Will Eisner Comics Hall of Fame member and co-creator of Spider-Woman Marie Severin has passed away at the age of 89.

Severin passed away Thursday evening, August 29, 2018. Her passing was announced by Irene Vartanoff who was her caretaker.

“I’m very sorry to report that Marie Severin, the funniest and nicest woman in the comic book biz ever, is no more.”

Marie Severin broke into the comic book industry when her brother John Severin needed a colorist for one of his books at EC Comics. Her earliest recorded work was the  in Modern Love #2 in a story called “I Craved Excitement” back in August and September of 1949.

In an interview with Sequential Tart, Severin discussed how and why she broke into the industry:

“Money. My brother was in comics and he needed a colorist, and I was working on Wall Street. I didn’t know what I wanted to do — I was going to go to art school, and then I wasn’t going to go, and then this and that. I became a colorist at EC and I discovered that I was in it and storytelling and it was fun.”

She went on to describe her work at EC:

“Yes, for all the war books at EC with [Harvey] Kurtzman. I went on to color all their books, they were happy with it, and I learned a lot about production color and how everything worked. They were a wonderful crew because they were all excellent at what they did.”

She even explained her process back then:

“I believe the color chart for the printed pages had a range of up to 48 colors. I had the full range; I would mix colors — golds, greens, blues, and so on — and you would intensify them so that the separators could see the difference. They never printed quite as vivid, because remember in those days the paper was almost a tan to begin with, and if it wasn’t, it would turn so in about six months. Any way, the whole process was very primitive. That’s why the artwork looked that way, because it had to be thick and thin, easy to print on cheap paper, and colorwise, too, so it was a cheap medium, a ten cent item, and you made the best of it with what you had.

What they liked is that I really studied which colors looked best and sharper next to one another, the subtleties of it. I would also proofread the colors. They would send a “flat” they called it, of the books, the whole book, and you would check that the color was in the line, that they interpreted it correctly.”

Severin would eventually begin working for Marvel Comics and landed an illustration position after working on an illustration for an Esquire story about the college drug culture. Stan Lee would give her duties on Strange Tales working on Doctor Strange and eventually co-create the Living Tribunal.

Severin would go on to become Marvel’s head colorist only giving up her duties in 1972 to focus on penciling. She would go on to work on Namor, Conan the Barbarian, Kull the Conqueror, The Cat, and Daredevil.

Severin would continue working with Marvel co-creating iconic characters like Spider-Woman and Howard the Duck villain Doctor Bong.

In the 1980s she would work on Marvel’ Special Projects division where she handled non-comic book licensing like Fraggle Rock and Muppet Babies. She would work with cartoonist Nate Butler on Marvel’s Star Comics imprint to create Muppet coloring books and Crocodile Kermie comics.

Severin would retire in the mid 2000s, but not before winning both the Harvey and Eisner awards for her work on coloring B. Krigstein. She would also win the Shazam Award in 1974 for Best Penciller. She would win an Inkpot Award at San Diego Comic-Con in 1988 and was abducted into the Will Eisner Comics Hall of Fame in 2001. Just last year she received Comic-Con International’s Icon Award in 2017.

A number of comic book professionals remembered and honored Severin.

Marie Severin will definitely be missed, but her impact on the comic book industry will always stand!

  • About The Author

    John F. Trent
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief

    John is the Editor-in-Chief here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.