December 7, 2023

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John Romita Sr., the creative force at Marvel Comics, is dead at 93

John Romita Sr., the creative force at Marvel Comics, is dead at 93

John Romita Sr., the influential comic book artist who drew Spider-Man in the superhero’s early years and helped create some of Marvel’s most beloved characters, including Mary Jane Watson and Wolverine, has passed away. He was 93 years old.

His death was announced by his son, John Romita Jr., also a comics artist, who said his father died in his sleep on Monday.

“He is a legend in the art world and I am honored to follow in his footsteps,” Mr. Romita Jr. said. he said on Instagram.

“Millions got to know Marvel through his art, and millions more got to know Peter Parker through the bold, unmistakable drawing that Romita brought to his pages,” Marvel he said in a statement.

John V was born. Romita was born on January 24, 1930 in Brooklyn, the eldest of five children. Mr. Romita’s interest in drawing was encouraged at home and at school, according to a 2007 biography written by Sue L. Hamilton. In 1938, he purchased two copies of the first Superman comic, keeping one safely in a suitcase while using the other as a drawing guide.

After graduating from high school in 1947, Mr. Romita began working as a commercial artist. But a chance meeting with a friend and former high school classmate, who worked for Stan Lee, a comic book revolutionary, leads to his first big break. Mr. Romita secretly began drawing comics in pencil for his friend, who later revised them in ink and considered them his own.

Mr. Romita said in an interview that Mr. Romita took over his career in the 1950s and revealed the arrangement to Mr. Lee, who in turn gave him the business opportunity. with The Comics Reporter in 2002.

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Romita’s career as a comic book artist shifted forward in 1966, when he began drawing The Amazing Spider-Man, which he took over from Steve Ditko, who had co-created the character in 1962 with Mr. Lee. It would become one of Mr. Romita’s most popular works.

Arlen Schumer, author of The Silver Age of Comic Book Art, told The New York Times in 2017 that Mr. Romita was a worthy successor to Mr. Ditko, adding that his “distinctive hand as art director” can be seen in everything from covers to panels and inside pages, to replace the Marvel style that was dominated by Jack Kirby in the ’60s.”

Mr. Romita he said in a 2017 interview with Syfy that he was most proud of his work on two issues in the early 1970s, when he began to distinguish his artistic vision of Spider-Man from that of Mr. Ditko.

“I always felt like a visitor on Spider-Man,” Mr. Romita said. “Like I always did Ditko one way or another. I was trying to keep the characters consistent.” By the time Issues 108 and 109 reached his desk, he said, he was a different person and approached work from a new angle. “You’ll see more blacks and streaked clothing lines than you ever will in Spider-Man, and there are scenes there that I’m very proud of.”

Mister Romita was also known to create the look and attitude of Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man’s love interest. Mr. Romita He said he established the character Partially based on actress and singer Anne-Margret. “We were trying to make a girl who’s very into her and very modern,” said Mr. Romita.

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Under his leadership at Marvel, a number of other memorable characters were introduced, including Kingpin, Luke Cage, and Wolverine.

Mister Romita retired in 1996, but has continued to work on some projects for both Marvel and DC.

Mr. Romita He told The Comics Reporter in 2002 He regrets not being of the first generation of professional cartoonists and having thought of himself as following in the footsteps of others.

“No matter what success I had, I always considered myself a guy who could improve on someone else’s concepts,” Mr. Romita said. “A writer and another artist can create something, and I can improve on it.”

A full list of survivors was not immediately available.