So Sayeth the Odinson: The Odinson’s Top 10 Covers by John Romita, Jr.

Greetings from the Odinson,

John Romita, Jr. is one of the most prolific and talented artists to bring our heroes to life with pencil and paper.  That should come as no real surprise since his father is none other than John Romita, a legendary artist that helped usher in the Marvel Age of Comics.  However, make no mistake, this isn’t nepotism at work here.  No, Romita, Jr. is a workhorse and has earned his rank amongst the best artists that have ever worked in the medium.

For forty years he has banged out quite an impressive bibliography and had some really stellar runs on some of the highest profile titles the industry has to offer.  He is probably best known for his long runs on Spider-Man and is easily in the Top 5 best Spidey artists of All-Time.  Come to think of it, he may be the artist that has drawn more Spidey comics than anybody.  I’m not 100% sure on that (Mark Bagley might have a case), but if I were a betting man, JRJR would be my bet.  He has drawn some of the Odinson’s All-Time favorite Spidey issues Amazing Spider-Man #212, featuring the first appearance of Hydro-Man and Amazing Spider-Man #229-230 featuring that unforgettable showdown with the unstoppable Juggernaut!

From Daredevil to Thor, Iron Man to X-Men, and Black Panther to Wolverine, Romita has touched every corner of the Marvel Universe.  He has even brought his particular magic to lesser known properties like Dazzler, Star Brand, and the Eternals.  Not to be pinned down to just one company, JRJR, alongside writer Mark Millar created the cult classic Kick-Ass franchise.  And, in recent years, he did something longtime comic fans have been waiting for a very long time, he jumped over and played in the DC Universe toy box where his distinct style could finally be seen used on icons like Superman and Batman.

There is no doubt John Romita, Jr. is a first ballot Hall of Famer.  He has drawn some of the Odinson’s All-Time favorite comics, and he is, without a doubt, one of the best comic book cover artists ever.

The Odinson’s Top 10 Covers by John Romita, Jr.   

10 – Superman #33 – The first two entries on this list are from recent years when Romita dipped his toes into DC waters.  Here, Romita is showing the strength of our hero and though his powerful frame is cast in shadow that iconic S-shield is vibrant.  Plus, the man of Tomorrow’s glowing eyes suggest to the bad guys, and the readers, that playtime is over.  This image is very striking and very reminiscent of Frank Miller’s work on the Man of Steel in the pages of The Dark Knight Returns.

9 – All-Star Batman #2B – This is one of those very special covers that tells a story.  In fact, the heart of the entire 5-part My Own Worst Enemy storyline is captured in this single moment.  An army of criminals, villains, and corrupt cops want Harvey Two-Face dead and the Caped Crusader is determined to save his enemy/friend’s life whether he wants it or not.  From the two being chained together at the wrist to Two-Face’s struggle to the battle damage our hero has already sustained in this harrowing endeavor to the sheer look of determination on the face of arguably the most determined man in comics, this is an amazing cover.

8 – Amazing Spider-Man #236 – This is an issue that holds a very special place in my heart.  My 2nd grade teacher took this issue away from me because I kept reading it in class.  She never gave it back. I have been a fan of horror films for as long as I can remember and I especially love the old Universal Monster Movies.  The previous issues leading up to this one detail the tragic fall of Tarantula, a Spidey villain originally introduced way back in Amazing Spider-Man #134.  This image shows the tragic end to his story as he has now been transformed into a true monster.  It’s a powerful image.

7 – Daredevil #253 – Speaking of powerful images, if looks could kill…  At this point in the Daredevil mythos, Wilson Fisk knows the true identity of his most hated enemy.  This one look from the Kingpin of Crime and the way he is clutching DD’s mask with such menace lets the audience know that he has terrible things in mind for our hero.  Romita’s pencils, along with the inks and the colors, with the use of shadow and light, produce one the most memorable Daredevil covers of the 1980s.

6 – Thor #21 – The Mighty Thor is without a doubt one of the strongest super heroes in all of comics.  He makes a living facing down the unimaginable.  It’s hard to believe that there’s anything a hero this mighty cannot handle.  He has fought the Hulk and Juggernaut and even faced down titans like Galactus and the Celestials, but with one single image, Romita raises the stakes.  Mangog is a monstrous beast with the burning strength of a million-million souls fueling his rage, and he is one of very few opponents whom the god of thunder has never truly defeated one-on-one.  As if that were not enough, Mangog is joined by the Mad Titan, a villain so diabolically evil that he once murdered half the population in the universe with but a snap of his fingers.  This powerful image of these two Big Bads teaming up signals to the readers to strap in because this is going to be a bumpy ride.

5 – Uncanny X-Men #191 – This is just one of those covers where the instant you see it, you know you are going to buy it.  Seeing two of the Avengers and X-Men’s biggest heavyweights square off with all their friends watching on is just the kind of collision a young Odinson had to see for himself.

4 – Daredevil #276 – Yet another very powerful image from the amazing catalogue of JRJR.  Everyone that reads Marvel Comics knows just how dangerous an adversary like Ultron can be.  It takes entire teams of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to take him down and even then sometimes they need help.  Daredevil is a street level hero.  Sure he’s one of the world’s premiere super fighters but what good is kung fu against an opponent like Ultron?  This cover shows our battle-weary hero in the aftermath of what must have been an epic showdown and the image compels the reader to seek out how Murdock scored this impossible win.

3 – Punisher/Batman: Deadly KnightsClowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you…  There cannot be two vigilantes in comics with more in common and less in common than Batman and the Punisher, and here they are, face-to-face ready to tear each other apart as the Clown Prince of Crime cheers them on.  If this image doesn’t make you want to pick this issue up and see what happens next then nothing will.

2 – Uncanny X-Men #202 – Sentinels are arguably the poster boys for humanity’s fear of mutants.  They are monstrous murder machines created for one purpose, to hunt down and kill mutants.  Romita captures that idea perfectly in this snap shot which shows the sheer size of these mechanical monsters and the struggle and challenge they pose for our mutant heroes.  This is one of the best covers featuring Sentinels in Marvel History.

1 – Amazing Spider-Man #238 – Now this is how you make an entrance!  At this point in history, Spider-Man’s greatest foe, the Green Goblin, has been dead for years.  With one image, Romita introduces the world to the arch villain’s heir apparent – the Hobgoblin.  He is menacing, mysterious, and the image of him tearing Spidey’s costume in half shows he is not going to let anything stand in his way.  This cover has a very “Here’s Johnny!” Jack Torrance scene from The Shining to it.  It’s an amazing cover for an amazing issue.

Some artists are just born to draw certain characters.  Walt Simonson was born to draw Thor.  Art Adams was born to draw Wolverine.  And, John Romita, Jr. was born to draw Spider-Man.  But, Romita seemingly was born to also give us some of THE best Juggernaut covers of All-Time.

Bonus Round: John Romita, Jr. Draws the Juggernaut!

Uncanny X-Men #183 and 194

Amazing Spider-Man #229-230

Spider-Man #84

Thor #17

This is a guy that clearly knows how to render an eye-catching cover.  He is prolific.  Extremely talented.  He’s a Legacy.  And, he’s one of the All-Time greats of the industry.  John Romita, Jr.

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell

About Odinson

I am a lifelong comics fan and pop culture enthusiast. Comic books, novels, games, television, movies, I love it all. From fantasy to science fiction, drama to comedy, as long as the writing and execution are interesting, I love it, and I want to talk about it.

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