August 22, 2008

--Link-- A few pieces here and there

Blog Kobek sounds like a Ditko character, maybe one of the mob guys in The Mocker, but it's actually Jarett Kobek's blog, where he has some thoughts on Ditko well worth reading.

I mentioned it before, but I got a chance to sit down with the first four issues of the recently revived Ditkomania recently, and it's a really enjoyable old-school fanzine but with all the improvements that modern desktop publishing allows. The latest, #67, has some fascinating stuff on Shade that has me re-reading the series, a great article by Rodney Schroeter on fantasy and objectivism and some worthwhile contributions from Dave Sim, including a backcover of Spider-Ham (who kind of looks like Spider-Aardvark) and a very perceptive review of the new Bell/Fantagraphics book on Ditko. Go here for ordering info.

And I continue my look at some Ditko related minutiae and the conventional wisdom about it that gets under my skin over here. Second in a series, collect them all!


  1. i went and read that kobek post, where there are no comments allowed, so i will say this here --

    it's irrefutable that if ditko had made himself more of a personality, and not fallen for the fallacious notion that one's work is not autobiographical, then he might not have been ripped off so badly.

    i say irrefutable because it obviously worked for stan lee -- put yourself out there, announce who you are, your involvement, glad hand -- and you as a personality becomes linked to your work, SO PEOPLE CREDIT YOU AND KEEP YOU AROUND WHEN THE WORK IS A SUCCESS.

    ditko's work is emminently of him -- it's pretty transparent that being so maladjusted and anti-social stymied him in his career (which includes his inability to compromise, which one MUST do in order to get along with people) and so his creator-owned work became filled with bitterness against those "evil" people -- his world view, already too black and white, became even more black and white.

    of course, *despite* all of that, i find his work fascinating. it's actually a kind of tough love i'm offering here. although i don't know that i'd want steve's right wing ideas more accepted by the mainstream.

  2. How do you explain Jack Kirby, who put himself out there, gave dozens of interviews, attended hundreds of conventions, had all sorts of fans visiting his home, sold his artwork, did sketches and recreations...

    And doesn't have his name listed as creator of any of his 1960s Marvel characters, or get money when they're made into movies or reprinted. And was dismissed by fandom as over the hill for years.

    Or, if you'll forgive me for quoting myself from when this came up elsewhere:

    I don't see Kirby's name on this month's HULK, THOR, X-MEN or FANTASTIC FOUR comics (CAPTAIN AMERICA yes, but I think Joe Simon had to sue to secure that). Was Kirby a Randian? I don't see Don Heck's name in any of the dozen IRON MAN comics coming out. Was he an Objectivist? Len Wein isn't credited as creator in WOLVERINE. Is that just because he's stubborn? Can Marv Wolfman not put down ATLAS SHRUGGED long enough to let Marvel give him a credit for NOVA????? Poor Marvel is trying so hard to do right by these creators, and the ghost of Ayn Rand just won't let them!!!

    And you're simply wrong that his world view in his work became more bitter and black and white. The progression from MR. A to the "H Series" to STATIC to THE MOCKER to THE SAFEST PLACE shows the exact opposite of what you describe.

  3. this is a perfect example of how you can twist words around to mean just about anything.

    i was just reading about kirby got a decent settlement from marvel after making noise for a while. and yeah, the comics industry has shafted a lot of creatives, that does not contradict what i said.

    ditko is certainly less known than kirby. oh wait, that's not true, either.

  4. Where did you read that Kirby "got a decent settlement from Marvel"?

    And if you blame Ditko's attitude for him getting shafted, and I point out several people who don't have the same attitude who also got shafted in the same way (and I could name dozens more) then yeah, it kind of does contradict what you said.

    I have no idea if Ditko or Kirby is less well known. I can't think of a single person I've ever talked to who recognizes the name of one and not the other, but that might just be the company I keep.

  5. ditko's work doesn't speak for itself. it speaks for him. such a extreme, idiosyncratic voice is fascinating, and sometimes (early spider-man, dr. strange, shade) it's resonant. but a lot of times ditko's work makes him look like an ass.

  6. Yeah, lots of people have that problem, their words making them look like asses.

  7. aw gee, bob, never could have seen that one coming.



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