Official Press Release
Baltimore, MD â€“ George Prez, fan favorite artist who has drawn just about every super-hero ever created, and John Romita Sr., whose dashing linework helped define the Marvel style and helped make Spider-Man a pop culture icon, were the first two recipients of the Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award, given at this year's Harvey Awards.
The honors are the first in what will be a long line of recipients in years to come, as each year's recipients are charged with the task of selecting the following year's winner.
"When I receive this level of recognition, it makes the sacrifices made in all those years worthwhile," Romita said. "I lost a lot of sleep on deadlines, but this makes me feel wide awake and refreshed!"
Prez joined Romita in thanking The Hero Initiative for the honor.
" I must admit that I thought I'd be at least a decade older before receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award, but since I always feel decades younger because I draw comics, the actual years lived are irrelevant," P rez said. "It's the great joy and satisfaction those years have provided that makes it all a great achievement worth celebrating. I am humbled and flattered that so many felt the same way."
The award was created in part to recognize legends in the industry, but also to remind people about the mission of the Hero Initiative, which provides assistance to creators in need.
"The people who receive this award, including this year's honorees, are people who helped build this industry," said Jim McLauchlin, president of The Hero Initiative. "And while George and John aren't retired just yet, there are some folks who aren't fortunate enough to be able to work in the industry anymore, and who didn't receive royalties or pensions from the days they spent building a foundation for the industry. So, this is a way of doing two of the things that we like most â€“ tipping our hats to some folks whose work we have enjoyed, and reminding people that there are others out there who deserve a helping hand."
And of course, there are this year's recipients:
George Prez is arguably one of the most popular and influential artists in American comic books in the 1980s. He is known for his clean, dynamic, yet ornate style, with a strong emphasis on group superhero action scenes. Prez came to prominence when he started illustrating The Avengers for Marvel Comics, starting with vol. 1 #141. In the 1970s, Prez illustrated several other Marvel books, including Fantastic Four.
Prez soon moved over to work for DC Comics. Following a popular stint on Justice League of America, Prez's career took off with the launch of DC's very successful title, The New Teen Titans. Prez followed this with DC's 50th-anniversary event, Crisis on Infinite Earths, which purportedly featured every single character DC owned in a story which radically restructured the DC universe's continuity. Since then, he has drawn just about every character and every genre in comics, and continues breaking new ground as an influential and sought-after talent.
John Romita, Sr. graduated from the School of Industrial Art in 1947. He broke into comics on the seminal series Famous Funnies. Romita was working at New York City company called Forbes Lithograph in 1949, earning $30 a week, when a friend from art school whom he ran into on a subway train offered him $20 a page to pencil a 10-page story for him as uncredited ghost artist. The friend worked for Marvel's 1940s forerunner, Timely Comics, which helped give Romita an opportunity to meet editor-in-chief and art director Stan Lee.
At Marvel, Romita returned to superhero penciling after a decade working exclusively as a romance-comic artist for DC. He felt at the time that he no longer wanted to pencil, in favor of being solely an inker. Romita began a brief stint on Daredevil beginning with issue #12. It proved to be a stepping-stone for his famed, years-long pencilling run on The Amazing Spider-Man. Romita was later promoted to art director for Marvel, where he played a major role in defining the look of Marvel Comics and in designing new characters.