Marvel Comics Creators Who Deserve Credit From The MCU

In a recent article in The Hollywood Reporter, writer Devin Grayson and artist J.G. Jones described the insidious battle they had to fight with the lawyers and contract writers at Marvel in order to be paid for the film rights to a character they had created. The character, Yelena Belova (played by Florence Pugh) first appeared in "Inhumans" #5 in March of 1999, when she had adopted the mantle of Black Widow from Natasha Romanoff (played in the movies by Scarlett Johansson). Yelena plays a major part in "Black Widow," and, being part of the MCU, would go on to appear in at least one additional installment of the franchise: To date, she has appeared in "Hawkeye" and there's no reason why she shouldn't appear in future movies. 

Grayson and Jones, according to the Reporter article, said they expected a paycheck of $25,000 to allow Yelena to appear in the film. Given the outsize budgets of MCU movies, as well as their regular intake of hundreds of millions of dollars, $25,000 already appears to be a pittance. But when Grayson and Jones received their checks, they only receives $5,000 without explanation. While Marvel may own the rights to the characters it publishes, many character creators within the company sign additional contracts, giving them bonuses for each film or TV license of something they created. 

The shrinking paycheck comes from sniveling legalese that redefines appearances as "cameos" (which earn less and are measured by percentage of screentime), and split payments between all the artists who invented characters in any given movie. $5,000 was all Marvel wanted to pay. Oh, and a "special thanks" credit.

America Chavez

This story comes on the tail of Joe Casey, a co-creator of America Chavez, being stiffed entirely for the use of his character in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." The fact is clear that Marvel has little to no interest in paying or crediting the actual creators of certain Marvel characters. In most cases, characters are credited either to Marvel Comics, which retains the rights to the characters created for them, or to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, with occasional shoutouts to Steve Ditko, who did indeed create a lot of the staple characters seen in (and out) of the MCU; Lee, Kirby, and Ditko are behind the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, Thor, and many of the early sidekicks and villains from each of those character's respective universes. As Lee and Kirby are heavily represented in the MCU (with Lee giving regular cameos), their credit and pay has likely been handled.

In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, though, /Film will offer a list of MCU characters, their first appearances, the names of their creators, and what kind of credit the creators received. 

Character: America Chavez

First Appearance: "Vengeance" #1, September 2011

Created by: Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta

MCU Appearance(s): "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness"

Creator's Movie Credit: Casey got a "Special Thanks." Dragotta got a "Thanks."


Characters: Thanos

First Appearance: "The Invincible Iron Man" #55, February 1973

Created by: Jim Starlin

MCU Appearance(s): "The Avengers," "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Avengers: Infinity War," "Avengers: Endgame," "What If...?"

Creator's Movie Credit: "Thanos created by" credits on multiple shows and movies, "the producers would like to thank, for his significant contribution to the film" on "Infinity War" and "Endgame." A mere "Thanks" for "Age of Ultron" and "The Avengers. 

Starlin's name will appear at least one other time on this list, as he was, for many years, the central author of many of Marvel's "cosmic," spacebound superheroes. He also created the upcoming character of Adam Warlock, set to appear in future MCU films.


Character: Shang-Chi, Master of Kung-Fu

First Appearance: "Special Marvel Edition" #15, December 1973

Created by: Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin

MCU Appearance(s): "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"

Creator's Movie Credit: "Shang-Chi created by"

The Guardians of the Galaxy

Characters: Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Yondu, Mantis, Nebula.

First Appearance: The original version of the Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in "Marvel Super Heroes" #18 in January of 1969, and included 31st-century characters called Charlie-27, Martinex, and Vance Astro, as well as Yondu and a character named Major Victory. The name was applied to a new team in "Annihilation: Conquest" #5 in April 0f 2008. This is the version the MCU used. 

Star-Lord: "Marvel Preview" #4, January 1976

Drax the Detroyer: "The Invincible Iron Man" #55, February of 1973.

