Comic Book Alphabet of Cool – R
It is too bad today is R, because I have a really good S for my pal, Grant, whose birthday is today. Oh well!
Instead, today we feature an artist I enjoy.
John Romita Jr.
The son of legendary Marvel artist, John Romita, John Romita Jr. first broke in at Marvel during the late 70s.
He then proceeded to go on what I can only call one of the wildest three decade long ride through a single company that you could imagine….
After some back-up works, Romita made his big splash working on an acclaimed Iron Man run with writers David Michelinie and Bob Layton (Layton also inked Romita at the time), although Romita actually made his debut one issue before them, working with the steady inking hand of Dan Green.
During the run, while Romita did solid work, issues inked by Layton looked like, well, Layton, so Romita’s own style did not shine as much.
Soon, Romita was popular enough that Marvel had him do TWO books, Iron Man and one of their bigger books, Amazing Spider-Man, where Romita teamed with writer Roger Stern. Here, Romita’s art had difficulty taking shape, because he was given SO many different inkers to work with. He drew most of the issues from Amazing Spider-Man #223 to Amazing Spider-Man #250, and in that span, he had TWELVE different inkers!!! Including legendary pencilers Jim Mooney and Romita’s own father!! Not the best recipe for development.
Still, Romita was popular enough that he was moved again to Marvel’s biggest-selling title, Uncanny X-Men, where he teamed with Dan Green as his consistent inker.
It was here that Romita really began to grow as an artist, and develop his particular style.
By the time he left the book, he had a distinct look to him. Romita moved to the New Universe, as Jim Shooter had enough money in his budget for one “star” artist, and he chose Romita, and Romita drew the main book in the line, Star Brand.
Ultimately, New Universe did not work out, and after mixing here and there for awhile, Romita began an acclaimed run on Daredevil with writer Ann Nocenti.
When this run finished, he returned to Iron Man, this time with writer John Byrne (who actually credited Romita first in the credits).
During this run, he managed to draw a big one-shot for Marvel starring Wolverine, Ghost Rider and the Punisher. With the time period and the characters involved, this was quite an honor for Romita, as it was basically Marvel saying “Here, we want you to make a LOT of money.”
After Iron Man was done, Romita helped launch a new Punisher ongoing series, Punisher War Zone.
1993 was a busy year for Romita, as he returned to TWO former titles.
First, he became the regular Uncanny X-Men artist again.
Next, he drew Frank Miller’s re-imagining of Daredevil’s origins, Daredevil: The Man Without Fear.
After these projects, Romita laid fairly low for his standards, with the only standout being his Marvel/DC crossover starring Batman and the Punisher.
Soon, though, Romita would be back in the monthly grind, taking over a run on Spider-Man that saw him draw the webslinger in one book or another for the next NINE years!!!
During this time, Romita found the time to work in the relaunch of Thor with Dan Jurgens.
And later, an extended run on Hulk with writers Paul Jenkins and then Bruce Jones.
More recently, after finishing his Spider-Man work for the time being, Romita launched a book of his own for Image, and then drew Mark Millar’s Wolverine run
AND launched Black Panther with writer Reggie Hudlin.
Once those runs ended, Romita was the handpicked artist to draw Neil Gaiman’s Eternals.
Romita followed this with another return to a character he had formerly drawn, by drawing the art for the World War Hulk mini-series.
Currently, Romita has reunited with Mark Millar to draw Millar’s Kick Ass series.
It was recently announced that Romita WILL be returning to Spider-Man at some point in the near future.
Talk about a wild ride through one company, eh?
And through it all, he handled himself not only like a star artist, but like a classy star artist.
He’s one of the industry’s best, and Marvel is lucky that he is so loyal to them.