Marie Severin, a prolific artist and colorist for Marvel Comics and one of the first women to have an influential role in the industry, has died at age 89 following a stroke. The news was announced on Facebook by Severin's friend and fellow Marvel contributor Irene Vartanoff.
Severin first worked at EC Comics in the 1950s before joining Marvel, where she held a variety of roles, including chief colorist. Her art appeared across the company's roster of titles, and she is best known for helping create Spider-Woman in the 1970s, designing the costume for character.
She also contributed to numerous titles in the Marvel pantheon, including The Incredible Hulk, The Sub Mariner, and Doctor Strange. She demonstrated her strengths as a cartoonist as an integral part of the creative team behind Not Brand Echh, a 1967-69 comic that parodied Marvel's heroes.
"She's done everything. She was a colorist, a letterer, a draftsman, an inker, and she was tough," artist/writer Colleen Doran told SYFY WIRE in 2017. "I remember she was really tough on me when I got started... Eventually I won her respect, and that was so important to me, because she was so good, and so underrated for so many years... Marie had all the stuff, she could do anything."
Severin received Comic-Con International's Inkpot Award in 1988 and last year the organization presented her with an Icon Award, a prestigious honor whose other recipients include Jack Kirby, Frank Miller, and Stan Lee. She was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2001.
Marvel released the following statement as a tribute to the artist: "Marie Severin was a pioneer in the comic book industry, and her creativity, artistry, and humor captured the imagination of fans around the world. Her iconic designs and concepts will continue to inspire artists and creators for years to come. The Marvel family mourns her loss, and we send our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones."
Perhaps not a household name today, her influence was nonetheless widespread in the industry. Several creators paid tribute to Severin on social media, including former Marvel editor-in-chief Stan Lee and writer/editor (and Deadpool co-creator) Fabian Nicieza, who tweeted "It was a privilege and honor to work with her. She was funny, tough, always professional, and a fantastic artist."