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Remembering John Romita Sr.: Marvel Comics Mourns the Loss of a Creative Force at 93

15/06/2023 à 23:08:31

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Comic book artist John Romita Sr., known for his influential work on Spider-Man and other Marvel characters, has passed away at the age of 93, leaving behind a lasting legacy in the world of comics.

John Romita Sr., the influential comic book artist known for his iconic work on Spider-Man and other Marvel characters, passed away on Monday at the age of 93. His son, John Romita Jr., who is also a comic book artist, announced his father's death. Romita Sr.'s art played a significant role in shaping the look of Spider-Man, Peter Parker, and many other beloved Marvel characters.

Born on January 24, 1930, in Brooklyn, John Victor Romita showed an early interest in drawing. His passion for comics was ignited in 1938 when he acquired two copies of Action Comics No. 1, featuring Superman's debut. One copy was meticulously preserved, while the other served as a drawing guide. After graduating from the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan in 1947, Romita embarked on a career as a commercial artist.

In the 1950s, a fortuitous encounter with a friend and former high school classmate, who worked for Stan Lee at Marvel, opened the door to Romita's entry into the world of comic book art. He began secretly sketching comics in pencil for his friend, who would later ink them and pass them off as his own. Eventually, Romita revealed the arrangement to Stan Lee, who gave him the opportunity to work part-time under his own name.

Romita's breakthrough came in 1966 when he took over artistic duties on Spider-Man after Steve Ditko, the character's co-creator, left Marvel. Collaborating with writer Stan Lee, Romita's artistic style resonated with readers, and Spider-Man quickly became Marvel's top-selling title. One of his notable contributions was the iconic portrayal of Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker's love interest, famously exclaiming, "Face it, Tiger ... you just hit the jackpot!" Romita's artistic vision also extended to the creation of several villains in Spider-Man's rogues' gallery, including the Rhino, the Shocker, and the Kingpin.

From 1973 until his retirement in 1996, Romita served as an art director for Marvel. His influence extended beyond the comics themselves, as his version of the characters became the standard for international editions and merchandise. Reflecting on his career, Romita expressed pride in his work on two issues of Spider-Man in the early 1970s, where he began to establish his artistic identity separate from Steve Ditko's style. He experimented with adding more solid black areas and embellishments to the characters' clothing.

Romita's contributions to Marvel extended beyond Spider-Man. He played a role in shaping the appearances of various characters, such as the Black Widow, Wolverine, and the Punisher. Even though primarily associated with Marvel, Romita also did some work for DC Comics in the late 1950s and early 1960s, primarily in the romance comics genre.

In addition to his artistic accomplishments, Romita was known for his humility and willingness to improve upon existing concepts. He viewed himself as a follower, always striving to enhance the work of others. Romita's family was actively involved in his creative process, engaging in discussions about Spider-Man stories during car rides through Queens, the neighborhood Peter Parker called home.

John Romita Sr. is survived by his wife, Virginia, who worked at Marvel as a production manager, as well as his sons John Romita Jr. and Victor, a grandson, and two granddaughters. After his retirement, Romita continued to work on individual projects for both Marvel and DC, showcasing his enduring passion for the craft.

The legacy of John Romita Sr. will forever be intertwined with the colorful and dynamic world of comics. His contributions to the medium and the indelible mark he left on characters like Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson will continue to captivate and inspire readers for generations to come.

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