15 WTF Things That Happened Behind The Scenes Marvel

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One of the earliest Marvel Comics artists still around today is John Romita Sr. Romita was Marvel’s long-time Art Director and famously was adept at doing pretty much whatever you needed to have done on a comic book page, whether it be penciling, inking or doing corrections on someone else’s work. He’s best known, though, for re-defining Spider-Man’s look after Spider-Man’s creator, Steve Ditko, left Marvel.

When Romita made his debut at Marvel in 1951 (when the company was called Atlas Comics), it was as an inker… but a fake inker! You see, there was an artist working for Marvel called Lester Zakarin who didn’t actually pencil his comics. He had other artists do it and then he would ink them. So he hired Romita as his ghost artist so Marvel would think the art was penciled by Zakarin and inked by Romita when it was the other way around. When Romita and Zakarin split, Romita told Stan Lee the truth and Romita was soon a regular Marvel penciler throughout the rest of the 1950s.


Goodman owning his own distribution company was a major boon to Marvel in 1954 when the comic book industry suffered dramatically from the bad publicity over a Senate subcommittee that investigated whether the content of comic books were leading to juvenile delinquency in the country. When the dust settled, a bunch of comic book companies went out of business, but Marvel was in better shape since they distributed their own comic books.

However, once they weathered the initial storm, Goodman had to deal with the overall slumping sales of the next couple of years. So in 1956, Goodman decided it made more sense financially to distribute their books through the largest distributer, American News Company. Then the next year American News Company went out of business due to various lawsuits against it. Marvel was without a distributor for their comics, so they had to turn to DC Comics, who owned their own distributor, and they agreed to take Marvel on, keeping the company afloat, but they would only publish 8-12 Marvel Comics a month, down from about 40. Lots of artists lost their jobs, but the company at least stayed in business.

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