Home News Obituaries RIP: Adrienne Roy

RIP: Adrienne Roy


Adrienne Roy, a popular colorist of the ’80s and beyond, has passed away, an email from her ex husband Tony Tollin informs us. She was only 57.

Adrienne was a fixture of the comics of the period, coloring many of DC’s best selling books including CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS — and always cutting a figure with her many tattoos and striking appearance — she was the centerfold of the first issue of Tattoo magazine — and as the obituary below alludes to, she was one of the most prominent female freelancers of her time. Though using the limited palette of the time, Roy excelled at storytelling and clarity, not crazy effects,

She was a class act, and I send my condolences to her friends and family.

Adrienne Roy, whose colorful storytelling was a fixture throughout two decades of Batman and other best-selling DC comic books, lost a year-long battle with cancer on December 14th.

The premier DC Comics colorist during the “Bronze Age of Comics” provided dramatic coloring and storytelling for nearly all of the company’s top titles, but is best remembered for her 15-year, 189-issue run on Batman, her 16-year, 202-issue run on the company’s flagship Detective Comics, and a 14-year tenure on The New Teen Titans, plus many years coloring other Bat-titles including Brave and the Bold, Robin, Batman and the Outsiders, Gotham Knights and Shadow of the Bat.

Though her initial Bat assignments were for legendary editor Julius Schwartz, she was recruited to color the entire Batman line by editor (later DC president) Paul Levitz, who explains, “Adrienne combined the ability of a set designer to create beauty with the ability of a lighting designer to create drama and storytelling focus, and wrapped it in a sweet professionalism. No wonder we editors chose her again and again, keeping her on favorite titles like Batman literally for decades.”

Adrienne Roy’s coloring enhanced the artwork of comicdom’s top artists, from Golden and Silver Age legends like Jack Kirby, Irv Novick, Gene Colan and Superman’s Curt Swan to modern greats like George Peréz, Jim Aparo, Don Newton, Keith Giffen and Todd McFarlane.

The Verona, NJ native was a veteran of science fiction, comics, Star Trek and horror film conventions, and was one of the first female comics fans to break into the ranks of New York comics professionals. After marrying and moving to Manhattan, she briefly assisted her husband, DC Comics staffer Anthony Tollin, on his own freelance work before being recruited for solo assignments by vice president/production manager Jack Adler, who recognized by her third story that she would soon be “DC’s best colorist.” Under the tutelage of Adler and DC president Sol Harrison, Roy quickly moved into the ranks of DC’s top freelancers, with continuing assignments on a variety of titles including Superman, Green Lantern, All-Star Comics (featuring the Justice Society), G.I. Combat, House of Mystery and Batman Family. She was also the regular colorist on DC’s World’s Greatest Super-Heroes and Batman syndicated newspaper strips.

“For more than a decade, it seemed like Adrienne Roy was coloring virtually every DC comic,” recalls inker and comics historian Jim Amash, “but in truth she was only coloring most of the top sellers, the titles that everyone was reading!” Adrienne was the only DC freelancer with her own desk in the company’s Manhattan offices, and was the first colorist signed by DC to exclusive, multi-year employment contracts.

Equally adept at superhero, humor, war and mystery/horror storytelling, Adrienne Roy was a fixture on Mike Grell’s Warlord and Marv Wolfman and George Peréz’s New Teen Titans, the first “Bronze Age” DC publications to make major inroads against the Marvel Comics sales juggernaut.

However, she quickly developed a special affinity for Batman after becoming regular colorist of Detective Comics in 1978. Later, as a new wave of Batmania swept the world with the release of Tim Burton’s blockbuster Batman films and an animated TV series, the single constant fixture on the Batman comic titles was Adrienne Roy, whose tenure as regular Bat-colorist continued through six editors and dozens of creative Bat-teams, totaling more than 600 Batman family comics including the blockbuster “Death of Robin” and “Knightfall” storylines. Her byline has appeared on more Batman credits than anyone except creator Bob Kane, a record that is unlikely to ever be equaled. “Adrienne made it easy to take her for granted because she was quiet, pleasant, reliable–never any fuss with her–and her work was always exemplary,” former Batman editor Dennis O’Neil recalls. “It¹s only in retrospect that I realize what a blessing she was to my editing.”

In addition to her own DC assignments, Adrienne co-colored many more DC series including Crisis on Infinite Earths, Justice League of America, Infinity, Inc., Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Doc Savage, The Shadow Strikes and Ragman with her husband, along with the U.S. Army’s P.S. Magazine (“the Preventive Maintenance Monthly”) and National Lampoon comic strips. She also painted several LP album covers.

A Magna Cum Laude fine art graduate of William Patterson University, Adrienne Roy was an early female pioneer in world of tattooing and body art, voted “Most Beautifully Tattooed Female” at the 1982 National Tattoo Convention and featured as the centerfold in the debut issue of Tattoo magazine.

“Adrienne was the personification of color, professionally and personally,” recalls former Batman assistant editor Jordan B. Gorfinkel. “She was talented. She was ebullient. Even her hair color and of course her tattoos were colorful. And there was her smile, so generous and genuine that I can picture it in my memory as if she were in front of me right now. In every way, she made four colors into an infinite rainbow.”

