Comic Legends: Did John Romita Nearly Draw Wonder Woman in the 1950s?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and seventy-eighth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

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Mike Esposito asked John Romita to provide faces for Esposito's classic Wonder Woman run with artist Ross Andru.



Despite H.G. Peter being the regular Wonder Woman artist right from the get go, by the time that the 1950s began, it was clear that DC Comics was less than thrilled with the artist. He was replaced as the cover artist on the series with 1950's Wonder Woman #39...

The rest of the decade was his longtime editor (and co-creator on the series) Robert Kanigher trying to cajole him into doing a better job on the series or to just retire (remember, Peter was already in his 60s when he STARTED on the series in the early 1940s). Finally, Kanigher got him to agree to retire at the end of 1957 in exchange for a small pension (Peter was now in his late 70s. He died less than a year after he retired).

Ross Andru and Mike Esposito were tapped to be the new art team and they took over for a very long run beginning with Wonder Woman #98....

Andru, though, was very scared about the new assignment. He felt that he was not going to be able to draw a good looking Wonder Woman. Andru didn't feel as though he was good at drawing pretty faces. He was so freaked out about it that his longtime collaborator, Mike Esposito, actually contacted an artist at DC Comics who was known for how good he was at drawing pretty faces on women, John Romita!

Romita had only recently moved to DC Comics from Marvel Comics (or whatever it was called at the time - Atlas Comics, I guess) to do romance comics and, of course, everyone knows John Romita draws some of the most beautiful female faces in the industry...

Since he was still fairly new at DC, Romita and Esposito weren't really all that close, but Esposito (as he told Jim Amash in Alter Ego #54 in a brilliant interview before Esposito's passing) called him up and asked Romita if he would be willing to draw the faces for Wonder Woman for their new run.

Romita, though, was not interested. He drew so relatively slowly (as compared to some other artists) that he did not feel like he had the time to add on another assignment on top of his regular work. Esposito also got the impression that Romita was a bit wary of his own work, as well, just like Andru.

So Andru had to do the faces himself and, well, come on, it certainly worked out for the best for him as his run on Wonder Woman was awesome.

Here's a Wonder Woman sketch Romita did for a charity auction back in 2006...

Imagine how things would have been different had Romita gone along with the plan? Maybe he ends up as the Wonder Woman regular artist? Maybe he doesn't move to Marvel at all! Wow, talk about a historic change!

Thanks to Jim Amash and Mike Esposito for the great information!

Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed - Was an episode of Wonder Woman set at a convention not allowed to use Superman costumes?

OK, that's it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week's covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I don't even actually use on the CBR editions of this column, but I do use them when I collect them all on legendsrevealed.com!

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