"Uncle Rog" as he is known to his fans began his career as a co-creator of a fan-magazine CPL for Charlton Comics (where John Byrne was his collaborator). During this time, he worked with Steve Ditko and notably got to cut his teeth scripting unpublished Ditko material for his magazine. Eventually he got called to work for the "big two", first at DC and then at Marvel where he is considered part of the "third wave" of talented writers alongside former companion John Byrne, Frank Miller, and writers Jo Duffy, Mark Gruenwald and Ralph Macchio. Stern first made his name and is probably still best known for his work on Spider-Man. He worked on the character for the second series The Spectacular Spider-Man with issue #43 and then took over The Amazing Spider-Man with issue #224 and stayed on till Issue #252. This run is considered one of the best of all times even if it was on the shorter side featuring many landmark stories of which "The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man" remains the most famous, ranked as one of the best not only in Spider-Man but comics in general. He also co-created along with John Romita Jr. the character of The Hobgoblin, who is considered one of Spider-Man's best rogues, and among the few characters who have stuck on after the departure of Steve Ditko and his indelible character designs. Stern returned to write Spider-Man briefly in The '90s for stories like Hobgoblin Lives, Revenge of the Green Goblin and an annual, and after Brand New Day contributed a few issues and special one-shots.
Stern worked on The Avengers for five years, during which time he co-created Monica Rambeau (with John Romita Jr.) the second Captain Marvel, who he elevated to team leader during the course of his run. In the same run, he introduced and co-created Nebula of Karen Gillan fame. Stern left Marvel over a dispute with editor Mark Gruenwald over disagreements about the Avengers. Gruenwald wanted Captain America to return as team leader but he wanted Rambeau to be shown as incompetent to be made to do so. Stern disagreed with the implication that a prominent black character be made to look bad just to maintain legacy, and quit in protest. He then jumped over to DC. At Marvel, Stern also worked on Doctor Strange and most notably co-wrote the highly popular and famous graphic novel Triumph and Torment where Strange teamed up with Dr. Doom, borrowed from a story by Gerry Conway.
At DC, Stern became a major writer on Superman being part of the writing team collaborating on many of the most notable issues in the Post Crisis era for nearly a decade. He was one of the writers for The Death of Superman and the co-creator of the Eradicator. He also wrote the famous issue where Clark reveals his identity to Lois and the Wedding Album, most notably the final parts where Superman and Lois get married with their reading of vows, according to Stern, based on his own wedding vows to his wife, the academic Carmela Merlo. Stern also wrote the prose novel adaptations and spinoffs for the Death of Superman and the Inter-Company crossover The Incredible Hulk vs. Superman and he continues to freelance between the big two.
Stern's writing is characterized by a more humanistic flourish, an ability to put across character psychology and likewise expand on the role superheroes have in the eyes of normal people.
- "Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut" (ASM Issue # 229-230)
- "The Daydreamers" (ASM Issue #246)
- "The Kid Who Collected Spider-Man" (ASM Issue #248, back-up issue)
- "Hobgoblin Lives"
- "Untold Tales of Spider-Man: Strange Encounters"
- Revenge of the Green Goblin
- The Avengers (#189191, 201, 227279, 281288, Annual #1314 (1979-1988) Avengers 1½ (1999))
- Doctor Strange/Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment (1989, based on a story by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan, with art by Mike Mignola of Hellboy fame).
- Superman in the Post-Crisis era: