Artist Marie Severin has passed away at the age of 89. She died of a stroke on August 29, 2018. This wasn’t her first stroke; she had had one previously in 2007.
Born August 21, 1929 in New York, she was the younger sister of artist John Severin, and the aunt of artist John Severin, Jr., producer Ruth Larenas, and four other nieces and nephews. She and her brother both were inducted into the Will Eisner Comics Hall of Fame, she in 2001, he in 2003.
Clifford Meth, writing for Comics Bulletin called her “The First Lady of Comics,” and most of her fans and co-workers agreed with that epithet.
Irene Vartanoff, her friend and fellow Marvel staffer, announced the sad news on her Facebook page.
“I’m very sorry to report that Marie Severin, the funniest and nicest woman in the comic book biz ever, is no more. Here’s a pic from happier days only a few years ago. I would have cropped myself out of this photo, but notice where Marie’s left hand is. Incorrigible!”
Marie Severin’s Colleagues and Fans Remember Her Fondly
“Calling Marie the best woman artist in the business is an injustice. Marie was one of the best artists in the business, period.”Stan Lee
“Marie Severin is a triple threat. She can color, she can draw super-heroes, and she’s all but incomparable at humor. She is, quite possibly, one of the most underrated people in the history of comics-but not by those who know and have worked with her!”Roy Thomas
“Marie and I have worked together on perhaps half a dozen occasions and every day that we’ve been in touch has held cupped in its flower a little more sunshine than all the days on either side. To be specific, I adore Marie Severin.”Harlan Ellison
“If you read any comics between 1950 and 2005, you probably read something that was touched in some way by Marie Severin.”John Parker
“Marie Severin has mastered every skill connected with comics as no one—-man or woman—-has. I was lucky enough to have worked with her for many years at Marvel Comics… Her EC years speak for themselves. She could do humor better than most; did powerful pencils from plots; inked and colored stories and countless covers with personality and clarity, as well as any colleague I ever worked with.”Johnny Romita
My esteemed colleague, Thaddeus Howse, had this to say about Marie Severin and her most famous creation.
“I don’t know much about Marie Severin, personally, but I know Spider-Woman was a turning point for me as a reader regarding women and superheroes in Marvel Comics. Spider-Woman was one of the first of a new rank of empowered and dynamic female characters back in the mid- seventies. She was created by Archie Goodwin and Marie Severin. Spider-Woman appeared in 1977 and Ms. Marvel got her second comic series around that time… I think Spider-Woman (and her creator Marie Severin) deserve some credit for jumpstarting more active and dynamic participation of women characters in the Marvel Universe… Her distinctive and dynamic costumes was one of the first which didn’t depend on showing flesh to get attention.”
Marie Severin, 1929 – 2018
Marie Severin started her comic book career during the Golden Age of Comics, working as a colorist with her brother John at EC Comics. She worked briefly for Atlas Comics, but she is best known for her work at Marvel Comics. For over three decades, she was a colorist, a penciler, and inker, and occasionally a letterer. She was head colorist for Marvel in the 1970s. She provided the art for the Spider-Man and the Hulk toilet paper in the late ’70s. She later worked on the Marvel’s Special Projects division, Marvel Books imprint of children’s coloring books, and the Star Comics imprint for younger readers. She was also famous for her work on Crazy Magazine and Not Brand Echh.
Marie Severin won the Best Penciler (Humor Division) Shazam Award in 1974. She won an Inkpot Award in 1988. She was inducted into the Will Eisner Comics Hall of Fame in 2001. Comics Alliance named her one of a dozen women worthy of a lifetime achievement award, pointing out “who for a time was probably the woman in mainstream comics.” She was awarded the Icon Award in 2017. She also inspired a generation of comic book fans, some who grew up to write and draw comic books, some who grew up to write for SCIFI.radio.
Rest in peace, Marie Severin. You’ll not be forgotten.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.