John Romita Sr. (born 1930)

Above:

The Amazing Spider-Man #50, a one-issue 1967 Spider-Man comic

Written by Stan Lee with art by John Romita, Sr.

Worked for:

Timely Comics, Marvel and DC Comics

Known For:

Comic book art and editing and his depictions of Spider-Man

John Romita was born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 24 1930, and showed a keen interest in drawing from an early age. He attended high school at the School Of Industrial Art on 79th Street in Manhattan, and after graduating in 1947 took on commercial art jobs for a year before breaking into the comics industry in 1949 with a story in Eastern Color’s Famous Funnies.

He soon began to assist a friend on art for Stan Lee’s Timely Comics, and though he initially served as an uncredited artist, he started signing his own name to his work. He was drafted into the Army in 1951, and was stationed on Governor’s Island, providing art for promotional materials. He continued to freelance for Lee’s company, now known as Atlas, working on various series (including Captain America) through 1957, when the company fell on hard times. Romita then moved to DC Comics, here he was assigned to editor Phyllis Reed’s family of romance titles, and quickly moved up to become one of her go-to artists, pencilling hundreds of interior stories, drawing the vast majority of the line’s covers, and developing the glamorous, expressive style that would become his trademark.

By 1965, Romita once again found himself without steady work, as DC found themselves excess inventory and decided to stop commissioning new stories for their romance books. Romita then decided to move into commercial art, and had already taken a job at an advertising agency when Stan Lee convinced him to return to the former Timely/Atlas, who had renamed themselves Marvel and were in the process publishing a ground-breaking new line of superhero comics

His first work at Marvel was inking Avengers #23 over drawings by Don Heck and also cover art over Jack Kirby’s pencil work.He then drew eight issues of Daredevil before being asked by Lee to take over as artist of The Amazing Spider-Man with issue #39, an assignment that bought Romita to the forefront of comic book illustration.