John Romita Sr., legendary Marvel artist, dies at 93

John Romita Sr., legendary Marvel artist, dies at 93

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John Romita Sr., the revered comic artist who co-created Marvel characters including Wolverine, the Punisher and Mary Jane Watson, has passed away. He was 93 years old.

His death was announced on Twitter Tuesday night by his son, John Romita Jr., a successful cartoonist in his own right.

“I say this with a heavy heart, my father passed away peacefully in his sleep,” she wrote. “He is a legend in the art world and it would be an honor for me to follow in his footsteps. Please keep your thoughts and condolences here out of respect for my family. He was the biggest man I ever met.

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One of five children, Romita Sr. was born in Brooklyn, the son of a baker. He graduated from the Manhattan School of Industrial Art in 1947, served in the US Army, and worked in comics at the age of 19, gaining a publication in Eastern Color’s Famous comics.

For a decade and a half, he split time between the companies that would eventually become Marvel and DC — Timely Comics and National Comics, respectively — working on a number of titles and earning a reputation for his romance comics.

In 1966, Romita began a five-year run working as Marvel’s managing editor Stan Lee The Incredible Spider-Man. He takes over from artist Steve Ditko, who had created the famous webslinger with Lee in 1961 before falling into a spat with the comic legend.

Romita’s run is Spiderman saw the introduction of some of the property’s most memorable characters, including Spidey’s love interest Mary Jane Watson and crime boss the Kingpin; it was during Romita’s time as an artist that Spiderman passed Fantastic Four become Marvel’s best-selling, with the masked man becoming the face of the company.

In 1972, Romita became Marvel’s unofficial art director, a role which was formalized a year later. He helped design characters including Luke Cage, the Punisher and Wolverine while training “Romita’s Raiders,” the in-house artists who corrected or replaced pages deemed unusable, often without credit.

He served as art director of Marvel for more than two decades, including completing artwork for a number of titles, including the cover of 1987’s The Amazing Spider-Man Annual No. 21, in which Spider-Man’s alter ego Peter Parker and Mary Jane finally get married.

Romita left Marvel in 1996, going into semi-retirement – a term that proved meaningless, given his output over the next few years, with multiple Spider-Man-related projects for Marvel and a Superman cover for DCthe first time he had worked for the competition in half a century.

In interviews, Romita often noted that he regretted not having been born earlier, so he could have been part of the first generation of comic book writers and artists. However, he took pride in building on what others had done.

“No matter what success I’ve had, I’ve always considered myself a guy who can improve on someone else’s concepts,” he ha She said in 2002. “A writer and another artist can create something and I can make it better.”

Romita is also survived by his wife, Virginia, and another son, Victor.