From the House of Ideas: Remembering John Romita Sr.

Last night, John Romita Jr. shared the sad news that his legendary father, John Romita Sr., had passed away at the age of 93.

John Romita Sr. was, is , and will always be a key piece of not just Marvel Comics history, but the industry as whole. Other websites will have recaps of what made Romita Sr. such a titan of comics, so allow me to share to quick but vivid memories of my own encounters with the man.

The first was in 1987, when Peter Parker and Mary-Jane Watson were tying the knot in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21. John Romita Sr. had illustrated the covers for the issues (one with Peter, one with Spidey), and was visiting Silver Snail in Toronto to sign copies. 10-year old me dragged his mother to the shop and we waited in line to meet Romita Sr. At the time, I didn’t really know who he was and the impact he’d made on comics. All I knew was he had drawn some Spider-Man, who was my favourite character.

As I finally found myself in front John Romita Sr., the older gentleman smiled at me.

“Do you want me to sign it to you?” he asked.

“Yes, please! My name is Andrew,” I responded.

“You know, the value might go down if it has your name,” Romita Sr. informed me with a big grin.

“I could find someone to buy it,” I said, and we both laughed (I think; look, it was nearly 40 years ago.)

Of course, I’d never sell that issue.

Flash-forward to some time in the 2000s. I don’t recall the year, but both John Romita Sr. and Jr. were together for Fan Expo Canada. As it happened, Jr. had become one of my all-time favourite artists, and I was thrilled to be able to meet him for the first time. As they sat together at their autograph table, I remember thinking how cool it was that both a father and son could share their art together.

“You’ve got a very talented son,” I said to John Romita Sr. and he signed a book for me.

Glancing over at the man beside him, the elder Romita smiled. “I sure do.”

Rest in peace, John Romita Sr. Thank you for your work, and your kindness.

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