Real Name: Mark Gruenwald

Identity/Class : Human

Occupation: Comic book writer/editor, former executive editor, artist

Group Membership: Marvel Comics Group (Jack Abel, Joe Albelo, Terry Austin, Eliot R. Brown, Mike Carlin, Chris Claremont, Danny Crespi, Tom DeFalco, Archie Goodwin, Larry Hama, Adam Hughes, Stan Lee, Ralph Macchio, Al Milgrom, John Morelli, Denny O'Neil, Tom Palmer, Rick Parker, George Perez, Carl Potts, Christopher Priest, Peter Sanderson, Jim Shooter, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, Renne Witterstaetter, Ron Zalme)

Affiliations: Dr. Druid, Rom, She-Hulk, Spider-Man

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: Catherine (wife), Sara (daughter), Myron (father), Norma Jean (mother), Gayle (sister), Belinda (ex-wife)

Aliases: "Armadillo," the Fourth, Master Alternity, the Pilgrim, the True Believer Who Journeys into Mystery

Base of Operations: Marvel Comics, 387 Park Avenue South, New York

First Appearance: Marvel Two-In-One#60 (February, 1980)

Powers/Abilities: Mark Gruenwald was an amazing researcher with an eye for detail and an understanding of fictional universes that surpassed any other being. He was also a fine writer in his own right, as well as a masterful editor, and a pretty good artist (though he didn't think so).

History: (Marvel Two-In-One#60) - Mark Gruenwald joined his Marvel Two-In-One creative team of Ralph Macchio and George Perez at a viewing of Alicia Masters' sculptures. While Perez drew the Thing on his sketchpad, Gruenwald and Macchio discussed what they would write next, now that they had completed their "Project: PEGASUS Saga" storyline.

(Uncanny X-Men Annual#3) - Mark, Eliot R. Brown and Mike Carlin had a discussion at Marvel Comics' building about Zabu, who had been depicted in some stories with a long tail. Mark suggested that Zabu was wearing a disguise, which Eliot told him was a dumb idea. Suddenly, the Impossible Man burst through their elevator riding Zabu. Looking at Zabu, Eliot confirmed that he had a short tail.

(The Marvel Fumetti Book#1) - As Jim Shooter introduced the Marvel Fumetti Book, he gathered his entire editorial staff together to demonstrate his control over them by snapping his fingers to make them all jump, but had to deal with them joking behind his back. Later, Spider-Man toured the Marvel Comics offices and checked in on Mark and Mike Carlin, discovering that they were "at one" with the Marvel Universe, floating mid-air while meditating. Later, Mark brought English muffins to the bullpen for breakfast, and they used Rom's head as a toaster to heat them up. Later still, he was part of the dressing-down Stan Lee gave the editorial staff in front of Shooter.

    In his feature "Secrets Behind the Comics II," Mark explained how he wrote the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe by researching the Marvel Comics library, conferring with editorial staff, endlessly checking facts, and finally just making stuff up. Later on, Tom Palmer, Mike Carlin and he noticed that the elevator had become a portal to the Negative Zone, and tried to keep John Byrne from entering, but Byrne brushed past them, and was transformed by the Negative Zone into a superhuman.

(New Mutants Annual#3) - The hard-hatted Gruenwald and Sanderson were visiting (or perhaps working at) Manhattan's Pier 7, where the Itza Ben-Rooned Construction Co. was demolishing the pier to make way for construction of the Hudson River Towers. The Impossible Man and Warlock appeared, battling respectively in the forms of the Hulk and the Thing. The New Mutants followed, but the battle demolished the pier and all superhumans vanished immediately thereafter.

(Captain America I#347) - Mark Gruenwald appeared as one of Lemar Hoskins' classmates as Hoskins was writing the test to obtain his high school diploma.

(Sensational She-Hulk#50) - As the She-Hulk searched for a suitable replacement for John Byrne, Tom DeFalco and Mark Gruenwald suggested Adam Hughes, and presented her with two pages of Hughes' material. She-Hulk's response was that she wanted something less obvious for her female readers, and kicked both men out of the room.

(Marvel Super-Heroes III#15/4) - Gruenwald and DeFalco were on a cruise ship when it sank, and they came to Dr. Druid's island base F.I.I.F.T.S.O.T.O.A.T. Dr. Druid gave them a room in his base, but a copious amount of gas left behind by the Texas Twister caused their room to explode when DeFalco lit his cigar.

