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Richard Rory was a disc jockey in small town Ohio, but between giving his fiancée's mother a heart attack showing up for a date in a fright mask and causing her father to lose his radio station tower by making fun of the Foolkiller on the air, Richard Rory soon finds himself trapped at the end of the road in the Everglades, with the Foolkiller still on his tail. Man-Thing rescued him from becoming an alligator's dinner, and Ruth Hart, a nurse traveling with a biker gang, patches him up. Eventually, through the combined efforts of Man-Thing and Rory, the Foolkiller makes a foolish move and gets a shard of broken glass in his heart. Soon after, he decides to remain in Citrusville and takes a job at the local radio station, WNRV, while Ruth, whom he expected to marry, leaves for New York City.
When he intervenes after much of the townsfolk go on a book burning rampage, Mr. Carpenter, the station owner, fires him. Unsuccessful in stopping the book burning flap, he is asked by Carol Selby, the daughter of the instigator, Olivia Selby, to be taken away from Citrusville. In all the madness, he never thinks about her age--17. Eventually, when drawn to retrieve one of Thog's Nightmare Boxes after an auto accident, Rory is captured by the police, and Olivia presses the kidnapping charge. With the efforts of Tony Stark and Matt Murdock (offstage), Richard is eventually released from prison and Ruth allows him to sleep on her couch. While in prison, Richard made the mistake of telling cellmate Greg Salinger, in on a drunk and disorderly, about the Foolkiller, and Greg takes up the mantle, pranking him, and then going after the Defenders for not killing their foes as Richard stands impotently by.
The Defenders leave Richard in Las Vegas at his request, where he finds a silver dollar on the ground, which he uses in a slot machine and wins the jackpot, and soon meets Jennifer Walters and She-Hulk, whom he quickly deduces are the same person.
Richard uses his winnings to buy out WNRV, but the station is eventually detroyed in an attack by the Other Realm, which leads to Jennifer meeting her future husband, the Stargod John Jameson. He then sleeps on Jennifer's couch, and when she inadvertently comes home as She-Hulk, Richard informs her that he always knew and was simply waiting for her to trust him enough to tell him. She eventually chose her then-boyfriend Daniel "Zapper" Ridge over Richard, in spite of the flak and physical abuse Richard put up with getting her father to drop the murder charges against She-Hulk.
Eventually, Richard receives millions from a wealthy aunt and attends a Christmas party along with Jennifer and Zapper. More recently, Jennifer's co-worker, Stu Cicero, stole his Volkswagen Microbus, stranding him, at least for a time, in Man-Thing's swamp once more.
Richard embraces many aspects of hippie culture, but is never (except in She-Hulk (2005) #20) portrayed as a stereotype, other than by unsympathetic characters. He does not appear to believe in free love, having had an enagagement broken on him and wanting to pretend that he and Ruth are married until they are out of the swamp and can make it legal. A running gag had a local motel owner named Mr. Carver calling him "Joe College" and insisting on separate rooms for he and the woman he showed up with (different each time), when the reader knows that Richard is exhausted and isn't thinking about more than sleep.
According to a response by Steve Gerber the letters column of Man-Thing #6, Richard Rory's name was inspired by Richard Cory, being an essentially opposite figure--a man who has nothing yet wants to live.
First Appearance: Man-Thing (1974) #2
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Book and Record Set (45 rpm) (1974)
PR16 Book of the Dead (1993)
- 'The Man-Thing: Night of the Laughing Dead!'
#113 Defenders: Strange Heroes (2012)
- 'When Strikes The Gladiator!'#114
- 'A Quiet Night In The Swamp!'#115
- 'Death Stalks The City!'
Giant-Size Man-Thing (1974)
Infernal Man-Thing (2012)
Iron Man (1968)
Annual 03 Man-Thing (1974)
- 'More or Less... the Return of the Molecule Man! / The Ashes of the Sun / The Daughter Also Rises / The War Within'
#2 Omega the Unknown (1976)
- 'Nowhere To Go But Down!'#3
- 'Day of the Killer, Night of the Fool!'#4
- 'The Making of a Madman!'#5
- 'Night of the Laughing Dead'#6
- 'And When I Died...!'#7
- 'The Old Die Young!'#11
- 'Dance To The Murder'#12
- 'Song-Cry... ...of the Living Dead Man!'#17
- 'A Book Burns in Citrusville!'#18
- 'School's Out!'#19
- 'The Scavenger of Atlanta'#20
- 'The Nightmare Box'#21
- 'A Lunatic On Every Corner!'#22
- 'Pop Goes The Cosmos!'
#3 The Amazing Spider-Man (1963)
- 'Time of Her Life'#20
- 'The Clock is Ticking'
#225 The Defenders (1972)
- 'Fools... Like Us!'
#74 The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Master Edition (1990)
- 'Fools Rush In!'#75
- 'Poetic Justice'#76
- 'Little Triggers!'#77
- 'Waiting for the End of the World!'#78
- 'The Return of the Original Defenders!'
The Savage She-Hulk (1980)
The Sensational She-Hulk (1989)
- 'Plastic Snow and Mistletoe'
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