John Romita, Sr.


John Romita, Sr.

Infobox Comics creator


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caption = John Romita Sr. at Comicon 2006.
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birthdate = birth date and age|1930|01|24
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area = Penciller, Inker
alias = John Romita
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John Romita, Sr. (better known as simply John Romita) (born January 24, 1930) is an Italian-American comic-book artist best known for his work on Marvel Comics' "The Amazing Spider-Man". He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2002.

Romita is the father of John Romita, Jr., also a comic-book artist.

Biography

Early life and career

John Romita graduated from the School of Industrial Art in 1947. He broke into comics on the seminal series "Famous Funnies". "Steven Douglas up there was a benefactor to all young artists", Romita recalled. "The first story he gave me was a love story. It was terrible. All the women looked like emaciated men and he bought it, never criticized, and told me to keep working. He paid me two hundred dollars for it and never published it — and rightfully so". [http://www.keefestudios.com/studio/romita/interview.htm Keefe Studios: John Romita interview] (late 1980s; exact date n.a.)]

Romita was working at the New York City company Forbes Lithograph in 1949, earning $30 a week, when a friend from high school whom he ran into on a subway train offered him $20 a page to pencil a 10-page story for him as uncredited ghost artist. "I thought, this is ridiculous! In two pages I can make more money than I usually make all week! So I ghosted it and then kept on ghosting for him", Romita recalled. The friend worked for Marvel's 1940s forerunner, Timely Comics, which helped give Romita an opportunity to meet editor-in-chief and art director Stan Lee.

Romita's first known credited comic-book art is as penciler and inker on the six-page story "The Bradshaw Boys" in "Western Outlaws" #1 (Feb. 1954) for Marvel's 1950s predecessor, Atlas Comics. He went on to draw a wide variety of horror, war, romance and other comics for Atlas. His most notable work for the company was the short-lived, of Timely's hit character Captain America, in "Young Men" #24-28 (Dec. 1953 - July 1954) and "Captain America" #76-78 (May-Sept. 1954).

He also was the primary artist for one of the first series with a Black star, "Waku, Prince of the Bantu" — created by writer Don Rico and artist Ogden Whitney in the omnibus title "Jungle Tales" #1 (Sept. 1954), and starring an African chieftain in Africa, with no regularly featured Caucasian characters. Romita succeeded Whitney with issue #2 (November 1954).

pider-Man

At Marvel, Romita returned to superhero penciling after a decade working exclusively as a romance-comic artist for DC. He felt at the time that he no longer wanted to pencil, in favor of being solely an inker:

Romita began a brief stint on "Daredevil" beginning with issue #12, initially penciling over Jack Kirby's dynamic layouts as a means of learning Marvel's storytelling house style. It proved to be a stepping-stone for his famed, years-long pencilling run on "The Amazing Spider-Man". "What Stan Lee wanted was for me to do a two-part Daredevil story [#16-17, May-June 1966] with Spider-Man as a guest star, to see how I handled the character".

Coming to "The Amazing Spider-Man" as successor of Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, Romita initially attempted to mimic Ditko's style, but brought his own clean, soap operatic style of illustration to the book, and made the character his own.

Marvel Comics art director

When editor-in-chief and art director Stan Lee assumed the position of publisher, he promoted Romita to the latter position. In that capacity, Romita played a major role in defining the look of Marvel Comics and in designing new characters. Among the characters he helped design are the Punisher, Wolverine, and Brother Voodoo.

Later career

Following his retirement from day-to-day comics work, Romita returned to draw his signature character Spider-Man on latter-day occasions. He was one of six pencilers on "Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man" #121 (Dec. 1986), and he penciled a nine-page story "I remember Gwen" in "The Amazing Spider-Man" #365 (Aug. 1992, the 30th-anniversary issue) and an eight-page backup story starring the conflicted hero and supporting character the Prowler in "Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man Annual" #13 (1993).

He both penciled and inked the 10-page backup story "The Kiss — a flashback in which Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and his girlfriend Gwen Stacy share their first kiss — in "Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man" #1 (Jan. 1999). He also drew an alternate-universe version of the Spider-Man characters in the one-shot "Spidey: A Universe X Special" (2001), and penciled the final four pages of the 38-page story in the milestone "The Amazing Spider-Man" #500 (Dec. 2003). Romita also drew one of four covers to the April 27 - May 3, 2002 issue of "TV Guide". [ [http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=1068 First Look at Spider-Man "TV Guide" Covers] , by Jonah Weiland, April 6, 2002, Comic Book Resources]

Additionally, Romita contributed to multi-artist jams in commemorative issues. He did a panel in "Captain America" vol. 3, #50 (Feb. 2002), starring the first Marvel superhero he'd drawn; a portion of "Iron Man" vol. 3, #40 (May 2001), although the hero was not one of the artist's signature characters; a panel for "Daredevil" vol. 2, #50 (Oct. 2003); and a few pages featuring Karen Page in "Daredevil" vol. 2, #100 (Oct. 2007), done in the style of the romance comics he had drawn decades earlier. Romita both penciled and inked the cover of "Daredevil" vol. 2, #94 (Feb. 2007) in that same romance-comics style. The following year he drew a variant cover of his signature series, for "The Amazing Spider-Man" #568 (Oct. 2008)

In the mid-2000s, Romita sat on the board of directors of the charity A Commitment to Our Roots.

Footnotes

References

* [http://www.maelmill-insi.de/UHBMCC/ The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators]
* [http://www.comics.org The Grand Comics Database] .


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