(Marvel Holiday Special 1994/3) - On Christmas Eve, Mark was just finishing the latest Marvel Handbook (which featured diagrams of Asgardian basements and bathrooms) when he remembered that he hadn't bought DeFalco a Christmas present. He raced to a cash machine, but it was out of money. With no other way to purchase Tom a gift, Mark cut off his ponytail and sold it to the all-night ponytail store for money. With the money, he bought Tom a lighter. The next morning they exchanged gifts and Tom gave Mark a hairbrush. However, without his ponytail he had no use for it, and Tom had sold his cigars to get Mark the brush. Suddenly, Tom remembered that they both had credit cards, so Mark bought back his ponytail, Tom bought back his cigars, and they loaded up on gifts, all thanks to their corporate credit cards.

(Sensational Spider-Man#23 - BTS) - As Spider-Man and Dr. Strange battled the sorcerer Buel, Spider-Man sensed a familiar presence through a mystical portal, but Dr. Strange prevented him from investigating. After the crisis, Dr. Strange finally allowed Spider-Man to enter the portal. Spider-Man came into contact with a spirit as it departed to the afterlife, and said goodbye to it. When Dr. Strange asked who it was, Spider-Man replied, "There are some things even a master of the mystic arts isn't meant to know..!"

(Squadron Supreme: New World Order - BTS) - In Reality-712, Mysterium (Thomas Lightner) noted, among other things, "Most disturbingly, Master Alternity has passed beyond the Omniverse, and our fates are now written by new hands who have yet to prove as worthy."

(Ultimates 2#100 - BTS) - After Eternity summoned the Second, the Third, the Fifth, the Sixth, and Infinity (the Seventh) to his side (the Fourth was missing), the group collectively overpowered, bound, and imprisoned the First Firmament, reality restored itself.
    The Fourth was noted to be the Pilgrim, the True Believer who Journeys into Mystery; and it further noted that one day he would return.
    the Firmaments refer to the various incarnations of reality that have existed, with the current multiverse being the Seventh.

Comments: Adapted by Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio, George Perez and Gene Day.
    Gruenwald's New Universe counterpart adapted by John Byrne and Tom Palmer.

    Gruenwald wrote an autobiography, which you can read here.

    Here is Mark Gruenwald's obituary from the New York Times. Friends, family, and the comics industry created a scholarship in Mark's honor at the University of Wisconsin.

    In Gruenwald's early days as an assistant editor, he would refer to himself on the letters page as an "armadillo." When he became a writer later on, he created the super-villain Armadillo as an in-joke.

    Although the tribute to Gruenwald in Sensational Spider-Man#23 is nice, Spider-Man was one of his least favorite Marvel characters.

    The Imperial Guard mini-series, Spider-Man#74, and Avengers Infinity#4 were dedicated to Mark Gruenwald after his death.

    Beginning with books dated March, 2006, titles from Tom Brevoort's office at Marvel began running a bullpen-style page in which Gruenwald was credited as "patron saint of Marveldom."

    The character Dr. Jason Rivera from Avengers III#6 and Iron Man 1999 Annual was drawn to resemble Gruenwald; Mr. Mobius of the Time Variance Authority was also drawn to look like Gruenwald, in that instance because he had written Marvel's rules on time travel.

    Letterer and cartoonist Rick Parker featured Gruenwald with Tom DeFalco in a number of cartoons during his tenure as executive editor. These cartoons included "The Bossmen," which appeared in Marvel Age, and "The Bull's Eye" which appeared on the Bullpen Bulletins page. Parker was also responsible for the Dr. Druid story in Marvel Super-Heroes III#15, which was actually an old Solo Avengers tale that was unuseable, and Parker turned it into a comedy; Gruenwald and DeFalco's appearance at the end was completely new. John Byrne's depiction of Gruenwald and DeFalco in Sensational She-Hulk#50 was based on Parker's interpretation of the duo.

SQUEAK sez: "The novel 'Captain America: Liberty's Torch,' by Tony Isabella & Bob Ingersoll, 1998, features an extended role by a defense lawyer named Marcus "Mark" Gruenwald, who is kidnapped by Liberty's Torch (a militia organization) and tasked to defend Captain America in their trial of him. Gruenwald was eventually freed by Captain America and the Falcon. The novel includes art pieces at the start of each chapter by Mike Zeck & Bob McLeod, and in the couple of panels where Gruenwald is depicted, he is clearly drawn as Marvel's Mark Gruenwald. While the novel has (to the best of my knowledge) never been referenced in a 616 comic, there certainly is nothing in it that could prevent it from potentially taking place on Earth-616."

