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Legendary Marvel Comics Artist John Romita Sr. Passes at Age 93

Legendary and influential comic book artist John Romita Sr. has passed away at the age of 93, according to his son John Romita Jr.

On social media tonight, comic book artist John Romita Jr. has posted, "I say this with a heavy heart, My father passed away peacefully in his sleep. He is a legend in the art world and it would be my honor to follow in his footsteps. Please keep your thoughts and condolences here out of respect for my family.  He was the greatest man I ever met."

John Romita Sr.
John Romita Sr., 2017, Youtube screencap.

Legendary comic book artist John Romita Sr., passed away on June 12, 2023, at the age of 93. Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1930, Romita is remembered for his substantial role in helping to shape the look and feel of Marvel Comics for decades and in particular for his work on Amazing Spider-Man. He also co-created important characters like Mary Jane Watson, the Kingpin, the Punisher, and Wolverine, and influenced the design of countless others.  He married his wife Virginia in 1952, and Virginia Romita later worked on the Marvel staff 1975-1996.  The couple had two sons, Victor Romita and noted comic book artist John Romita Jr.

Romita began his professional comics career as a ghost artist for Les Zakarin on unspecified Marvel/Timely titles around 1949.  He started working for Marvel on his own in late 1950, on titles such as True Secrets, All True Crime, Spy Cases, and others.  Romita worked on a number of Marvel/Atlas titles throughout the 1950s, most memorably on Captain America and Young Men for the publisher's brief 1953-1955 superhero revival.

Beginning in 1957, Romita moved to DC Comics where he worked on a number of romance titles such as Secret Hearts, Girls' Love Stories, Heart Throbs, and others.  He worked predominantly for DC Comics from 1958-1965 with a scattered handful of Marvel credits during that period.

With his inks on Avengers #23 (cover-dated December 1965), John Romita joined the Marvel superhero Silver Age.  This was soon followed by a run on Daredevil, and work on Tales to Astonish and Tales of Suspense.  Romita then began his landmark and extensive involvement on Amazing Spider-Man with issue #39, cover-dated August 1966, taking over from Steve Ditko.  Among many other notable moments in the series over a formative decade, Romita played a role in the direction of the iconic 1973 story The Night Gwen Stacy Died.  As the 1970s progressed, his workload on the title began to be reduced as various other responsibilities loomed, but through this later period and ending in 1977, Romita was doing most of the covers and periodically inking the series.  He also worked on the Spider-Man newspaper comic strip from its inception in 1977 through late 1980.

Romita was officially appointed Marvel's art director in 1973 after unofficially fulfilling that role for some time prior. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, he heavily influenced the visual style of the entire Marvel Comics line. He was responsible for designing or helping to design iconic characters such as the Punisher, Wolverine, Bullseye, and others.

John Romita Sr. was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2002. He was inducted into the Inkwell Awards Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame in 2020.  One of the most important figures in the comic book industry of the past 50+ years, his influence on comics and the media they inspire will be felt for decades to come.

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Mark SeifertAbout Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press since 1996. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler, and has been with Bleeding Cool since its 2009 beginnings. Wrote extensively about the comic book industry for Wizard Magazine 1992-1996. At Avatar Press, has helped publish works by Alan Moore, George R.R. Martin, Garth Ennis, and others. Vintage paper collector, advisor to the Overstreet Price Guide Update 1991-1995.
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