John P. “Jon” D’Agostino was born Carlo D’Agostino on June 13, 1929, in Cervinara, Italy. D’Agostino’s birth information is from a transcribed death certificate at Ancestry.com. D’Agostino’s birth name was recorded on a passenger list.
On December 30, 1930, D’Agostino, his mother, Annunziata, and older siblings, Luigia and Giovanni, were aboard the S. S. Augustus when it departed Napoli, Italy. They arrived in the port of New York City on January 9, 1931. D’Agostino’s father, Pasquale, lived in Brooklyn at 144 Brookman Street.
D’Agostino’s father had emigrated earlier and was naturalized which made D’Agostino and his siblings United States citizens. D’Agostino’s mother was naturalized on February 7, 1944.
The 1940 U.S. Federal Census said D’Agostino, his parents and four siblings lived in Manhattan at 336 East 117 Street. D’Agostino’s father was a tailor of men’s clothing.
D’Agostino graduated from the School of Industrial Art in 1947. His classmates were Hal Fromm, Herbert Tauss and John Romita.
The Palette, 1947 School of Industrial Art Yearbook
On his blog, News from ME, Mark Evanier erroneously said D’Agostino graduated from the Industrial School of Art in Los Angeles. According to Evanier, D’Agostino got his start in comics as a colorist at Timely Comics which would become Marvel Comics. D’Agostino’s talents included pencilling, inking and lettering. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 has an overview of his comics career. The Grand Comics Database lists many of D’Agostino’s credits. Some of D’Agostino’s work can be viewed at the Internet Archive. At Marvel, D’Agostino was known as “Johnny Dee” who lettered several 1960s titles including The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963).
The Amazing Spider-Man #1 splash page at Heritage Auctions
In Alter Ego #26, July 2003, Joe Sinnott was interviewed by Jim Amash. Below is a brief excerpt.
Sinnott: … But in those days, you had to knock the stuff out in order to make a living. I’s pencil a page in the morning and ink it in the afternoon. After supper, I’d ghost a couple of Archie pages for Jon D’Agostino; I did that for a number years. I was also doing covers for a crossword magazine publisher. I only had so much time to spend on the Marvel stuff, because I couldn’t give up my other assignments. Those people were depending on me, too. I used to juggle a lot of assignments.JA: Jon D’Agostino still works for Archie Publications as an inker. What did you do for him?Sinnott: I inked... everything but the faces, because Jon wanted it to look like his work. The pages weren’t easy, because there were always parties going on in the stories, balloons and confetti, and all those characters. It was time-consuming. Jon was a very good friend of mine. He lettered all the stories I did for Treasure Chest. He was a great letterer, but then he got into inking.
In the 1950s, D’Agostino resided in Ansonia, Connecticut. The 1959 directory listed his address as 12 Evelyn Road and occupation as artist at Charlton Press. The 1960 directory said he moved to Seymour, Connecticut. The 1965 directory, below, listed D’Agostino as a partner in Giordano & D’Agostino, a commercial art studio in Ansonia at 100 Main Street. His partner was Dick Giordano. The 1983 directory said D’Agostino was a commercial artist at 161 Benz in Ansonia.
D’Agostino’s first marriage was to Jean D’Onofrio in 1955. She passed away in 1992. D’Agostino married Vivi Testa in 1995.
D’Agostino passed away on either November 28 or 29, 2010, in Ansonia, Connecticut. He was remembered on page 64 of Life with Archie #6, February 2011, which has 28 as the day of death. The Connecticut Death Index, Social Security Death Index, and New Haven Register (Connecticut) said it was November 29. D’Agostino was laid to rest at Riverside Cemetery.
Marvel Mysteries and Comics Minutiae: The Letterers of Charlton Press
(Next post on Monday: Exclamation Point)