Adrienne lived her final years in Austin, TX, and is survived by her daughter Katrina Tollin of Austin, Texas; brother Normand Roy of Montclair, NJ; former husband and art partner Anthony Tollin of San Antonio, TX; and more than 50,000 pages of colorful comic book storytelling featuring the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes.

Donations may be made to the Hero Initiative (www.heroinitiative.org/), a tax-deductible charity supporting veteran comics professionals through hard times.


  1. What a beautiful lady! Adrienne’s name was the one I saw constantly in books when I first started with DC. Looking at her work taught this newbie so much. Rest in peace, Adrienne.

  2. I would always read the credits before reading the stories, I realized quite early that I would enjoy the stories more if Denny O’Neil or Steve Englehart were writing and I would always see one constant month after month – Adrienne Roy.

    She has had an amazing career and she will always be remembered as one who did exceptional work.

    Sincerest condolences to Anthony and the rest of the family

  3. I first attended Pulpcon in Cherry Hill, NJ in 1984 — and I haven’t missed one in the past 26 years. Anthony and Adrienne Tollin were among the very first people I met at the convention. Along with numerous others, they made a young, budding pulp collector feel very welcome at the show and in the hobby.

    I hadn’t seen Adrienne since 1997, but Tony still spoke very highly of her just a few weeks ago. It goes without saying that I miss her already …

  4. Dave, that’s where I remember meetng Mrs. Roy, at the 92 SDCC where she signed my books.

    Definitely a lovely lady and I send my condolences to friends and family.

  5. Oh, this is quite sad. I’ve very much enjoyed and appreciated Ms Roy’s work over the years and have never heard a bad word against her. My condolences to her family and friends.

  6. What a shock. Adrienne’s influence cannot be measured. My condolences to her family — both immediate and the extended DC family.

  7. I met her at the 1990 New York Comic Con and she was one of the most attentive people I met there asking for my impressions, of the city and how I found the place, she made a person feel welcome. I will truly miss her.

  8. I’m sad that Adrienne is no longer here on this mortal realm. I’ve always loved her coloring and am sad that I never got a chance to personally tell her this and thank her for all the entertainment she provided me.

  9. Adrienne Roy was a major influence on my own art and one of the reasons I became a comic book colorist. I had the pleasure of meeting her only once before she became ill. A great treasure has been lost with the passing of Adrienne Roy. Her legacy will live on forever.

  10. Adrienne Roy will always be the lady who made the start of the quality printing era of comics shine. She didn’t used special effects but did utilize a richer pallet to showcase great line work by some of the better artists. Her colors, in my opinion, made George Perez’s panel art look better than under any other colorist’s effort.
    I’m saddened to read of her passing. She was much to young.
    Even as a complete stranger I have to offer her family my condolences during this trying time.

  11. Adrienne was not only a really good colorist, but a total sweetheart to know and to work with. She colored hundreds of books I worked on and was a complete joy. She will be missed.

  12. She colored many of my favorite titles growing up. What a shame. My condolences to Anthony and her family at this difficult time.

    Lance Roger Axt
    The AudioComics Company

  13. I was one of those people who used to take colorists for granted. I think back now to all those wonderful comics I read, especially Teen Titans, and have new appreciation for the work and craft that went into each.

    To all of Adrienne’s family and friends, I am deeply sorry for your loss.

  14. Sad sad news. Was lucky enough to meet her in San Diego in 2008 & 2009 and she was as everyone above have stated a real sweet person to talk to and a great colorist. She will be missed.

  15. That issue of NTT happens to be my favorite comic, and I never put together that the Adrienne talking to Diana was the colorist.

    I’m saddened by her passing. I think I saw that name in hundreds of comics.

  16. I met Adrienne a few years ago. I never met a lovelier, more gracious person in my life. She had such a love for people and for life itself. The news of her passing has hurt my heart. Godspeed, Adrienne. You were a mentor to me, and I’ll never forget you.

  17. I am devastated. When I was 10 years old growing up in rural southern WV, Adrienne was my pen pal at DC Comics. She was literally my “link to the outside world”, from the coal mining towns of rural Appalachia. She sent me comic pages, Christmas cards, etc. She was never rude or short with this little boy who desperately needed a lifeline to civilization. I lost touch with her, of course, as I grew up, but never forgot her.

    When I discovered 2 years ago that she lived in Austin Texas, where I currently live, I *had* to look her up. We had lunch and dinner together a few times and caught up on 30 years of conversation.

    On our last get-together, she brought me all of the cards and pictures I had sent her from 30 years ago! She still had them all! It made me feel so good knowing that she thought so much of the things I had sent.

    I hadn’t heard from her in a while and was just checking and found that she had passed. I’m so sad about this. But I am so very glad to have gotten the chance to meet her and connect with her. She was a lovely person inside and out. RIP Adrienne, you will be missed.

  18. I don’t know why it took me this long to find out about this, I mean I hadn’t seen her since 2002 or talked to her since that year but, its like sometimes people fall out touch. I found out she died when I finally found her Wikipedia page. That is not how you should find out your friends die, especially if it was two years later,especially if you weren’t just friends :'(

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