the G-man
(15000+ posts)
Sat Jul 07 2018 09:13 AM
Steve Ditko dies

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/06/entertainment/stephen-ditko-spider-man-co-creator-death/index.html

Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Sat Jul 07 2018 02:05 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies

Man, that's a surprise. Although it really shouldn't be, I think we all knew he was old and had lived a very long life. I was surprised to read he was only 90!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Ditko

For me I'll always remember Ditko for his work on AMAZING SPIDERMAN and Doctor Strange in STRANGE TALES 110-146 (duh!), but also for his pre-Marvel monster stories in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY, STRANGE TALES, TALES OF SUSPENSE, TALES TO ASTONISH, and shorter series such as AMAZING ADVENTURES/AMAZING FANTASY, WORLD OF FANTASY, STRANGE WORLDS, and the like.
I first discovered Ditko with The Creeper, his first appearance in SHOWCASE 73 was reprinted in 1974 in DETECTIVE 443, and I instantly fell in love with the character. The 6-issue BEWARE THE CREEPER series was among the hardest to find for me. I lucked on a copy of issue 6, and over several years tracked down the remaining 5 issues in reverse order back to 1.

A lesser known series Ditko did was THE DESTRUCTOR for Seaboard Atlas in 1975, 4 issues that could be seen as a recreation of Spiderman.

Also in 1975, STALKER for DC, that also ran 4 issues, one of the first series scripted by Paul Levitz.

Aside from that, Ditko did a few series for DC that have a fan following but never really did much for me, such as SHADE THE CHANGING MAN, and a new version of Starman in ADVENTURE COMICS. And a lackluster The Creeper revival backup series in WORLD'S FINEST.

In the 1980's Ditko did a nice run on the concluding 15 issues of ROM for Marvel. With a very respectable 75-issue run, I loved the series from the first issue as less of a superhero book, and more of a pre-Marvel-style alien silent invasion story, only done as a series instead of as a lone anthology story as all the others were. I love the Dire Wraiths as used in X-MEN and other titles. Sal Buscema did full art on the first 30 or so issues of ROM, and when inked for 2 years or so by Aiken and Garvey (around issues 30-50), the series developed beautifully. After those artists left after issue 55, Ditko was a very natural choice. As with Mantlo's MICRONAUTS, JACK OF HEARTS, and HULK runs, ROM was very consistent throughout its run, and that ended well with Ditko's run on the series.

The last series I remember Ditko being slated to do was around 1993-1994 called DARK DOMINION, from Jim Shooter's Defiant comics line, that similarly had a secret spiritual war between the forces of good and evil theme, that I thought would have been perfect for Ditko. But despite being promoted in ads, Ditko for some reason walked away. Adding to the career-long perception that Ditko was very temperamental, and difficult to work with. I don't know if that was the case, but that is certainly the perception, when he left Marvel in 1966, when he walked away from DC in 1969, and again in this case. Ditko was reclusive, and at least for many years, he didn't meet fans or go to conventions.



For those who find Ditko's work simplistic and bland, I'd point out that Frank Miller, Jim Starlin, and John Byrne, among others, manifest a profound Ditko influence in their work. And that his contribution to Marvel is second only to that of Jack Kirby. All the more remarkable because Ditko walked away from Marvel in 1966, back when Marvel was just getting started. For his continuity and visual style to resonate so long after such a brief tenure is testament to the impact of his work.

I've also gained a further appreciation for Ditko because he originally came from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where both my parents and the majority of my family is from, for roughly 100 years. As I mentioned in another topic, it's an interesting coincidence that I was introduced to Spiderman in 1975 when I got a pack of coverless comics in a 3-pack, and one of them was AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL 6 (reprinting AMAZING SPIDERMAN ANNUAL 1 from 1964) that is the best annual I've ever read, and the best piece of Marvel self-promotion and crossover I've read, with cameos and promotion within this one annual for every series in the Marvel line at that time. What a wild coincidence to be introduced to Ditko's Spiderman in Ditko's (and my!) hometown! And to have only found out about that coincidence years later thanks to Wikipedia.

As with so many great writers and artists, Ditko may be gone, but his work will live on and be loved by generations to come.



Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Sat Jul 07 2018 08:46 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies




A great sample page of Ditko's pre-Marvel (1958-1963) art:



This page from STRANGE TALES 82, March 1961.


Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Sat Jul 07 2018 08:52 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies







From JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY 66, March 1961.

I have it reprinted in FEAR 7, May 1972.


Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Sat Jul 07 2018 08:56 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies





A little Ditko Spider-Man magic.
Ditko's last issue was AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 38. But some of his coolest art is in ANNUALs 1 (1964) and 2 (1965).





Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Sat Jul 07 2018 09:07 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies









And who doesn't love the reality-warping surrealism of Ditko's DOCTOR STRANGE?

Artists such as Jim Starlin, Frank Brunner, Craig Russell, Marshall Rogers and Paul Smith, among others, have carried on well in that tradition. On DOCTOR STRANGE, and in other series that likely would never have been created without Ditko's work that preceded it.


Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Sat Jul 07 2018 09:34 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies

Someone who agrees with me, that the Lee/Ditko story in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL 1 (1964) is arguably
the best annual ever published.

In a story that combines 6 of Spider-man's villains as "The Sinister Six", and in the span of a 41-page story fits in cameos and solicitation for every series in the Marvel line at that time. And also manages to fit in 6 full-page pin-ups within the story, of Spider-man fighting one-on-one with each of the 6 villains.

The above link gives a sampling of 20 of the 41 pages.




the G-man
(15000+ posts)
Sun Jul 08 2018 09:19 AM
Re: Steve Ditko dies

http://reason.com/blog/2018/07/07/steve-ditko-rip

Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Sun Jul 08 2018 10:57 AM
Re: Steve Ditko dies



I never would have imagined an obituary for Ditko in Reason.com, but thinking twice about Ditko's objectivist obsession, it makes perfect sense!

Also interesting that at least two of Reason.com's contributors other than Ditko come from the comics world.

I have a few of Ditko's more avant-garde objectivist comics. In his creation of THE QUESTION, Ditko's objectivism came across a bit more calmly and rationally (I have the origin story in one of DC's MILLENNIUM EDITION reprints.) Ditko's later objectivist writings in comics are much further off the deep end, and rather than convert people to objectivism, I felt his comics just made it seem like an obsessively crazy notion.

I (and probably many) tend to forget what a huge contribution Ditko made to the various Charleton heroes, that were later refined into Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' WATCHMEN series. But without Ditko preceding them, there never would have been a WATCHMEN. I wonder what Ditko thought of Alan Moore's Rorschach.


Pariah
(15000+ posts)
Sun Jul 08 2018 08:59 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies

Say hi to Ayn Rand for me, Steve.

Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Mon Jul 09 2018 08:11 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies

I wonder if Ditko ever met or had a personal relationship with Ayn Rand.


I know Ditko left DC abruptly because he was really ticked off about the way Dennis O'Neil, Steve Skeates and editor Dick Giordano on both books re-interpreted his intended vision for HAWK AND THE DOVE and THE CREEPER, to the point he left both series very suddenly, and Jack Sparling was brought in (uncredited) to finish pencils on the last half of CREEPER issue 6, the last issue of the series. And Gil Kane finished issues 3-6 of HAWK AND THE DOVE.


I can't imagine Ditko was overly pleased with Dennis O'Neil being selected in 1987 to revive THE QUESTION, another Ditko character. A run I actually enjoyed quite a bit. But definitely more "Zen" than Ayn Rand.

Ditko wasn't the most visible creator, but he quietly created a lot of characters over the last 50-plus years, that have continued or been revived by other hands after he moved on.




Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Mon Jul 09 2018 08:44 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies





What a cool Ditko tribute!
A cover that's an amalgam of most of his characters, using a modified version of the DETECTIVE COMICS logo.












And the first page of SHOWCASE 73, presenting the Creeper's origin in 1968. That I first saw reprinted in DETECTIVE COMICS 443 in 1974. Making BEWARE THE CREEPER 1-6 (1968-1969) among the most sought after back issues for me for the roughly 10 years it took me to complete my run.






Lothar of The Hill People
(15000+ posts)
Wed Jul 11 2018 07:04 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies

Good
Glad he's dead.
Always hated that guy.


the G-man
(15000+ posts)
Thu Jul 12 2018 08:18 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies

 Originally Posted By: Lothar of The Hill People
Good
Glad he's dead.
Always hated that guy.


Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Stan Lee.


Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Thu Jul 12 2018 10:31 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies

\:lol\:

In the cases of both Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, Stan Lee took credit for writing, ideas, characters and storytelling that was actually done by the artists. Reading ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS or SON OF ORIGINS or BRING ON THE BAD GUYS, Lee was the brilliant fountain of ideas who conceptualized everything, and handed down like manna from Heaven stories fully formed for Kirby and Ditko to draw.

