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John Romita Jr. brought gritty, New York style to “Kick-Ass”

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm •  Published: August 6, 2010
John Romita Jr., left, with Mark Millar
John Romita Jr., left, with Mark Millar

Known for his gritty, street-level artistic characterizations of Marvel Comics characters such as Daredevil, John Romita Jr. brings the same touch — grounded in a real-world sensibility — to “Kick-Ass,” a comic book series featuring a teen with no superpowers who decides to put on a suit and combat crime.

The comic-book series was adapted to a film by Matthew Vaughn (“Stardust”), which is out on DVD this week. Romita drew the comic-book series, which was written by Mark Millar (“Civil War,” “Wanted”). The pair previously worked together on “Wolverine,” on a storyline called “Enemy of the State.” The way Romita tells a story is what led Millar to choose to create this particular story with him, Romita said in an interview with The Oklahoman.

John Romita Jr.
John Romita Jr.

“(Millar) calls me ‘Martin Scorsese of comics,’” Romita said. “It’s a true compliment because he thinks I have a gritty nature to my storytelling. … He knew that this series was going to be based in New York, and immediately that’s where one of the connections came from.”

Romita said having one of his creations turned into a film is a great testament to the hard work it took to bring the project to life. And while he finds it very gratifying on a personal level for his creator-owned project to have seen such success, he also still enjoys working on the classic Marvel Comics characters. Romita has worked primarily for Marvel since breaking into the industry in the late 1970s, and his father, John Romita Sr., was one of the architects of the Marvel Universe in the 1960s.

“I’m of a generation where I worked with Stan Lee, occasionally, and I did work while Jack Kirby’s work was being published, and my father’s work, and John Buscema,” Romita said. “So, to work on characters that Stan Lee did with my father and Jack Kirby, I still get a thrill out of doing characters that were created by those guys.”

Presently, Romita is the artist for Marvel Comics’ “The Avengers,” featuring Thor, Captain America and Iron Man. And he’s also working on “Kick-Ass 2.” Despite the success of the first series, Romita said he didn’t feel any particular pressure when beginning work on the sequel, which he said likely will be adapted into a sequel film, as well.

“The only scary part of this is to make it a better quality story,” Romita said.

“Whereas people would be intimidated by doing a second arc where people are going to be paying attention to you, I embrace the extra scrutiny; I really do. So, I’m looking forward to it.”

- By Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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