John Romita Sr, Marvel Comics artist, dies at 93

Romita Sr worked with late Marvel supremo Stan Lee, co-creator of multiple characters including Spider-Man, who became one of the world's best-loved fictional heroes

Published - June 14, 2023 05:40 pm IST - Washington

John Romita

John Romita

Marvel Comics artist John Romita Sr, primarily known for his work on The Amazing Spider-Man, has died, his son said Tuesday. He was 93 years of age.

Romita Sr, born in Brooklyn in 1930, spent decades drawing the eponymous superhero of The Amazing Spider-Man comic book series for U.S. publisher Marvel, during the medium's so-called Silver Age.

“My father, John Romita passed away peacefully in his sleep this Monday morning,” his son, John Romita Jr, also a comic book artist, wrote on Instagram.

“He is a legend in the art world and it would be my honor to follow in his footsteps... He was the greatest man I ever met.”

British comic artist Sean Phillips — known for Ed Brubaker collaborations such as The Fade Out and Fatale — wrote on Twitter that Romita was “the best Spider-Man artist”.

Romita Sr worked with late Marvel supremo Stan Lee, co-creator of multiple characters including Spider-Man, who became one of the world's best-loved fictional heroes. He also drew for titles starring Daredevil, another Lee creation.

Both Lee and fellow Spider-Man creator Stephen Ditko died in 2018, aged 95 and 90 respectively.

Speaking in 2002, Romita said he meshed well into the creative processes at Marvel. “I don’t consider myself a creator,” Romita said in an interview with The Comics Reporter. “I’ve created a lot of stuff. But I don’t consider myself a real creator in a [Captain America co-creator] Jack Kirby sense. But I’ve always had the ability to improve on other people’s stories, other people’s characters. And I think that’s what’s made me a living for 50 years.”

Like his father, Romita Jr, 66, has also worked on The Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil. James Gunn, director of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy series, posted a tribute on Twitter. “Sorry to hear about the great comic book artist John Romita Sr passing at the age of 93,” he wrote.

Current Spider-Man writer Dan Slott also paid homage. “I grew up with John Romita’s Spider-Man as my Spider-Man. He was already one of my heroes before I’d ever set foot in Marvel,” he posted. “When I was an intern [at Marvel] in the ’90s, it was surreal to me that he worked on staff, and I was in awe seeing him walk through the halls.”

Romita Sr also worked for rival superhero behemoth DC, in the early years of his career. Superheroes first entered the wider public consciousness in 1938 with the arrival of Superman in Action Comics #1. The following year, he was joined by the Caped Crusader, Batman, before other heroes such as Captain America entered the fray.

The genre lost popularity in the post-war period but rebounded in the late 1950s and early 1960s — notably thanks to Lee, who created The Fantastic Four in 1961 for Marvel Comics. In quick succession, The Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man, the X-Men and Black Panther followed. Over the past 15 years many of those characters, along with Iron Man, have coalesced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a multimedia franchise that has conquered cinema screens globally. They account for four of the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time, including 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the newest chapter in Sony’s separate webslinger series, dominated box offices last weekend.

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