John Romita Jr.

John Romita Jr.

John Romita Jr. in 2006
Born (1956-08-17) August 17, 1956
New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
  • Penciller
  • Pseudonym(s) JRJR
    Notable works
    The Amazing Spider-Man
    Iron Man
    Uncanny X-Men
    Awards Inkpot Award (1994)
    Eisner Award (2002)

    John Salvatore Romita[1] professionally known as John Romita Jr. (born August 17, 1956)[2] is an American comic book artist best known for his extensive work for Marvel Comics from the 1970s to the 2010s. He is often referred to as JRJR.

    Early life

    John Romita Jr. is the son of Virginia and comic-book artist John Romita Sr., one of the signature Spider-Man artists since the 1960s.[3][4] He studied advertising art and design at Farmingdale State College in East Farmingdale, New York, graduating in 1976.[5]


    John Romita Jr.'s first contribution to Marvel Comics was at the age of 13 with the creation of the Prowler in The Amazing Spider-Man #78 (Nov. 1969).[6] Romita Jr. began his career at Marvel UK, doing sketches for covers of reprints as a favor thanks to his respected father. His American debut was with a six-page story entitled "Chaos at the Coffee Bean!" in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #11 (1977).[1][7]

    Romita's early popularity began with his run on Iron Man with writer David Michelinie and artist Bob Layton which began in 1978. The creative team introduced several supporting characters, including Stark's bodyguard girlfriend Bethany Cabe[8] and rival industrialist Justin Hammer.[9] In the early 1980s, he had his first regular run on the series The Amazing Spider-Man and also was the artist for the launch of the Dazzler series. He and writer Dennis O'Neil introduced Madame Web in The Amazing Spider-Man #210 (Nov. 1980)[10] and Hydro-Man in issue #212 (Jan. 1981).[11] In 1982, Romita Jr. drew Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions[12] the first limited series published by Marvel Comics. Working with writer Roger Stern on The Amazing Spider-Man, he co-created the character Hobgoblin.[13] From 1983 to 1986 he had a run on the Uncanny X-Men with Dan Green and author Chris Claremont and co-created Forge.[14] He would return for a second run on Uncanny X-Men in 1993.[7]

    Promotional art for The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2, #43 (April 2003), by John Romita Jr. and Scott Hanna.

    From 1988 to 1990, Romita had an extended stint on Daredevil with writer Ann Nocenti and inker Al Williamson, which included the creation of long-running Daredevil nemesis Typhoid Mary.[15] For Romita himself, his stint on Daredevil was most significant for being both the first time he was allowed to do full pencils instead of just breakdowns, and the first time he had a working relationship with the writer on a series.[16] He later remarked that "I finally felt like I was part of the creation process for the first time while I was on DD."[16] After Daredevil #282, Romita left the series to pursue other projects.

    Stan Lee interviewed Romita and his father in Episode 8 of the 1991–1992 documentary series The Comic Book Greats.

    He worked on a host of Marvel titles during the 1990s, including a return to Iron Man for the second "Armor Wars" story arc, written by John Byrne; The Punisher War Zone;[17] the Cable miniseries;[18] and the Punisher/Batman crossover. Klaus Janson was a frequent inker.[7] Romita collaborated with Frank Miller on a Daredevil origin story entitled Daredevil: The Man Without Fear in 1993,[19] a revisiting of the character's origin, with Williamson again on inks. Romita had to draw new transitional pages as the story changed formats from a 64-page graphic novel to a 144-page graphic novel to a five-issue limited series.[16] Dan Jurgens and Romita Jr. relaunched the Thor series in July 1998[20] while a January 1999 reboot of Peter Parker: Spider-Man was handled by Howard Mackie and Romita Jr.[21]

    In 2001, Romita returned to Spider-Man for a collaboration with writer J. Michael Straczynski beginning with The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #30 (June 2001).[22] The creative team produced a story for issue #36 (Dec. 2001) that served as memorial to the victims of the September 11 attacks.[23] He drew Marvel's Wolverine with author Mark Millar. In 2004, Romita's creator-owned project The Gray Area was published by Image Comics. Romita's art has since appeared in Black Panther, The Sentry and "Ultimate Vision", a backup feature in the Ultimate Marvel line, written by Mark Millar.[7]

