Marvel comics creative mind comes to KSU Stark

Bill Rosemann, creative director of Marvel Comics, spoke Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 at Kent State Stark about how superheroes set an example for how people in society can channel their talents to do good without wanting anything in return.

Bill Rosemann, creative director of Marvel Comics, spoke Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 at Kent State Stark about how superheroes set an example for how people in society can channel their talents to do good without wanting anything in return.

Kianna Bugglin

NORTH CANTON — Not everyone can say that they wake up each morning and work with superheroes — but Bill Rosemann can.

He currently stands as the creative director for Marvel Games, but is best known for his legendary comic book publishing, which has resulted in hit blockbuster movies including “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Thor: The Dark World.” He also currently oversees monthly comics, including Avengers Arena, as well as Marvel Custom Solutions publications.

Rosemann entered the full Timken Great Hall at Kent State University Stark on Tuesday evening and exclaimed, “Hello true believers!”

He then began telling the audience the reason they were all there: to talk about “grown adults, wearing costumes, running around punching each other.”

The majority of Rosemann’s speech was focused on answering two questions: Why do so many people of all ages love these characters? What makes them so fascinating?

“I think any art form that reaches millions of people should be studied and discussed and kind of scratched at the surface to get at what’s underneath all of this,” Rosemann said.

Rosemann told the audience that he believes the most potent story of the true hero is their secret origin, which then resonated into him telling the audience about his secret origin and motivations that helped mold him into who he is today.

 “It was during my high school years when my parents got a divorce,” Rosemann said. “Things that you thought you could count on, you can’t count on anymore. Things that you thought were certain and true turn out to maybe not be so true. You’re asked to make decisions you might not be ready to make and might not want to make. But that’s life, life happens.”

He then discussed how his first summer back from college the apartment building that he and his mother lived in burnt to the ground, but he risked his life to run back in and pull the box of comics out from underneath his bed.

“That is what I wanted to save, these comic books. They were there for me,” Rosemann said. “And I realized when I grew up I wanted to help make them. I wanted to make stories so that kids like me could go to a comic shop each week, sit down with their favorite comic for twenty minutes and escape life.”

He described the friends that he grew up with. But these weren’t just any friends — they were all friends that the audience knew, beginning with his orphan friends Batman and Superman and continuing with his friends Captain America, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers and, friends that hold a special connection to Rosemann, the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Rosemann painted a picture for the audience of one night about eight years ago, when he was sitting on his living room floor, organizing clippings from the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, which he described as a “Marvel encyclopedia.” He was looking to create a group of misfit underdogs, so he picked a handful, each from a different decade, to create the new group of superheroes — The Guardians of the Galaxy.

“It’s fun to create something that you think only a few thousand people are going to see, and then James Gunn and the movie-makers make this worldwide phenomenon. And it all began from going through handbooks one night on my living room floor,” Rosemann said about the movie being the number one film of the summer.

The room took an emotional turn when Rosemann described how his newest superhero came to be. In 2012, a lady named Christina e-mailed Marvel asking for help, saying that her four year-old son Anthony wouldn’t wear his hearing aid because his favorite superheroes didn’t.

This led to the creation of Blue Ear, a young superhero who exclaims that “because of this hearing aid I hear someone in trouble!”

He finished by telling his audience to take away three things.

“We must realize we can help, we must figure out what we can do and we must choose to act on them,” Rosemann concluded. “You must be the hero of your own story.”

Brielle Black, a sophomore communications major, said that she took a lot away from Rosemann and really enjoyed his speech.

“He focused more on the humanity aspect of the heroes’ lives and how important it is how the heroes’ stories connect so much to us and what we have been going through,” Black said. “I also liked that he mentioned some of the back stories of the different superheroes and what they really mean.”

Rosemann is the second speaker in Kent State Stark’s Featured Speaker Series. The next speaker is Daymond John on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.

To learn more about the Featured Speaker Series, visit or contact Public Relations Coordinator Cynthia Williams at (330)-244-3262.

Contact Kianna Bugglin at [email protected].