The first Vision was created by the writer-artist team of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in Marvel Mystery Comics #13 (Nov. 1940). A mystical, extra-dimensional police officer, The Vision was published by Marvel predecessor Timely Comics during the 1930s and 1940s, a period which fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books.
Decades later, editor Stan Lee and writer Roy Thomas decided to add a new team member to the superhero-team series The Avengers. Thomas wanted to bring back the Golden Age Vision, but Lee was set on introducing an android member. Thomas ultimately compromised by using a new, android Vision. The second Vision first appeared in The Avengers #57 (Oct. 1968). Thomas wanted the character to be white as befitting his ghostly name, but printing limitations of the time would have rendered him colorless, with un-inked paper where his skin should be. He settled on red as he did not want Vision to be green like the Hulk or blue like the Atlanteans. The character has been compared with Spock from Star Trek, but Thomas said that he was barely aware of the TV series at the time. He acknowledged being influenced by the Adam Link character by Otto Binder, one of the first robots treated as a sympathetic character rather than as a mechanical tool.
In The Avengers #75 (April 1970), the Scarlet Witch is reintroduced to the team and soon becomes a love interest for the Vision. Thomas recounted, "I felt that a romance of some sort would help the character development in The Avengers, and the Vision was a prime candidate because he appeared only in that mag... as did Wanda, for that matter. So they became a pair, for just such practical considerations. It would also, I felt, add to the development I was doing on the Vision's attempting to become ‘human.’" Thomas also came up with the idea of the Vision having been created from the body of the Human Torch, but only planted a vague clue to this (in The Avengers #93) before leaving the series. It was finally followed up in The Avengers #134–135. Writer Steve Englehart explained, "That plot was well known in-house for years, and since Roy [Thomas] and Neal [Adams] hadn't had a chance to do it, I did it on my watch with Roy’s blessing."
In 1972 the Vision appeared with Spider-Man in Marvel Team-Up #5, "A Passion of the Mind", in which a giant robot scout from the Kree-Skrull War is found to be interfering with the Vision's brain waves.
The Vision and Scarlet Witch were married in Giant-Size Avengers #4 (June 1975). The couple starred in the limited series The Vision and the Scarlet Witch #1–4 (Nov. 1982 – Feb. 1983), by writer Bill Mantlo and penciller Rick Leonardi. This was followed by a second volume numbered #1–12 (Oct. 1985 – Sept. 1986), written by Steve Englehart and penciled by Richard Howell, in which the Scarlet Witch gives birth to twin boys conceived with the Vision through magical means.
The "Vision Quest" story in West Coast Avengers #42–45 (March – June 1989) by writer/penciller John Byrne took the character away from his earlier depictions as a "synthetic human" and emphasized his android nature. The story had the Vision's memory and human brain patterns wiped out, severed his relationship with his wife, revealed their children to be essentially imaginary constructs, and included a two-page spread showing a dismantled Vision. Journalist Karen Walker later commented, "This image alone has probably done more to shape how future writers (and readers) perceive the character than anything before or since. Once seen broken down into component parts, it’s hard to truly move past that image and think of the Vision as a synthetic man, not a machine."
The Vision appeared in a solo limited series, Vision, #1–4 (Nov. 1994 – Feb. 1995), by writer Bob Harras and penciller Manny Clark. Nearly a decade after that came a second four-issue volume (Oct. 2002 – Jan. 2003), written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Ivan Reis.
The series Young Avengers, which ran 12 issues from April 2005 to August 2006, introduced a new Vision, who is a combination of the synthezoid Vision's program files and the armor and mental engrams of the hero Iron Lad.
Vision appeared as a regular character in the 2010–2013 Avengers series, from issue #19 (January 2012) through its final issue #34 (January 2013).
The Vision again appeared in a solo series, Vision, with #1 that started in November 2015 and ended with #12 in October 2016.