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Marvel artist John Romita Sr., known for Spider-Man and Wolverine, dies

John Romita Sr., the renowned Marvel Comics artist credited with co-creating iconic characters like Wolverine and Spider-Man’s girlfriend Mary Jane Watson, passed away at the age of 93.

Throughout his career, Romita Sr. made significant contributions to the Marvel Universe, leaving his artistic mark on beloved characters such as Kingpin and the Punisher.

His death was confirmed on Tuesday by his son and fellow comics artist John Romita Jr, who confirmed his father had “passed away peacefully in his sleep”.

“He is a legend in the art world and it would be my honour to follow in his footsteps,” he posted on social media.


John Romita Sr., born in Brooklyn, New York, began his career in the comics industry after graduating from Manhattan’s School of Industrial Art in 1947 and serving in the army.

He established his reputation working on titles for Timely Comics and National Comics, which would later become Marvel and DC, respectively.

In 1966, Romita joined forces with Marvel’s editor-in-chief Stan Lee on The Amazing Spider-Man, taking over from original artist Steve Ditko. His artistic contributions played a pivotal role in making the series a bestseller for the company.

During his tenure, Romita co-created notable characters like Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man’s love interest, and the Punisher, the formidable assassin. He also had a hand in the creation of Kingpin, the notorious crime boss.

In the early 1970s, Romita assumed the position of Marvel’s art director, a role he fulfilled for over two decades. He contributed to the design of iconic characters such as Wolverine, who made his debut in an Incredible Hulk publication. Additionally, Romita played a part in the creation of Luke Cage, one of Marvel’s early black superheroes.

Romita’s involvement in the Spider-Man universe extended beyond Mary Jane Watson. He also had a hand in the origins of enduring characters like the villainous Vulture, mobster Hammerhead, and the sonic-powered Shocker. Notable Spider-Man figures such as the Hobgoblin, journalist Robbie Robertson, and Gwen Stacy’s father George Stacy were also co-created by Romita.

Throughout his career, Romita’s artwork adorned numerous classic titles, including The Night Gwen Stacy Died in 1973, and the momentous wedding of Peter Parker, Spider-Man’s alter-ego, to Mary Jane in 1987.

‘I can make it better

After semi-retiring in 1996, Romita remained involved in the comic book industry. He continued to work on Spider-Man projects for Marvel and even contributed a cover for DC’s Superman.

The characters he co-created went on to achieve significant popularity and made appearances in various TV shows and films, spanning live-action and animated formats. Sadly, Romita’s passing occurred just a week after the successful box office release of Sony’s Spider-Man sequel, Across the Spider-Verse.

In a 2002 interview, Romita humbly expressed his approach to his work, stating, “No matter what success I’ve had, I’ve always considered myself a guy who can improve on somebody else’s concepts. A writer and another artist can create something, and I can make it better.”

His contributions to the industry were recognized when he was inducted into the Eisner Awards Hall of Fame in 2002 and later the Inkwell Awards Hall of Fame in 2020.

Romita is survived by his wife, Virginia, as well as his two sons, Romita Jr. and Victor, both of whom have also made names for themselves as talented artists.

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