Evolution Comics has one panel of uncredited John Romita, Sr. pencils. I think it's about time the story was told.
"Romita's Raiders" was a sort of apprenticeship set up by John Romita, Sr. when he ran Marvel Comics' production department. John didn't mind if the artists used down time to work on their own projects as long as they put those projects aside when Marvel work came in. He knew it was good practice for the artists and wanted to see them be successful in their careers. That is one of the many reasons people say such wonderful things about the Romita's Raiders program and about John Romita, Sr.
Long-time inker Rick Bryant had recommended that Mercy Van Vlack and I, the editors and publishers of Evolution Comics, look at the portfolio of Vince Mielcarek, one of Romita's Raiders. It was the most imaginative of all the portfolios we'd seen. We knew he'd be an excellent artist for Margie Spears' Beleagean Days and all the alien species appearing in the series. What we didn't know is how well Margie and Vince would mesh.
Before any stories were drawn, we had all the writers describe all the characters in their series to the artists. The artist would do the actual design and that would go back to the creator (writer) for comment. Jim Fletcher and Alexei Kondratiev meshed pretty well on Vidorix the Druid, but it was as if Margie and Vince were in one another's minds. All during the run, one would suggest a direction they'd like the next issue to go in and the other would make the same suggestion within a week. It was an editor's dream. And I knew enough to stay out of their way and let them create.
Dangerous Times #1 was Vince's first published comic book. He did some of the pencilling at home and some of it in the Marvel bullpen. At one point, Vince was pencilling a 3/4 angle bird's-eye view establishing shot and having some difficulty with it. John looked over Vince's shoulder and said, "I know what you're trying to do" and took the pencil out of Vince's hand and showed him how to draw the shot by correcting it for him. Naturally, Vince did not erase John's pencils and his art education was now one more step further on.
Vince was always drawing, always practicing, always learning and found he could learn from any of the Raiders, but having John Romita looking over his shoulder every once in a while was something he always treasured.
Vince Mielcarek drew six stories for Evolution Comics, two for Dark Horse and several for Marvel. He passed away in his sleep Saturday night/Sunday morning September 13, 1992 of "unknown causes." In Monday's mail was a contract from Harris Comics to be the regular artist for Vampirella. He was 28.
John Romita said, "Not all well-trained artists will make it in comics. Just the ones who feel and care the most. Vince was one of them." 'Nuff said!
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