    In 2006, Romita collaborated with writer Neil Gaiman on a seven-issue miniseries reinterpretation of Jack Kirby's characters the Eternals.[24][25] Romita worked with Greg Pak on the five-issue flagship comic of Marvel's 2007 crossover storyline, World War Hulk.[26][27]

    In 2008, Romita again returned to The Amazing Spider-Man.[28] He also collaborated once more with Millar, for a creator-owned series, Kick-Ass, published by Marvel's Icon imprint. This was later adapted into the 2010 film Kick-Ass. Romita, one of the producers, directed an animated flashback sequence in the film.[29]

    On April 9, 2011, Romita was one of 62 comics creators who appeared at the IGN stage at the Kapow! convention in London to set two Guinness World Records, the "Fastest Production of a Comic Book" and "Most Contributors to a Comic Book". With Guinness officials on hand to monitor their progress, writer Millar began work at 9 a.m. scripting a 20-page black-and-white comic book of his character Superior, with Romita and the other artists appearing on stage throughout the day to work on the pencils, inks, and lettering, each drawing a panel.[30][31] The book was completed in 11 hours, 19 minutes, and 38 seconds, and was published through Icon on November 23, 2011, with all royalties being donated to Yorkhill Children's Foundation.[30]

    On May 4, 2012, Romita set out to break his own record for continuous cartooning, to support the charity Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada. He attempted to continuously sketch characters and sign comics for 50 hours straight.[32]

    In 2014 Romita Jr. became the penciller of the DC Comics flagship title Superman, starting with issue #32, in collaboration with writer Geoff Johns.[33][34] Romita Jr.'s Superman pencils have been inked by Klaus Janson.[35] In 2016, Romita Jr. and writer Scott Snyder collaborated on the All-Star Batman series as part of the DC Rebirth relaunch.[36][37]

    Influences and techniques

    Romita's art influences include his father John Romita Sr.,[3] as well as comics artists Jack Kirby[3] and John Buscema,[3] the Wyeth family of painters,[3] and illustrator Charles Dana Gibson.[3]

    Having illustrated both gritty street-level stories of characters such as Spider-Man and Daredevil and cosmic stories such as those starring Thor, Romita says he prefers the former, because "that is where I grew up. I use the same approach to each of the different story types – the story tells me what to do."[3] He prefers to work in the Marvel Method. He considers The Man Without Fear to be his best work,[16] due to the strong storytelling and the quality of the story.[3]


    John Romita Jr. received an Inkpot Award in 1994.[38]


