scottedelman (scottedelman) wrote,

Happy 53rd Birthday, John Romita, Jr.!

Happy birthday, John!

If I am remembered for nothing else from my relatively few years working in comics, it will likely be for having scripted your debut story. The six-page tale, "Chaos at the Coffee Bean," appeared as a back-up in 1977's Amazing Spider-Man Annual #11.

Here's the splash page (click to view at a larger size):

Amazingly, up until the future star received this assignment, he was being discriminated against. No one would give him a shot because his Dad was Marvel Art Director and Spider-Man artist supreme John Romita (who had no need yet to be identified by a Sr. after his name). No one wanted to be seen as rewarding John, Jr. on the basis of his family connection alone.

I thought that was a stupid idea. Talent should out, and as I said at the time, the only thing worse than nepotism is anti-nepotism—not giving a shot to some who would otherwise have deserved it.

And it's a good thing I decided John, Jr. was the right man for the job! Since he's grown into such a comic-book titan, "Chaos at the Coffee Bean" has become an important historical artifact, and has been reprinted so many times (because Marvel pays its artists and writers reprint fees) that the story has become the gift that keeps on giving.

Here we are 31 years later, when we ran into each other again at 2008's San Diego Comic-Con International:

So happy birthday, John. And thanks for the royalties—and for making me seem like such a good judge of talent!
Tags: birthdays, comics

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