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John D'Agostino Sr., Archie comics illustrator, dies

PHILADELPHIA - John D'Agostino Sr., whose work in comic books ranged from Archie and Jughead to the Incredible Hulk and G.I. Joe, among others, has died. He was 81.

D'Agostino died Sunday of bone cancer in Ansonia, Conn., publisher Archie Comics said Tuesday in a statement.

Born in Italy in 1929, D'Agostino emigrated to the United States and got his first job as head colorist at New York City's Timely Comics, the forerunner of Marvel. He worked with Stan Lee, who went on to cocreate numerous memorable superheroes, including Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.

While working at Timely, D'Agostino helped supervise another artist, Stan Goldberg, who later become synonymous with the high school adventures of Archie, Reggie, Veronica and Betty at Riverdale High School.

D'Agostino later joined Goldberg, hired in 1965 by Archie Comics managing editor Richard Goldwater, and began a long career drawing numerous characters until his death, becoming one of the company's most prominent artists.

D'Agostino also drew for "My Little Margie," "G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero," "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" and "Sonic The Hedgehog," among others. D'Agostino also did the letters for the first three issues of Marvel's "The Amazing Spider-Man."

"John was concerned about doing the best job possible. He would always be available to help young artists improve their artwork and draw the Archie cast of characters," Archie co-president and editor-in-chief Victor Gorelick said.

D'Agostino's latest work in comics is scheduled to be published in the December issue of "Jughead Double Digest 166" and several of his covers will be seen through 2011.

D'Agostino is survived by his second wife, Vivi Test D'Agostino; three sons; two sisters; four grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. His funeral is scheduled Thursday.

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