Gamora: "Strange Tales" #180, June 1975

Groot: "Tales to Astonish" #13, November 1960

Rocket Raccoon: "Marvel Preview" #7, 1976

Nebula: "The Avengers" #57, July 1985

Mantis: "The Avengers" #112, June 1973

Created by: Star-Lord was created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan. Gamora and Drax were created by Jim Starlin. The original version of Yondu was created by Arnold Drake and Stan Lee, and the modern version used in the movies was created by Sam Humphries and Javier Garron. Mantis was created by Englehart and Don Heck. Nebula was created by Roger Stern and John Buscema. Groot was Lee, Kirby, and Larry Lieber. Rocket was created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen. 

MCU Appearance(s): "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2," "Thor: Love and Thunder," "Avengers: Infinity War," "Avengers: Endgame"

Creator's Movie Credit: Englehart, Mantlo, Heck, and Giffen received "created by" credits. Garron and Humphries have no credits. Buscema and Drake received "thanks" and Stern received a "special thanks."


Character: Vision, aka The Vision

First Appearance: "Avengers" #57, October 1968

Created by: Roy Thomas and John Buscema

MCU Appearance(s): "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Captain America: Civil War," "Avengers: Infinity War," "WandaVision"

Creator's Movie Credit: Buscema got a "created by" credit. Thomas received a "special thanks." Thomas' filmography is wild, by the way. He wrote the "Galaxian" tie-in comic books for the old Atari 2600 game back in 1979.


Character: Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye

First Appearance: "Tales of Suspense" #57, September 1964

Created by: Stan Lee and Don Heck

MCU Appearance(s): "Thor," "The Avengers," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Avengers: Infinity War," "Avengers: Endgame," "Hawkeye"

Creator's Movie Credit: A "created by" credit.

War Machine

Character: James Rupert "Rhodey" Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine

First Appearance: "Iron Man" #118, January 1979. James Rhodes would also become Iron Man briefly, as well as a character named Iron Patriot.

Created by: David Michelinie, John Byrne, Bob Layton

MCU Appearance(s): "Iron Man," "Iron Man 2," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Iron Man Three," "Avengers: Infinity War," "Avengers: Endgame"

Creator's Movie Credit: Michelinie, Byrne, and Layton received a "special thanks." 

Captain Marvel

Character: Col. Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel

First Appearance: Captain Marvel is a complicated case. The first character to be called Captain Marvel was originally published by Fawcett Comics in 1939, and was created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck. Fawcett was sued by DC comics in the 1950s for infringing on their Superman property; DC felt the characters were too similar. In 1972, Fawcett sold the character to DC, who rebranded the character as "Shazam" to avoid any conflicts with the Marvel Comics characters. The original Marvel Comics version of Captain Marvel, a character named Mar-Vell, was introduced in "Captain Marvel" #1 in May of 1968, and was created by Lee and Gene Colan. Carol Danvers, once known as Ms. Marvel, was the sixth version of the character. 

Carol Danvers first appeared in "Marvel Super-Heroes" #13 in March of 1968, became Ms. Marvel in "Ms. Marvel" #1 in January of 1977, and became Captain Marvel in "Avenging Spider-Man" #9 in July of 2012.

Created by: Roy Thomas, Gene Colan

MCU Appearance(s): "Captain Marvel," "Avengers: Endgame," "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"

Creator's Movie Credit: Colan received a "special thanks."


Character: Okoye

First Appearance: "Black Panther" #1, November 1998

Created by: Christopher Priest, Mark Texeira. Lee and Kirby created Black Panther

MCU Appearance(s): "Black Panther," "Avengers: Infinity War"

Creator's Movie Credit: Both received a "special thanks."

The Wasp

Character: The Wasp

First Appearance: As surprising as it may seem, the character of Hope Van Dyne is something of a new creation for the feature films. The original Wasp, Janet Van Dyne, first appeared "Tales to Astonish" #44 in 1963, and appeared in the MCU played by Michelle Pfeiffer, but the new Wasp, a character named Hope Van Dyne, was extrapolated from "A-Next" #7 in April of 1999 as part of a spinoff Marvel brand called MC2, which took place about 20 years in Marvel's future and followed the potential children of several notable characters. Hope Van Dyne is not from Earth-616.

Created by: I suppose the credited screenwriters on 2015's "Ant-Man," including Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, and Paul Rudd.

MCU Appearance(s): "Ant-Man," "Avengers: Endgame," "Ant-Man and the Wasp"

Creator's Movie Credit: Screenplay by