RIP John Romita. 1930-2023. I can't imagine growing up without John Romita's Spider-Man. It meant so much to me. An absolute legend has left us. Thinking back to when I first discovered American comics, there were three of us at Junior school who decided to adopt our own secret identities. We each made a costume to wear beneath our school uniforms. Unfortunately, lycra or spandex were not an option, and mine was made of rather itchy wool. It’s a wonder we didn’t all pass out in the blazing heat of summer, but I got my special moment as I was leaving school one afternoon. A girl in my class (who knew my secret) said to her mother who was waiting beside the school gates, ‘Look, Mum... look at this boy’s secret identity!’ and forced me to pull back my school shirt and tie to reveal a rather pathetic home-made attempt at a Spider-Man costume.
Another classic nostalgia trip through the Cook-verse, Steve, but on an especially sad occasion. Like Kirby, I came to appreciate John Romita Sr.'s work when I was in my late teens, when I began to look past the surface flash of artists (I won't name them) to the bones of the work below – the impeccable, unforced craftsmanship, draughtsmanship (apologies for the non-gender-neutral terminology) and storytelling.
And he was, in the truest sense and as many have remarked, a genuine gentleman. In the mid-1990s, long-time friend and colleague Richard Ashford (then a Marvel editor) spent a fascinating and lovely afternoon with John and his wife Virginia interviewing the legend for the Art of John Romita (pub. 1996). A day to treasure.
Sometimes it's great to meet your idols! Cheers for sharing your memories.