CAUSE OF DEATH: Spider-Man artist, John Romita Sr., died of natural causes in his sleep KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Wednesday, June 14, 2023

CAUSE OF DEATH: Spider-Man artist, John Romita Sr., died of natural causes in his sleep

Spider-Man artist, John Romita Sr., died of natural causes in his sleep.

Romita died of natural causes in his sleep. His son, John Romita Jr, also a successful graphic novelist, confirmed the death in a Twitter post on Tuesday night.

“I say this with a heavy heart,” Romita Jr wrote. “My father … 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.

Impressed by Romita’s work with the wallcrawler, Lee appointed him Ditko’s successor on the character’s own title. He started his run with the seminal 39th issue, ‘How Green Was My Goblin!,’ in which the hero’s nemesis discovers his true identity, and reveals himself to be Harry Osborn’s father Norman. Along with the characters he introduced, Romita brought a more romantic style to the artwork, including rendering a more handsome Peter Parker; partly as a result, sales rose, and the comic overtook “Fantastic Four” to become Marvel’s bestselling series. Among his contributions were the reintroduction of Black Widow, sporting her trademark red hair and black catsuit for the first time, in 1970’s issue #86.

After a brief stint in the US army, Romita Sr returned to comics in the 1950s, splitting his time between Marvel and DC, where he made his name on romance work.

It wasn’t until 1966 that he began drawing for Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man – a gig that would last five years and become his most well-known work.

He replaced the artist Steve Ditko, and started working with the late Marvel stalwart Stan Lee on the series. Within a year, the comic had become Marvel’s top seller, overtaking Fantastic Four.

Eventually, Romita Sr’s role morphed into an unofficial art director position at Marvel, a title that was made official in 1973.

He served for more than two decades in the role, where he oversaw the design and introduction of Wolverine; the bloodthirsty antihero The Punisher; and Luke Cage – one of the first Black superheroes to gain protagonist status at Marvel.

He left Marvel in 1996 to go into semi-retirement, though he continued working on numerous Marvel projects late into his career, including the 30th anniversary of The Amazing Spider-Man in 1992.

Despite its eventual significance in his career, Romita Sr initially resisted working on Spider-Man. John Victor Romita was born into a Sicilian family in Brooklyn, New York, on January 24, 1930. He graduated from the Manhattan School of Industrial Art in 1947, and made his comics debut two years later in the pages of “Famous Funnies.” He also began working as a ghost artist for Marvel’s predecessor, Timely Comics, that year, where he met and worked with Stan Lee for the first time. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1951, but continued to work for Timely (now renamed Atlas) after completing his training, and while off-duty.

He penciled horror, war, and romance titles for the publisher, as well as some of the decade’s Captain America comics, and freelanced on DC’s romantic books too. He drew one of the earliest series with a Black protagonist, the “Jungle Tales” strip ‘Waku, Prince of the Bantu,’ succeeding artist and co-creator Ogden Whitney on the second issue. He went exclusive with DC in 1958, but by 1965, sales of romance comics had declined dramatically, and so Romita returned to what was now Marvel, inking that year’s “The Avengers” #23. Lee assigned Romita 1966’s “Daredevil” #12–19, which included a two-part guest appearance from Spider-Man in issues #16-17.


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