Anyone can be the hero of his or her own story. Just ask Bill Rosemann. A life-long comic book connoisseur turned editor and now creative director of Marvel Comics, Rosemann knows a thing or two about the subject.
“Because I was so interested in reading, sci-fi, fantasy, movies and comics growing up, I felt I was a bit of an outsider,” Rosemann said. “But I was lucky to have parents, friends and teachers who encouraged me.”
These days, Rosemann’s work on Captain America, Iron Man, X-Man and Spider-Man is enthusiastically consumed by audiences of all ages.
As a long-time editor, Rosemann’s expertise has helped him to comprehend all aspects of his colorful world. He travels all over the country sharing his experiences and fascination of superheroes and the motives behind their creations.
In a visit to Alvernia University, he offered an inside look at the world of comic editing and talked about stretching boundaries. He challenged students to “take what you can from these grander- than-life characters and find a calling. Bring your own individual super-human abilities into your occupations and life.”
But heroes often find their calling when times are toughest. For Rosemann, that time came at a young age, when his parents divorced. Though his parents and older brother were supportive, Rosemann found that he needed a distraction. He began not only reading comic books, but scrutinizing them. With his eyes fixed on the letters, images and drawings, he’d read and analyze materials for hours at a time.
It was the beginning of Rosemann’s own magical story. “This inspired me to help create stories to entertain and help others get through tough moments, just as I was helped,” he said.
After majoring in English at the University of Notre Dame, Rosemann embraced his passion for comics. He followed frontrunners such as Klaus Janson and Ralph Macchio — some of the greatest creators and editors in the comic industry. With the same brave devotion as his superheroes, the new graduate climbed the ladder into a top position at Marvel Comics — one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies.
“I started out as a freelance journalist, writing articles for Marvel Age magazine,” explained Rosemann. He worked his way up as a copywriter, scriptwriter, project manager, marketing director and eventually, an editor. “Today, I have about 12 years of experience as an editor with over 1,000 comics,” he said.
A great amount of Rosemann’s work has been translated into big-name movies, including the newly released Captain America: Winter Soldier, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and “Thor: Dark World” (2013). He has overseen monthly comics as well as Marvel Custom Solutions publications, in addition to Avengers Arena — which he explains as “the Hunger Games with superheroes.”
Meant to show the capability that superheroes have to stimulate optimistic transformation and save lives, Rosemann’s comic creations present metaphors for anyone aiming to release their own unique abilities. Even little boys with hearing impairment.
In 2012, Rosemann directed a team that produced the character “Blue Ear” in response to a mother who wrote that her son refused to wear his hearing aid to school because “superheroes don’t wear hearing aids.” Drawn in the likeness of the woman’s son — Blue Ear uses his device to hear people who need help.
In creating heroes like Blue Ear, Rosemann hopes to make an impact on the next evolution of comic books. “Many creators before me both pushed and protected Marvel’s amazing characters,” he explained. “My goal is to continue doing whatever I can to both stretch boundaries and guard our core beliefs, so that new generations can enjoy our heroes and stories just as I did.”
Rosemann’s own superhero power is no secret. “Never stop trying, constantly hone your skills, say yes to as many opportunities as possible, use every ‘no’ you’re told as fuel to propel your passion,” and lastly, “be the hero of your story.”
Read more articles in Alvernia Magazine.