Renowned Marvel Artist John Romita Sr. Passes Away at 93 Years Old

John Romita Sr., the legendary Marvel artist and comic book creator, has passed away at the age of 93 on June 12, 2023. Romita Sr., who made significant contributions to the Marvel universe, was the artistic style of Marvel comics through the ‘70s and ‘80s. He co-created some of Marvel’s most beloved characters, including Wolverine, The Punisher, and Mary Jane Watson.

John Romita Jr., his son, announced his passing in a tweet, expressing his grief and respect for his father’s legacy. “He is a legend in the art world and it would be my honor to follow in his footsteps,” John Jr. said. “Please keep your thoughts and condolences here out of respect for my family.”

During his tenure at Marvel, Romita Sr. became a full-time artist in 1965 after inking The Avengers #23 as a freelancer. He then worked extensively on Daredevil and later on The Amazing Spider-Man.

In an interview with Alter Ego, he revealed that he did not want to work on Spider-Man initially. “On Spider-Man, I felt obliged to ghost Ditko. After six months, when I realized it wasn’t temporary, I finally stopped trying to ghost Ditko,” Romita Sr. said. He soon found his own style, which became the defining style of Marvel’s artwork throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s after becoming the art director in 1973.

He was pivotal in the creation and design of The Punisher, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Bullseye, Tigra, and Brother Voodoo. Romita Sr. was responsible for creating The Punisher’s iconic skull logo, using Utica Club beer cans to create the teeth of the skull.

In recognition of his contributions to the comic book industry, Romita Sr. received an Inkpot Award in 1979 and was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2002.

Across various platforms, comic book creators, film and TV professionals, and fans alike paid tribute to Romita Sr. on social media following his passing.

“Definitive Spider-Man artist, legendary Marvel art director, father of my great friend Johnny Jr & one of the most beloved human beings in the biz. If we can all end our careers with even A FRACTION of those triumphs we’re doing well,” said comic book creator Mark Millar.

“My brother & I wrote Mr. Romita when we were young kids & sent him drawings of superheroes we were working on. He wrote us back, telling us what he liked about the drawings! A truly memorable experience in my life,” said Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.

John Romita Sr. was married to his childhood sweetheart, Virginia Bruno. Together, they raised two sons, including John Jr., who also went on to become a renowned Marvel comic book artist. Romita Sr. leaves behind a profound legacy that will be remembered by comic book fans for generations to come.


Image credit: Marc Stamas / Getty Images
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.

 

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