Wednesday, August 11, 2010

John Romita in the 1970s: In the Bullpen, at Home, and with the Spider-Man Family

FOOM #18 (an acronym for Friends Of Ol’ Marvel) featured this nifty cover by John Romita (Sr.) of the Spider-Man cast, standing in front of the Coffee Bean.

FOOM 18 Spider-Man cast cover by John Romita Sr

This illustration captures the classic era of late 60s / early 70s Spider-Man, the era where I first started reading about old web-head.  You have Peter Parker on his tiny little motorcycle, but what really makes him cool are the girls standing next to him.  Mary Jane, wearing a party skirt with those hip little cowboy boots, and Gwen Stacy, looking blonde and 70s chic in her pants suit.  Flash Thompson is dressed up in an Army uniform, having survived the Vietnam War, and Harry Osborne has that swanky little bow-tie.

John Romita Self-Portrait with the Spider-Man cast at Marvel

This issue of FOOM featured an article about Romita’s career up to that point—who knew he would stay on at Marvel for 2 more decades?  Included was the famous self-portrait of Romita sitting at his drawing table, surrounded by Marvel Comics characters.  This image was originally done for a Marvelmania self-portrait portfolio, in color, but I thought this black and white version was interesting as well.

John Romita working in the 1970s era Marvel BullpenJohn Romita kicking it old school in the 70s

The article also included these photographs of Romita working in the Bullpen (very professionally in a nice shirt and tie) and relaxing at home with his guitar.  These images reminded me of various times meeting Romita at conventions, one of the friendliest and nicest artists that I’ve ever had a conversation with. Nuff Said!

Update: Comments from the MT blog...


I love the photo of JR with the electric guitar. Somehow I've never visualised him as the electric guitar type. It just goes to show how wrong you can be about people.
Hey, I have that old issue of FOOM, too! And, despite being holed up in Norway most of my life, I have also had some encounters with THE John Romita (I know there's someone else also using his name): I sent first inking & later coloring samples to Marvel in the mid-70s -- and JR wrote me back very nicely and enclosed both full-art size photostats of various pencil artwork for me to practice on, as well as sheets of vellum to use as overlays when doing the inking. I never got to ink for Marvel, alas (altoughh I did, as you might recall get to color a Red Sonja story) -- but I will always think fondly of JR, for how nicely he treated a youthful, far-away, would-be Marvel artist.


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