365 Reasons to Love Comics #175
Time for another creator-centric theme week in which I cannot reveal who the creator is just yet because he’s the star of the first day’s entry. What I can tell you is that he’s a terrific writer/artist who has always stood by his principles. This is the one Kirbydotter’s been waiting for.
The archive can be found here.
175. Steve Ditko
Welcome to DITKO WEEK!!! Celebrating the brilliant Steve Ditko and all his finest works.
Mr. Ditko was born in 1927 in my home state of Pennsylvania. Inspired by newspaper strips like the Spirit and comics like Batman, Ditko attended what would become the School of Visual Arts in New York and broke into the comics industry by 1953. He was quickly snatched by Charlton, for whom he would work off and on until the publisher ceased to be a few decades later.
After making his mark on sci-fi and monster books, Ditko began his move into the superhero genre in the 60’s, starting with his creation of Captain Atom at Charlton before moving onto Spider-Man and Dr. Strange at Marvel. This catapulted him into stardom, but he fell out with Stan Lee over Spider-Man and left the title– control over his work was more important than money or fame. He’d move from Marvel to DC to Charlton and back again over the rest of his career, creating such characters and concepts as Blue Beetle, the Creeper, Hawk and Dove, the Question, Mr. A, and more, and drawing other works like ROM, The Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves, Jack Kirby’s Secret City Saga, and others.
Mr. Ditko became a follower of Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy, and, as far as I know, still lives by those principles. Characters like the Question and Mr. A were developed in response to these beliefs. Ditko hasn’t given an interview in over forty years, and likes to keep to himself, mostly, but he’s no hermit. He’s still known to write essays on comics and welcome visitors. He just prefers his work speak for itself. In the case of stuff like Mr. A, it speaks volumes.
Steve Ditko is one of the best artists to ever touch a comics page. He crafted an amazing personal style that’s unlike anybody else out there. His characters are fluidly designed, with wonderfully portrayed body language. As far as bizarre environments and landscapes, Ditko is unmatched, seemingly producing surreal, frightening dimensions. His short story work for horror tales and the like creeps up the reader’s spine and creates a chilling atmosphere. No one does “weird” quite like Steve Ditko. Like all artists, he’s got his own tics and motifs, all of which are quite interesting to behold. I love his work. It’s just terrific stuff by a great artist.
Alright, so let’s hear from you guys. What are your favorite Ditko creations? Which of them deserved to be featured this week? (Doctor Strange is probably my favorite, but he showed up during Doctor Week.)
The Wonderful World of Ditko:
– Ditko Looked Up, the internet’s greatest Ditko website, full of useful information
– Ditko Comics Blog
– Steve Ditko Wiki
– The Amazing Steve Ditko
– A bizarre comic book urban legend of Ditko using his original art as cutting boards, from the original incarnation of Comics Should Be Good. True or not? Click the link!