Romita is here! After two decades, legendary artist John Romita, Jr. enters the DC Universe and takes on the Man of Steel, alongside superstar writer Geoff Johns, beginning with SUPERMAN #32! In a special interview, the award-winning artist dishes on Geoff Johns, Superman, and Chemistry!
On the Pressure of Working at DC
Before I started, I was wondering how it was going to be: would it be traumatic, would I break out into hives. But the only thing is a certain amount of pressure I put on myself. That's the way I always do things. I suppose the best way to keep you on your toes is to keep yourself under pressure. I embrace it because if you get lazy or you get apathetic then the work is going to suffer—and I'm not good enough to allow that to happen. So, the pressure allows me to be conscious of it and work harder at it. It keeps you sharp. It keeps you focused. The trick is to not let it give you ulcers or hives or more gray hairs than you already have.
On Keeping Up with Internet Chatter
There's an actor, Bradley Cooper, and he Googles himself not for the sake of hearing how good he is but to listen and read from his detractors. It keeps him from getting to full of himself. Without me knowing that was what I was doing, I was always doing that. I was reading about the people that didn't like my work and I was paying attention to it. It's nice to receive compliments, but I have to look to see what people are saying. It keeps me level-headed. Of course, just by having the last name Romita, you have to have no ego. That's part of our family. I have a big brother, I have a father, and I have an uncle and a lot of friends who will not allow that. [Laughs]
On working with Geoff Johns
I think it's important to have the humanity of [Superman]. Interestingly enough, he's an alien, but we have to make him human. He has to lose. I knew that going in. When I found there was a chance I would be working with [Geoff], I started reading up and was very, very happy. He's such a great guy. To see the quality of his dialogue and the quality of his stories, I was more than excited.
On Working on Superman
The size [and scope] of the character—to be able to have him doing amazing things, gigantic things, lifting certain things, beating up certain things. There's that larger-than-life image. There's a strength and weight that only comes with a character like this. The fun part is the characters in the Daily Planet—having them running around and talking with each other. Sometimes that's more vital than the smashing and the pounding. You have to embrace [both]. You have to be able to act in Shakespearean plays and Sylvester Stallone movies. You have to be able to do both. [Laughs]
On the Legacy of Superman
I look at the guys who've come before me and it's beautiful work and I got to make sure I'm on par with that. But it's interesting. I realize, "Oh my god, this character's been around since the 1930s. It's Superman! 1938! It's the oldest superhero in existence." So, it's like, if you close your eyes, you get intimidated. But, as soon as the mortgage invoice comes in the mail, I suddenly have such urge to work faster.
On Future DC Characters He'd Like to Work On
Batman because of the visual image of Batman. Many, many artists want to work on Batman. There's something about it. The first [comic book I ever saw] was probably Metal Men. I would love to try that. There's something about those characters. I remember going into Chemistry class and remembering the elements because I remember reading the Metal Men as a kid. Of course, explaining to my Chemistry teacher, "I know this because of the Metal Men," he did not laugh. He looked upon me with a blank stare. [Laughs]