Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Steve Ditko Made This

Well, we're counting down the hours until we leave for Yellowstone. We just have some house cleaning to do and some final packing. And of course I am frantically working on the novel, to the detriment of the blog. Oh, well. I always said that the only reason I keep a blog is to spark my creativity for my fiction. It's worked well, so far.

Today's brief post concerns part of my comic collection. One of the things I collect are just about any comic which features work by Steve Ditko. Philosophically and politically, I find Mr. Ditko to be absolutely monstrous. He tends to lean so far to the right that he is, to my way of thinking, a fascist. This also serves, unfortunately, as a way to describe most of his fans whom I've had the utmost displeasure to meet. I find his beliefs to be interesting only in the way that it's fascinating to examine the workings of evil. But I'd never embrace his hideous rantings as anything other than the diseased mouthings of a truly sick individual.

One of the titles I'm trying to complete is his run on the old Marvel comic book, STRANGE TALES. He wrote and illustrated a lot of material for this comic, going back to its early days as a horror and science-fiction anthology. But with issue #110 he created a new quasi-superhero character known as Dr. Strange. I'm getting close to having all of his Dr. Strange stories in their original formats and appearances.

For some reason, Dr. Strange never got a solo cover on Strange Tales when Ditko was writing and illustrating the stories. Occasionally Strange would get a cover space, but never all to himself. I've never been able to figure this out, save for the possibility that the editor-in-chief (who shall remain nameless here) figured that Dr. Strange wasn't the selling point of Strange Tales. Who knows?

What galls me more than anything are the credits placed on the character of Dr. Strange. First of all, Dr. Strange is the complete property of Marvel Comics. That was the deal in those early days and Ditko accepts that and lives with it. So far, so good. (Or bad, in my opinion--I'd never do anything but fight for my intellectual property. But that's me.) But here's the real kicker:

Whenever you see credits listed for the character of Dr. Strange, it will say "Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko". Now, even by Lee's own admission, he had nothing whatsoever to do with the creation of that property. It was wholly created by Steve Ditko and not even Lee can dispute that with so many comments confirming this over the years. It's a matter of historical record that no one helped Ditko along, and that the only editorial changes made were to the dialogue after Ditko had delivered the pages of artwork for those early stories.

But there it is--Lee getting the credit for something he did not do.

I shouldn't let things like this bug me, but they do. Steve Ditko created Dr. Strange. No one else. And certainly no other name should be placed before Mr. Ditko's concerning that comic book property, The Master of the Mystic Arts.

The genius of Steve Ditko.
(And Steve Ditko only.)


dogboy443 said...

And if and when the Dr. Strange movie gets made, Ditko's name better be the first name up there. You Stan Lee's will also be on the screen, but Ditko's better be huge!

HemlockMan said...

From what I understand, a movie is in the pipeline. Lee's name will be first and foremost, front and center. Which is, of course, a travesty.

dogboy443 said...

The SHIT would be for a Ditko cameo. Of course we wouldn't know what the hermitted little sucker looks like anyway.

HemlockMan said...

Knowing how wacky Ditko is and how notoriously camera-shy the guy has been, I seriously doubt he'd do it. Especially if he refuses any money from the film rights. I've heard he's rebuffed every attempt to pay him royalties for the Spider-Man movies and various electronic rights. One rumor has him turning down a check for $17million. I don't know how true that is, but that is something I could believe that he'd do. I also heard that he refused the original artwork from AMAZING FANTASY #15 and that's why it ended up in the Library of Congress. Again, I don't know if that's true, but if so, I can see him doing something that totally insane.

Kirk G said...

For that matter, they could dress somebody up and shoot him from behind, and call him "mr. ditko" or "steve" and we'd all assume that it was a ditko cameo. It would be realy cool if he was driving a car that Steven Strange passes on his way to his wreck...or maybe he's a guy desperate to find Dr. Strange's sanctorum, because he's seeing vision and think's he possessed.

HemlockMan said...

Ditko would never do it. But you're on to something the movie folk could do to honor him as the creator of Dr. Strange.