    The story in Marvel Holiday Special 1994 is a parody of O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi."

    A Gruenwald tribute, from a Comic Book Resources interview with Todd Dezago and Mark Waid: Todd Dezago - "the portal and Sphere of SaraKath [in 2008's Spider-Man Family #7] is from the Doctor Strange/Technomancers story Mike [Wierengo] and I did in “Sensational Spider-Man” #21-23. At the end of the tale, Spidey is supposed to encounter the "spirit" of. . . someone who had helped him throughout the story. We had just recently lost Marvel Editor Extraordinaire, Mark Gruenwald, and while some were led to believe that the spirit was the clone, Ben Reilly, others thought that it was Mark. We left it ambiguous. The Sphere was named for Mark's daughter and wife, Sara and Katherine, respectively."

    Gruenwald's editorial feature "Mark's Remarks" are being collected on Prime Eternal's website.

    The Appendix has a list of all of Mark Gruenwald's creations on this site.

For a very nice retrospective on Gruenwald, his work, and his influence, please see Scott Tipton's three-part Comics 101 retrospective on Gruenwald: part one, part two, and part three.

    Mark's father Myron taught Tim Gerritsen one of the creators of the game Rune. Mark's daughter was named Sara and attended Grinnell to study art. His widow was named Catherine.
More about Mark's father can be found at

   The letters page to Sub-Mariner #41 (October, 1971) concluded with a fan letter from a then 18 year old Mark Gruenwald.

    In the first printing (and only the first printing) of the Squadron Supreme maxi-series TPB, Mark Gruenwald's ashes were, at his own request, mixed into the ink used for the book.
--John McDonagh

by Prime Eternal and Mark O'English

Mark Gruenwald should not be confused with:

MARK GRUENWALD (Earth-New Universe)

    On Earth-148611, Mark Gruenwald also served as an editor at Marvel Comics. When he heard about the existence of his world's first true super-hero, the Star Brand, he felt that this could be good for their comics, but writer John Byrne was skeptical. Gruenwald attended a comic convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where the Star Brand was in attendance, but was tragically killed when a battle between the Star Brand and the Old Man destroyed the entire building.
--Star Brand#11 (12

Images taken from:
Captain America Collector's Preview, page 3
Sensational She-Hulk#50, page 24, panel 2
Marvel Holiday Special 1994, page 28, panel 2
Seal of Approval- Marvel Super-Heroes III#3/3, panel 1
New Universe- Star Brand#11, page 19, panel 5

Uncanny X-Men Annual#3 (1983) - Chris Claremont (writer), Michael Golden (artist), Joe Rubinstein (inker), Louise Jones (editor)
The Marvel Fumetti Book#1 (April, 1984) - Mike Carlin, Joe Albelo, Danny Fingeroth (writers), Vince Colletta, Eliot Brown (photographers), Bill Sienkiewicz (effects), Jim Shooter (editor)
New Mutants Annual#3 (1987) - Chris Claremont (writer), Alan Davis (penciler), Paul Neary (inker), Ann Nocenti (editor)
Captain America I#347 (November, 1988) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Kieron Dwyer (artist), Al Milgrom (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Sensational She-Hulk#50 (April, 1993) - John Byrne (writer/artist), Renee Witterstaetter (editor)
Marvel Super-Heroes III#15 (October, 1993) - Rick Parker (writer/artist), Rob Tokar (editor)
Marvel Holiday Special 1994 (January, 1994) - Barry Dutter (writer), Marie Severin (artist), Renee Witterstaetter (editor)
Star Brand#11-12 (January-March, 1988) - John Byrne (writer/artist), Tom Palmer (inker), Howard Mackie (editor)
Squadron Supreme: New World Order#1 (September, 1988) - Len Kaminski (writer), Anthony Williams (penciler), Andy Lanning (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Ultimates 2#100 (October, 2017) - Al Ewing (writer), Travel Forman, Filipe Andrade, Marco Lorenzana (pencilers), Travel Forman, Filipe Andrade, Scott Hanna (inkers), Alanna Smith (editor), Tom Brevoort (executive editor)

Last updated: 12/16/06

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