    DC Comics

    Marvel Comics

    Icon Comics

    Marvel Comics/DC Comics

    Image Comics


    1. 1 2 "John Romita Jr.". Lambiek Comiclopedia. June 3, 2012. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012.
    2. Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
    3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Andreasen, Henrik; Keller, Katherine (November 19, 2007). "Like Father Like Son: John Romita Jr.". Archived from the original on June 22, 2015.
    4. Ross, Alex, Introduction, in Spurgeon, Tom; Cunningham, Brian (2011). The Romita Legacy. Mount Laurel, New Jersey: Dynamic Forces. p. 5. ISBN 978-1933305271. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
    5. "Farmingdale State College To Hold Alumni Awards Dinner Next March 31". East Farmingdale, New York: Farmingdale State College. December 10, 2015. Archived from the original on January 15, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
    6. DeFalco, Tom; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1960s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 139. ISBN 978-0756641238. Future Marvel artist John Romita Jr. – who was thirteen years old at the time- came up with a character called the Prowler and sent a drawing to Stan Lee.
    7. 1 2 3 4 John Romita Jr. at the Grand Comics Database
    8. Sanderson, Peter "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 187: "In December [1978], co-plotters David Michelinie and Bob Layton, and penciler John Romita Jr....came up with Bethany Cabe, a highly capable professional bodyguard and a different sort of leading lady."
    9. Sanderson "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 189: "Tony Stark's billionaire nemesis Justin Hammer made his first appearance in The Invincible Iron Man #120 by writer David Michelinie and artist John Romita Jr. and Bob Layton. "
    10. Manning, Matthew K.; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2012). "1980s". Spider-Man Chronicle Celebrating 50 Years of Web-Slinging. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 116. ISBN 978-0756692360. Writer Denny O'Neil's newest contribution to the Spider-Man mythos would come in the form of psychic Madame Web, a character introduced with the help of artist John Romita Jr.
    11. Manning "1980s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 118: "In this issue, award-winning writer Denny O'Neil, with collaborator John Romita Jr., introduced Hydro-Man."
    12. DeFalco "1980s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 208: "Plotted by Mark Gruenwald, Steven Grant, and Bill Mantlo, and penciled by John Romita Jr., Contest of Champions eventually saw print in June 1982"
    13. Manning "1980s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 133: "Writer Roger Stern and artists John Romita Jr. and John Romita Sr. introduced a new – and frighteningly sane – version of the [Green Goblin] concept with the debut of the Hobgoblin."
    14. DeFalco "1980s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 218: "A brilliant weapons inventor Forge was the man the government hired when Tony Stark stopped building munitions."
    15. DeFalco "1980s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 237: "Mary was first introduced in Daredevil #254 by [writer] Ann Nocenti and artist John Romita Jr."
    16. 1 2 3 4 Cordier, Philippe (April 2007). "Seeing Red: Dissecting Daredevil's Defining Years". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (21): 33–60.
    17. Manning, Matthew K. "1990s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 258: "The third ongoing series to star vigilante Frank Castle was The Punisher: War Zone, written by Chuck Dixon and with art by John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson."
    18. Manning "1990s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 260
    19. Manning "1990s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 264: "Comic legends Frank Miller and John Romita Jr. united to tell a new version of Daredevil's origin in this carefully crafted five-issue miniseries."
    20. Manning "1990s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 289: "Thor thundered into his new ongoing series by writer Dan Jurgens and artist John Romita Jr."
    21. Cowsill, Alan "1990s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 246: The second new Spidey title of the month featured a tale written by Howard Mackie and drawn by John Romita Jr."
    22. Cowsill "2000s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 262: "J. Michael Straczynski and artist John Romita Jr. took the helm in this issue to create some of the best Spider-Man stories of the decade."
    23. Cowsill "2000s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 265: "The most powerful Spider-Man comic of the year was Straczynski and Romita Jr.'s response to the horrific events of 9–11...Spider-Man's 9-11 story was a highly charged, beautifully produced tribute to the heroes and victims of the attack."
    24. Richards, Dave (June 9, 2006). "Following in the Footsteps: Romita Talks Eternals". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
    25. MacQuarrie, Jim (August 3, 2007). "CCI XTRA: Spotlight on Neil Gaiman". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
    26. Manning "2000s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 336: "Writer Greg Pak teamed up with legendary artists John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson for the largest crossover event of 2007, World War Hulk."
    27. Ong Pang Kean, Benjamin (September 14, 2006). "John Romita Jr.: Returning to and with the Hulk". Newsarama. Archived from the original on March 20, 2007.
    28. Cowsill "2000s" in Gilbert (2012), p. 314
    29. Weintraub, Steve (2010). "John Romita Jr. Interview: Kick-Ass". Archived from the original on January 19, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
    30. 1 2 Butler, Tom (April 14, 2011). "Kapow! '11: Comic History Rewritten On The IGN Stage". IGN. Archived from the original on January 19, 2014.
    31. "Guinness World Records at Kapow! Comic Con". Guinness World Records. April 9, 2011. Archived from the original on April 15, 2011.
    32. Wright, Eddie (April 26, 2012). "John Romita Jr. to Break Guinness World Record for Heroes for Jordan". MTV. Archived from the original on May 22, 2013.
    33. Johnston, Rich (February 4, 2014). "Scoop: The New Look For John Romita Jr's Superman – And Confirmation That Geoff Johns Will Be Writing It". Bleeding Cool. Archived from the original on February 6, 2014.
    34. McMillan, Graeme (February 4, 2014). "John Romita Jr. Signs with DC for Superman with Geoff Johns". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 6, 2014.
    35. Khouri, Andy (February 4, 2014). "Geoff Johns Returns To Superman In Collaboration With John Romita Jr.". ComicsAlliance. Archived from the original on February 6, 2014.
    36. Gaudette, Emily (August 11, 2016). "In All-Star, Batman Has 'A Target on Him, Nowhere to Go'". Archived from the original on September 18, 2016. DC has just released All-Star Batman, a dark road-trip story in the American midwest. The superhero-horror comic, created by beloved DC heavyweights Scott Snyder and John Romita Jr., is the freshest and scariest Batman story since 1988's The Cult.
    37. Marston, George (March 29, 2016). "Scott Snyder: All-Star Batman Is 'My Long Halloween'". Newsarama. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016.
    38. "Inkpot Award Winners". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012.

    Further reading

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