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#1221539 - Wed Aug 17 2016 12:45 AM Steve Ditko, Dial B for Blog column
Wonder Boy
Offline brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 17426
Loc: A glorious bold new America

Trying to define the enigma that is Ditko.
Pretty fun write-up on Ditko.

With photos from his high school yearbook, and some interesting parallels between Peter Parker's high school and Ditko's own life!

I've always loved Ditko's work. Even more his late 1950's/early 1960's pre-Marvel work, but of course his AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and STRANGE TALES Dr. Strange work as well. All in MAsterworks editions on my shelf, in addition to my incomplete set of worn originals.

The first book I read that I knew was Ditko was his six-issue BEWARE THE CREEPER, and SHOWCASE 73 (the last one I first discovered reprinted in DETECTIVE 443).

I also enjoyed Ditko's STALKER series for DC (1975), and DESTRUCTOR series for Seaboard Atlas (also 1975). Neither of which are award winners, but ones I enjoyed at the time.

Also fun were the scattered short pieces Ditko did for DC's 1977-1980 titles TIME WARP and revived MYSTERY IN SPACE, that revive the kind of stories Ditko did in his pre-Marvel days.

Another reason I have a special connection to Ditko is he's from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where both my parents were born and grew up, and where I also spent a lot of summers and Christmases. So alone among comic artists, he comes from a place I have a connection to and am very familiar with.
A bit of odd coincidence, one summer in 1975, I was at a supermarket with my family in Johnstown, and picked up a pack of bagged coverless comics, and one of them was SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL 6, reprinting ANNUAL 1, along with the first meeting story between the FF (from FF ANNUAL 1), and "Spiderman Tackles the Human Torch" (from Amazing Spiderman 8), which is about as great a sampling of Ditko's work as you can possibly ask for! Purchased just a few miles from where he lived, no less.

#1221543 - Wed Aug 17 2016 10:35 AM Re: Steve Ditko, Dial B for Blog column [Re: Wonder Boy]
the G-man
Offline Officially "too old for this shit"

Registered: Fri May 16 2003
Posts: 43342
Loc: the right
Wow. That article is long.

That being said, there's a lot of interesting stuff in there. The author is a little too fanboyish/flowery in how he wrote it but overall, it's a nice look at Ditko and the origins of Spidey.

#1221545 - Wed Aug 17 2016 11:52 AM Re: Steve Ditko, Dial B for Blog column [Re: the G-man]
Wonder Boy
Offline brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 17426
Loc: A glorious bold new America

Yeah, I enjoyed the playful levity of it. Each part is pretty short, but I think there were 13 parts! Much of it was Ditko art images and not text, so even at 13 parts, it was pretty brisk (and fun) reading.

#1221584 - Mon Aug 22 2016 02:16 AM Re: Steve Ditko, Dial B for Blog column [Re: Wonder Boy]
First Amongst Daves
Offline Banned from the DCMBs since 2002.

Registered: Wed Jan 23 2002
Posts: 15152
Ditko on the Creeper was awesome. I read somewhere that the Creeper was where he wanted Spider-Man to be but Stan Lee wanted Spider-Man to be more fun.

Pimping my site, again.

#1221617 - Mon Aug 29 2016 01:10 AM Re: Steve Ditko, Dial B for Blog column [Re: First Amongst Daves]
Wonder Boy
Offline brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 17426
Loc: A glorious bold new America
There's another 4-issue Ditko series, THE DESTRUCTOR, from the short-lived Seaboard Atlas line, that very closely mimmicks Spider-Man.

I loved SHOWCASE 73 and BEWARE THE CREEPER 1-6 (I had one hell of a time in those pre-internet days from roughly 1975 to 1988 or so, assembling those 6 issues!). And around the time I first discovered the series, Ditko produced another Creeper story in FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL 7 (1975), which for me was like a 7th issue of the previous 6-issue series! Then a few years later Ditko did a Creeper backup series in WORLD'S FINEST.

There are similarities between Ditko's SPIDER-MAN and Ditko's CREEPER, such as Peter Parker and Jack Ryder both working in journalism, but I see them as fundamentally different characters. While Spider-man was always a playful banter-while-fighting type character, I saw the Creeper as (while his powers were explained scientifically) projecting more of a supernatural appearance to those he fought. Those first 6 issues were among the first DC stories scripted by Dennis O'Neil, and have an intensely personal struggle with the character Proteus, who Ryder regards as a friend who betrayed him.

It was Ditko's conservatism that caused him to quit DC because he felt out-voted on the direction of his own creation by liberals O'Neil (writer) and Giordano (editor) on HAWK AND THE DOVE, that compelled him (in 1969) to leave DC, and he left the BEWARE THE CREEPER series as well, leaving the 6th and final issue to be completed by other hands.

But I've heard before that Ditko saw the Creeper as Spider-Man re-invented and done his way (and not Stan Lee's way). It kind of makes sense that Ditko left Spider-man unresolved, and therefore wanted to re-live the character in a version more true to his original vision. Although in between he spent 2 years or so at Charleton creating The Question, Blue Beetle and other characters. The Creeper is a compelling character in his own right as well. I love the Ditko version, but despite Creeper not being a breakout success, I also love the way he was developed in other hands in scattered appearances across BRAVE & THE BOLD 80 (by Haney/Adams/Giordano), DETECTIVE 418 (by O'Neil, Novick/Giordano), DETECTIVE 447-448 (O'Neil, Chan/Giordano), THE JOKER 3 (O'Neil, Chan/Garcia-Lopez),and JUSTICE LEAGUE 5-6(Giffen/Dematteis, Maguire), to name a few.

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