He built Marvel Comics and laid the foundation for today’s blockbuster superhero movies. So why, at 93, is his legacy in question?
The Avenging Page (In Excelsis Ditko) is an exhaustive essay on the recent self-published comics of legendary artist and writer Steve Ditko.
"I’ve since discovered that dropping in on Steve Ditko unannounced is a pretty common practice. That does’t make me feel any better. I felt gross for having invaded someone’s privacy – there is zero excuse – but the fact that people do this as a sort of known event is even worse. I haven’t pulled that on Ditko since and I never will, but I suppose we’re all free to disrupt the man just to satiate our curiosity, or “just cuz”, as if he were a landmark attraction and not a person." -- On Ditko's eightyfifth birthday, cartoonist Michael Fiffe talks about Steve Ditko, the influence Ditko has had on his own comics and the incredibly gracious way in which he corresponded with him as a young clueless fan.
Mr. A debuted in 1967, in the third issue of Witzend, a collection of more artistically fulfilling side projects by mainstream comics professionals led by Wally Wood. In his very first panel, the Objectivist hero addresses his readers directly, stating his case that in moral life, there are no shades of gray, only evil or good, black or white. The hero stares at us, blank, emotionless. There’s a montage around him showing that his calm face is actually a metal mask, and that evil is truly disgusting. At the story’s end, Mr. A. beats up a nasty juvenile delinquent, ironically named Angel, and then allows the kid to fall to his death from a city rooftop. - Pat Barrett [more inside]
Released in 1987, The Masters of Comic Book Art is a collection of interviews with notable cartoonists on their creations, creativity, and craft, introduced by Harlan Ellison. [more inside]
Stephen Strange was an arrogant doctor, until a car accident damaged his hands, leading him try every cure possible. Eventually he made his way to the East, where the story progressed, and now he's Doctor Strange, master of magic! His thrilling tale is set to be the first Marvel superhero movie since Marvel was purchased by Disney. But there has been much history behind the latest movie, including a period when Guillermo del Toro was involved and wanted to include Neil Gaiman, a draft script by Alex Cox (1990, 5.1 mb PDF; review), and a draft script by Bob Gale (January 21, 1986, 3.5 mb PDF; review). Along with these incomplete attempts, there was the 1978 Dr. Strange TV movie, which you can watch online (full movie with Portuguese subtitles, or YT playlist). If you'd like another take, head to 1992 for the direct-to-video movie Doctor Mordrid. Depending on who you ask, it's a more or less entertaining/accurate take (warning: spoilers) on Dr Strange. Modrid is also online.
Before Mr. A, The Question, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, or, well, anything, there was Steve Ditko's 1953 debut, Paper Romance in Daring Love #1. It was soon followed by creepier fare such as Ditko's first professional work, 1954's Stretching Things, A Hole in His Head, and Buried Alive! Shortly after, Ditko illustrated the cover for Space Adventures #10 and the story Homecoming, which began (Or didn't, depending on who you believe) a decades-long association with Charlton Comics that would soon yield Von Mohl Vs. The Ants, If Looks Could Kill, You Are the Jury, Doom in the Air, The Worm Turns, Day of Reckoning, and Car Show, a rare humour piece for Charlton's MAD clone From Here To Insanity. All these, and many more, courtesy of the Steve Ditko Comics Weblog's It Stalks the Public Domain!
Co-creator of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko is famous for weird, distinctive art, his 1966 departure from Marvel Comics, and granting very few interviews in the course of his decades-spanning career, preferring to let creations such as The Creeper, the Objectivism-inspired Mr. A, and Squirrel Girl speak for him. Okay, Squirrel Girl not so much. Jonathan Ross turns the spotlight on the artist in the BBC4 documentary, In Search of Steve Ditko. Did they find him? Well, that's The Question, isn't it?