Suspended Animation Review: The Art of John Romita, published by Marvel Comics, hardback, 96 pages, $34.95.

As a fan of comics, and a student of the history of the medium, books about it's creators are always a draw for me. Additionally, I believe the argument can be made that they can hold great interest for any pop culture enthusiast. With that in mind, let me introduce you to The Art of John Romita.

If you've read few comics in your life, you're probably clueless as to Romita's identity. John Romita is one of the most influential artists whose work ever graced a comics page.

Taking over The Amazing Spider-Man from the character's co-creator and original artist, Steve Ditko in 1966, Romita quickly infused the title with his own charming, "clean-cut" style. In his stride on the title, he gave Spider-Man, as well as his alter-ego, Peter Parker, what some fans still consider the classic look of the character.

Romita has accomplished a great deal more, however, than his landmark work on one of Marvel's most well-known and beloved titles. His influence was felt as far back as the Golden Age of comics, and is still being felt today. Having put his artistic mark on suspense, sci-fi, crime, western and romance tales, this publication, which is basically a book-length interview with Romita, himself, maps out that impressive

Probably one of the most interesting things about Romita brought to light by the book is his humility. Here is a man who literally helped shape superhero comics, yet has not become conceited or high-minded. After decades in the business, he is still sometimes hesitant and doubtful in his own incredible ability.

This reviewer, however, is not. Nor am I doubtful that readers will enjoy this informative work, which also happens to be chock-full of wonderful artwork, and even contains Romita's favorite Spider-Man story that he and Stan Lee ever produced. It is highly recommended.

Find The Art of John Romita at comics shops, online retailers and online auctions. Mark Allen

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