DEAN WILKERSON

Real Name: Wilkerson (first name unrevealed)

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: College Dean

Group Membership: Lee University faculty

Affiliations: Rick Jones

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Lee University, presumably NYC (see comments)

First Appearance: Mighty World of Marvel#15/1 (January 13th 1973)

Powers/Abilities: Dean Wilkerson was presumably a competent administrator and expert in whichever subject he taught prior to becoming the dean.

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 220 lbs. (by estimation - see comments)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black or brown (see comments)

History:
(
Mighty World of Marvel#15/1 (fb) - BTS) - Wilkerson was the Dean of Lee University, the institution where young Rick Jones was enrolled. When Rick Jones learned that his old friend the Hulk had been captured by the U.S. Army, the lad approached Dean Wilkerson to inform the educator of his need to take a leave of absence from his studies in order to rush to New Mexico to see if he could do anything to assist the green goliath.

(Mighty World of Marvel#15/1) - Understanding that Jones' friendship with the Hulk was very important to the youth, Dean Wilkerson fully supported Jones' decision, agreeing that the bond the boy shared with the creature could not be taken lightly.

Comments: Created by unconfirmed individuals - possibly John Romita Sr. The first volume of Mighty World of Marvel was an early Marvel UK title that reprinted at this juncture Hulk stories from Tales to Astonish, and very early Spider-Man from Amazing Spider-Man alongside very early Fantastic Four from their own title. In MWoM#15/1 the Hulk tale came from Tales to Astonish I#62/2, which was written by Stan Lee and penciled by Steve Ditko. And in that original version of the story, there was no Dean Wilkerson! He's purely made up for the reprint, shown in but a single panel and mentioned again for the last time ever in the subsequent one. This makes him not only one of the most obscure Marvel UK characters, but possibly the first! Yes, there were new characters created for UK Marvel stories before (cf el Supremo, now retconned to be an early appearance of the Matador, or new characters who appeared in the Marvel Storybook Annual, but those publications were licensed ones pre-dating Marvel UK's formation). There were no credits listed for who modified the art or dialogue, but interviews given by people who worked on the Marvel UK titles back in the day seems to suggest that John Romita Sr. was usually the man tasked with any art modifications requested.

   So why was a panel changed, and who was Rick originally talking to? The answer to the second question provides the reason behind the first. In the original account Rick was telling a supportive Captain America of his need to take a break from being his new sidekick and almost Avenger to rush to the aid of his old friend the Hulk. However, Marvel UK had not yet reprinted the Avengers stories where Rick had left the Hulk's side, and in an era where your average reader didn't have easy access to either back issues or trade paperback reprints the editors didn't want to hit their audience with potentially confusing continuity references. Thus instead of having a costumed character the readers might not recognize and references to Rick having joined a team that younger readers might not have heard of and older ones might confused with these guys, the editors decided to suggest Rick had left the Hulk's side to attend college, a much simpler scenario that could be explained to readers in minimal time.

   So does this change mean that this Marvel UK reprint story is an alternate reality version of the story, not set in the mainstream Marvel universe (Earth-616)? For my money, no. There's no reason that the "real" Rick couldn't have enrolled at Lee University while being Cap's sidekick - heck, I could see Cap insisting that Rick had to keep up his education as a condition of becoming a sidekick. And that would mean that as well as telling Cap that he had to leave, Rick would have also needed to inform the university. Hence both versions of that first panel could easily have played out, in whatever order but one after the other.

   As Rick was working with the Avengers at the same time and would have had to be able to travel back and forth between Lee University's campus and Avengers Mansion, the university is probably somewhere in NYC.

   Since the UK reprint was in black, white and green, there's no way to discern Wilkerson's eye color, and all we can say for sure about his hair is that it's dark, so probably brown or black. Since he fills the same space as Captain America, his height must match that hero's, but he probably weighs somewhat less than the very muscular Steve Rogers.

Profile by Loki.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Dean Wilkerson has no known connections to:


images: (without ads)
Mighty World of Marvel#15/1, p2, pan3 (main image)
Tales to Astonish I#62/2
, p2, pan3-4 (original panels)
Mighty World of Marvel#15/1, p2, pan3-4 (U.K. reprint)


Appearances:
Mighty World of Marvel#15/1 (January 13th 1973) - Stan Lee (original writer and editor), Steve Ditko (original pencils), George Roussos (original inks); U.K. writers, artists and editors unknown


First Posted: 01/14/2023
Last updated:
01/14/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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