Rest in Peace, John Romita Sr.

The iconic artist of ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ and art director for Marvel passed away at the age of 93.

John Romita Sr., one of the greatest Spider-Man artists of all time and the amn who defined the look of many Marvel characters across several decades, has passed away, his son reported on social media. He was 93 years old.

“He was the greatest man I ever met,” John Romita Jr. said on Twitter. He said his father passed away “peacefully in his sleep.”

While Romita’s career started in the late 1940s with runs at Timely and then DC, where he drew romance comics in the late 1950s and 1960s, he’s best known for his long tenure at Marvel. He joined the company in 1965 to draw Daredevil, but soon replaced the departing Steve Ditko on Amazing Spider-Man, the character he’d most be associated with.

Romita’s take on Spider-Man became the signature look for the character, and he also co-created and designed such Marvel staples as Mary Jane Watson, the Punisher, Rhino and the Kingpin. So many of the iconic images associated with Spider-Man were drawn by Romita.

Romita stayed on Amazing Spider-Man through the early 1970s, working with other artists on the title as he picked up new duties as Marvel’s art director. During his time on the title, he contributed a string of more than 50 covers and an almost unbroken run of story layouts or full pencil-art for 56 issues. He also drew the Spider-Man comic strip from 1977-1980.

Hired by Stan Lee to serve as art director, his impact on Marvel grew even more. He designed or helped design several more of their signature characters, including Wolverine, Luke Cage, Tigra and Bullseye, and redesigned characters like Black Widow.

While his duties in this position kept him busy, he still found time for comics work, inking the debut of Monica Rambeau in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 an the debut of the Hobgoblin in The Amazing Spider-Man #238. He drew a back-up story in 1999 that showed Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy’s first kiss; funny enough, he’s also credited with suggesting to Gerry Conway that the Green Goblin kill Gwen Stacy decades before.

“John Romita Sr. was a pillar of the Marvel Universe, and his talent defined decades of Marvel’s most well-known stories and characters,” Marvel said in a statement about his death. “The Marvel family has lost one of its legends, and we mourn the loss of a creative giant. Our hearts are with his family and loved ones.”

Romita was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2002, and later in life was known for his charity work with the Hero Initiative, where he served on the Disbursement Committee.

Many comic creators took to social media to recognize and remember Romita. In a response to his son’s initial tweet, Colleen Doran said Romita “was a kind and gentle man, a great and groundbreaking cartoonist, generous, funny and supportive. Many of my finest Winsor Newton brushes came from his studio. Now I just want to frame them.”

“Your father will always be, beyond one of the most talented people I have ever met– he was one of the nicest, kindest, and most welcoming people I’ve ever met. And that matters so much more,” said current Spider-Man writer Dan Slott.

“Not only was he a legend and a foundation stone of superhero comics but he was also a patient, generous man who took time to guide and encourage me in the days when even getting a response to my art was rare. He was the Greatest,” wrote artist Gary Frank.

Daredevil by John Romita Jr. and John Romita Sr.

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