John Romita is an Italian-American comic-book artist best known for his work on Marvel Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2002.
Romita is the father of John Romita, Jr., also a comic-book artist, and husband of Virginia Romita, for many years Marvel's traffic manager.
Even before his final original DC story was published, Romita had already returned to freelance for what had now become Marvel Comics. After wetting his feet with two 12-page Giant-Man assignments, penciling over Jack Kirby layouts on "The Menace of Madam Macabre" and co-inking (with Chic Stone) over Bob Powell's pencils on "The Mystery of the Hidden Man and his Rays of Doom" in Tales to Astonish 66-67 (April–May 1965). He also inked Kirby's cover and Don Heck's interior pencils on the superhero-team comic The Avengers 23 (Dec. 1965).
Romita directed most of his efforts, however, toward finding advertising storyboard work. He obtained a position at the large ad agency BBDO through his friend Al Normandia, one of the firm's art directors. "They were going to pay me $250 a week. I'd made just over $200 a week with the romance [comics] but only by killing myself" with long hours of work. "It had become very hard for me to come up with new ideas.... So I said, 'If I do any comics ... I'll do inking only...."
Marvel editor Stan Lee, however, had heard of Romita's leaving DC, and asked to see him. At "a three-hour lunch", Romita recalled, Lee promised to match the agency salary if Romita would come work for Marvel, and to give him flexibility to work at home or at the office on any given day at Romita's discretion. And while Romita felt he no longer wanted to pencil, in favor of being solely an inker, Lee soon enticed him otherwise:
I had inked an Avengers job for Stan, and I told him I just wanted to ink. I felt like I was burned out as a penciler after eight years of romance work. I didn't want to pencil any more; in fact, I couldn't work at home any more — I couldn't discipline myself to do it. He said, "Okay," but the first chance he had he shows me this Daredevil story somebody had started and he didn't like it, and he wanted somebody else to do it. "[He] showed me Dick Ayers' splash page for a Daredevil [and] asked me, 'What would you do with this page?' I showed him on a tracing paper what I would do, and then he asked me to do a drawing of Daredevil the way I would do it. I did a big drawing of Daredevil ... just a big, tracing-paper drawing of Daredevil swinging. And Stan loved it."
Romita began a brief stint on Daredevil beginning with issue 12 (Jan. 1966), initially penciling over Jack Kirby's dynamic layouts as a means of learning Marvel's storytelling house style. Sales perked; while the title had a smaller print run than Marvel flagships The Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four, it briefly boasted the company's highest percentage sales. It also proved to be a stepping-stone for Romita's signature, years-long penciling run on The Amazing Spider-Man. "What Stan Lee wanted was for me to do a two-part Daredevil story [issues 16-17, May–June 1966] with Spider-Man as a guest star, to see how I handled the character".