Remembering Ramona Fradon

Ramona Fradon

DC lost a longtime member of its creative family in February with the passing of trailblazing artist Ramona Fradon. A defining Aquaman artist of the Silver Age and the co-creator of characters including Aqualad and Metamorpho, Ramona remained a vibrant part of the comic book community until shortly before her death. All of us at DC mourn her passing, as we celebrate all that was wonderful about Ramona and her work.


1926 – 2024


Ramona’s body of work entertained generations of comics fans who grew up on her artistry on The Brave and the Bold, Aquaman, Super Friends, and more. Not only did she co-create Aqualad—she also brought into this sad, gray world arguably one of the most colorful, odd, and powerful superheroes in the DC Universe in Metamorpho—a character who always freaked me out when I was a young kid reading DC Comics!

Even after recently retiring this year at the sage age of 97, Ramona’s passion for comics never waned, as her presence was a highlight at many comic cons.

Ramona’s legacy is one of creativity, dedication, and timeless characters. Rest in power, Ramona. Your work, creations, and influence will live on!



For years, my original-art white whale was a Brenda Starr sketch by Ramona Fradon. When she tabled at Baltimore Comic-Con, I’d stop by looking for a Brenda, but Wonder Woman, Mera, and Metamorpho sold better, so Ramona drew more of those and I always seemed to miss the few Brenda sketches she’d bring along on her train journey down from New York. And my personal pandemic experience was tied to “Maybe next year the pandemic will be over and Ramona will be back at Baltimore, and I can finally get my Brenda Starr.” The pandemic years dragged on, and Ramona never did make it back to Baltimore. But I treasure the times I saw her there, as I was inspired by a 90-some-year-old artist still holding her own in Artists’ Alley. She drew Aquaman comics for a long time in her younger years, and Brenda Starr for even longer, but to me and my staff, she was a kind and clever elder statesperson who always had a friendly word for us. We are all gutted to lose her, but we are thankful for the time and work she gave to us.



Mom saw the whole world through her creative imagination. She could make faces and characters from trees or rocks, was awed by light playing on a wall, and saw patterns that I would never have seen. Drawing was her anchor and her best friend. She had beautiful, capable hands that could draw, build, upholster, cook, craft, and comfort. She grew up in the art studios of her father’s trade and knew paper and pencil as the closest of friends. She was born to draw but worked ardently at her craft right until she passed away at 97. She was my Wonder Woman, for sure.



For someone who never planned to draw comics, she left an amazing body of work.

For somebody in an environment controlled by men, she was unabashedly female.

When art was determined by the house style, she prospered with a strongly personal style.

We loved her. We respected her. We miss her.



When I started talking to Ramona at conventions a few decades ago (once I got over being just another tongue-tied fan of hers), she was genuinely puzzled by all the attention she was getting—“Why are these people here? What do they want from me?” she’d say. To her, drawing comics was just a job that she had once had, years before, and she had trouble accepting that what she had created at the point of her pencil or the flick of her brush had a lasting impact on people long after her own life had moved on.

I’m happy to say that as the years went by, Ramona was able to regain confidence in her considerable abilities, stood a little taller, and greeted those who wanted to share with her how much her work had meant to them with a smile rather than a look of bewilderment. She made a lot of people happy, me included, and those of us who were privileged to know her personally will miss the little side comments she would effortlessly toss off in the midst of our cartoonist lunches, which were evidence of her rather wicked sense of humor. She left us knowing that she was loved and that what she produced by dint of her talent continues to have value beyond her passing. And what more could any of us hope for?



Ramona’s art is a reflection of the artist. It is beautiful, thoughtful, and honest, with no affectations and no pretensions. She was true to herself, producing lovely work that will stand the test of time. I will miss her.



For the longest time, Ramona didn’t know what she’d done. After leaving comics in the late ’70s, she was rather isolated, working on the comic strip Brenda Starr and removed from the comic book community. When she began going to conventions, she was taken aback at the praise and respect she was being given, not truly realizing that the work she had done all those years ago had become cherished memories for so very many fans. As her pal these past few years, I did my best to show her what a huge impact she and her artwork had made, how many people she’d entertained. When I would return from Baltimore Comic-Con, I would bring back the stories and well-wishes from her many, many fans, friends who had met her along the way and shared with me their stories of meeting Ramona and how she had been so inviting and charming. But…even in the end, I don’t know that she really believed she had been so loved. I like to think she sees it now.



One of the great joys of my life and career has been to be able to meet some of my heroes, the creators who wrote and drew the comics I read as a child. One of my favorites back in the day was Aquaman, drawn by Ramona Fradon. I loved it then; I love it now. It was unique. It didn’t look like anyone else’s work in its sophisticated simplicity and bold vision. And that vision carried on through her drawings her entire life.

She was a beacon for women creators in a largely male-dominated business, but more than that, she was a beacon for all of us who wrestle with blank sheets of drawing paper, hoping to put something on them that will attract readers and inspire others. All my love, Ramona.

My deepest condolences to her family and her friends and her many, many fans.



Ramona Fradon was a genuine artist with a real sense of fun. She didn’t think of herself as a pioneer, though she was one of the very few women to draw superhero comics when comics were almost exclusively a boys’ club. She preferred her heroes warm and noble, saying she “didn’t have the mythic sensibility to take superhero comics seriously.” Grim and gritty didn’t appeal to her, and she approached the genre as she approached life, with a devilish tilt to her lips and a sparkle in her eyes. She was honest, often to the point of bluntness, and invariably amusing, with generations of friends and admirersa cool woman and a great role model who will be sorely missed.



Ramona Fradon was a force of nature to be reckoned with from the start. A woman in a boy-man business, she held her own.



There is never a problem that we artists cannot solve with a creative solution. The process of exploring unknown territory whether through our art or tasks in our everyday lives feeds the fire in our hearts and minds. I remember one time in a conversation at the market, Ramona said, “Oh, they won’t let me climb a ladder to the roof and clean the gutters of all the leaves and debris.” It was an eye-roll moment for her because she believed she was still capable of this seasonal chore. We both laughed.



For 35,575 days this world was a far better place for having that wonderful woman in it.

More caring, considerate, curious, and of course far more creative. There was a gently pointed questioner, a deep listener, and a wise and thoughtful adviser. The quintessential elder in your life, a vastly experienced truth-teller always in your best interest. A best buddy. A great hang. Serious and silly. That smile. Irreplaceable. When someone passes it’s often said: “They’ve left big shoes to fill.” Well, Ramona’s were rather little ones, but heaven help us to manage it.



Even though Ramona was one of the first female artists in mainstream comics, she was also one of the best of all artists, regardless of gender. Her work got even better through the years, as can be seen in the extraordinary commissions she drew until the end. Of course, it’s never really the end, because her decades of beautiful work live on forever. Thanks for all you’ve given us, Ramona!