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Legendary Marvel Artist John Romita Sr. Passes at 93

Legendary Marvel Artist John Romita Sr.

John Romita Sr., the legendary comic book artist who co-created major Marvel characters such as Wolverine, the Punisher, and Mary Jane Watson, along with helping to shape Spider-Man, has passed away. He was 93.

His Early Years

Romita was born January 24, 1930, in Brooklyn, and developed an early interest in art. He later graduated from Manhattan’s School of Industrial Art in 1947.

Romita entered the comics industry in 1949 on the series “Famous Funnies,” but it was another assignment later that year on Marvel’s 1940s forerunner, Timely Comics, which gave Romita an opportunity to meet Timely’s editor-in-chief and art director Stan Lee.

For a decade and a half, he split time between the companies that eventually would become Marvel and DC…Timely and National Comics.

Joining Marvel

In 1966, Romita began a five-year run working Marvel editor-in-chief Stan Lee on “The Amazing Spider-Man.” He took over for artist Steve Ditko, who had created the famed webslinger with Lee in 1961 before leaving the company.

Romita’s run on Spider-Man saw the introduction of a number of the comic series’ most memorable characters, including Spider-Man’s love interest Mary Jane Watson, along with villain Vulture, the mobster Hammerhead, sonic-powered Shocker, the Hobgoblin, journalist Robbie Robertson, and Gwen Stacy’s father George Stacy.

John Romita Sr - Spider-Man
Interior from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #50; pencils by John Romita Sr.; courtesy Marvel

It was during Romita’s time as artist that Spider-Man overtook Fantastic Four to become Marvel’s top-seller.

Romita Sr. helped create the look of X-Men’s Wolverine. He also helped create Luke Cage, the Daredevil villain Bullseye, and Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. the evil mastermind Kingpin.

If you want to see more of his work, Marvel did a wonderful spotlight on the creator in 2022.

Romita Sr. was inducted into the Eisner Awards Hall of Fame in 2002 (the comics industry’s equivalent to the Academy Awards), and the Inkwell Awards Hall of Fame in 2020.

John Romita Sr - Spider-Man

His Passing

John Romita Sr’s passing was announced by his son John Romita Jr, who is a legendary Marvel artist in his own right:

“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.”

Romita Sr. is survived by his wife, Virginia, and sons Romita Jr. and Victor.

Marvel also posted a remembrance online this morning: