Look up on the cover, it’s a bird, it’s a plane… it’s John Romita Jr.
The comic book artist upended the industry’s status quo in a single bound when he leaped from Marvel, where he’s been entrenched since 1977 and his father John Sr. was an early legend, to rival DC Comics last year.
It was like seeing Harrison Ford beaming aboard the Enterprise.
But the first results of that career-move have just hit the shelves — the second issue of his run on “Superman” with Geoff Johns goes on sale this Wednesday — and Romita is still shocked he’s traded Spider-Man for the Man of Steel.
“I second guess myself after making a left turn in a car, so I’m not positive about what I’m doing all the time,” Romita, 57, told the News. “But I did know that I had no regrets because I had been with (Marvel) so long I’ve done everything I wanted to do.”
Fresh off the success of his creator co-owned “Kick-Ass” series, Romita says he “just wanted to try something new.”
The tumblers started falling into place almost exactly a year ago when Romita at San Diego Comic Con fielded a breakfast invitation from DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio.
Like many artists in the business, he was intrigued by the idea of drawing the visually arresting Batman.
The Dark Knight’s Justice League teammate Superman, however, was another matter. Romita always saw DC’s most famous hero as “too perfect and too strong” for his tastes. But as the breakfast conversation progressed, DiDio started to convince him otherwise.
“They’ve remade him into a human alien so to speak,” explains Romita.
That and the chance to work with Johns, DC’s most popular writer, sealed the deal months later.
By his own admission, the New York born artist has struggled a little adapting to the character, but has grown more comfortable with three issues under his belt. He plastered the wall of his Long Island office with references of all things Superman.
“I’m still struggling on some of the faces of some of the guys,” says Romita. “Still go back and adjust hairlines and jawlines. That’s fine, it keeps you on your toes.”
And he’s as proud of the work as anything he’s done over a four-decade career that’s included runs on “The Uncanny X-Men,” “Iron Man” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
Romita calls Ulysses, the empathetic new villain at the heart of his first “Superman” arc with Johns, “the best character that’s been created in 30 years of comics.
“How’s that for a tease,” he says, laughing.