I don't think it's so much hatred, as that Stan Lee didn't want Ditko vocally exposing the truth. And I think Lee was pretty safe on that ground, as Ditko was uniquely reclusive and unlikely to do interviews. I think it was only through friends in the comics field that Ditko talked to about it that we, the fans and the fan press, even know what happened that Ditko left Marvel in 1966. I get the impression it was much easier for Lee to make peace with Ditko, and that he never was able to make peace with Jack Kirby.

And I wonder how many other artists Lee stole the credit from.
Don Heck on Iron Man?
Gene Colan on DAREDEVIL?
Bill Everett?
John Buscema on SILVER SURFER or THOR?

Lee pretty much stopped writing in 1972, and became more of a figurehead at Marvel, before finally becoming Marvel's Hollywood/licensing guy. But I've only ever heard of him screwing over Kirby and Ditko.



Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Fri Jul 20 2018 10:18 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies


It occurs to me that Ditko, like Kirby, created an enormous amount of new series and characters.

As compared to, say, Neal Adams, another giant in the field. Adams worked almost exclusively on established characters like the Spectre, Deadman, Batman, X-Men, Avengers, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Inhumans.
The one exception being Adams' Continuity characters in the 1980's that weren't particularly memorable, and echo the characters Adams worked on for DC in the late 1960's/early 1970's. Rather than creating new characters, Adams' innovation was more a refining of existing characters, and portraying them in a more "realistic" way. Or artwork more ornately detailed, if not more realistic. Adams' innovation was to create more of a visual style, that obviously many have imitated since.

Ditko also has a very distinct visual style. The splash pages on his pre-Marvel monster stories are very striking and atmospheric. Some of which I've thought of making enlarged copies of and framing. Along with Kirby he was an innovator with a lot of new ideas, characters, and series, but I think I love most his anthology stories.

And have a complete run of his stories in TALES OF SUSPENSE and TALES TO ASTONISH in Marvel Masterworks hardcovers. As well as tons more in 1970's reprints like WHERE CREATURES ROAM, WHERE MONSTERS DWELL, CREATURES ON THE LOOSE, MONSTERS ON THE PROWL, FEAR, and so forth.











Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Fri Jul 20 2018 10:36 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies







Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Mon Jul 23 2018 03:04 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies




A personal recollection of Steve Ditko by Chuck Dixon:

http://www.chuckdixon.net/2018/07/steve-ditko.html



While Dixon probably speaks for the majority, I much preferred Ditko's pre-Marvel work, and Doctor Strange. And my favorite series work by Ditko was on THE CREEPER.

While pretty much everyone cites Spider-man as their favorite, I felt Ditko's greatest gift was the surrealism he brought to comics. What I liked best in Spider-man was his introvertedness, and sense of being shunned and rejected, even when he wasn't. That lack of confidence and angst I think every reader could relate to, particularly every adolescent and teenage reader. And it's quite a display of Ditko's range of artistic ability that he was simultaneously doing a very real-world introspective SPIDER-MAN at the same time he was doing a very other-worldly surrealistic DOCTOR STRANGE. Both those series are at their absolute best when their creators look back to the original Ditko model (I think on DOCTOR STRANGE 46 and 48-73, the issues scripted by Roger Stern. And likewise the Stern issues of AMAZING SPIDERMAN 224-251, and by Mantlo/Hannigan in SPECTACULAR SPIDERMAN 60-72. Although there are a number of other great runs on Spider-man titles.)


Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Mon Jul 23 2018 03:12 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies



And here's another blog with two complete pre-Marvel Ditko stories for your reading pleasure.

http://belatednerd.com/tag/steve-ditko/


Lothar of The Hill People
(15000+ posts)
Sun Aug 19 2018 11:56 PM
Re: Steve Ditko dies

 Originally Posted By: the G-man
 Originally Posted By: Lothar of The Hill People
Good
Glad he's dead.
Always hated that guy.


Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Stan Lee.


\:lol\:


Wonder Boy
(15000+ posts)
Thu Sep 06 2018 06:02 AM
Re: Steve Ditko dies


"Why Steve Ditko Quit"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe21fi7wAxw


A really exceptionally well-produced and informative 22-minute video of Ditko's life, artistic career and Ayn Rand-based objectivist beliefs, as manifested in the stories, characters and career decisions he made.

I learned a heck of a lot I didn't know about Ditko from this video.