a
replacement issue. [When the plot did not arrive,] I called him, and he denied he'd ever
made any commitment to delivery by Friday — as far as he was concerned,
[artist] George [Pérez] didn't need the plot till Monday, so he wasn't going to deliver a
plot until Monday. When I told him this wasn't what we'd agreed, so I was going to write
a replacement plot myself ... Steve responded [that] a fill-in story would ruin the overall
storyline and he accused me of trying to take over the book. He said if I insisted on a
doing a fill-in, he'd quit. Well, if I [were] going to have any authority as an editor, I had to
do what I said I'd do. ... So Steve quit The Avengers.[37]