December 3, 2012

New Ditko - The Silent Self-Deceivers

As mentioned here, Ditko is working on a new series of essays. The first was "The Knowers & the Barkers", appearing in his comic book #17: SEVENTEEN, and the second has just appeared in Robin Snyder's newsletter THE COMICS Vol. 23 No. 7 (July 2012), "The Silent Self-Deceivers", about 1 1/2 pages of Ditko on some issues regarding the creation of Spider-Man. That's the opening of it above.

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  1. Bob, I noticed your inquiry about Jim Shooter. Shooter did say (on his blog) he'd seen a presentation drawing with text describing the characters. He made no mention of the five page story. As far as I know Roy Thomas has never mentioned seeing the five pages. One interesting thing about Shooter's comments is he saw the page (held in my hands) before he was employed by Marvel. He was in the office looking for work as an inker. I imagine this particular Ditko article is very similar to what he's written on the topic in the past. That is the five pages reminded him of The Fly, and the character's costume had nothing in common with Ditko's design. The thing is there were important elements retained by Lee. Orphaned teen hero living with aunt May and uncle Ben, spider based powers including wall crawling, a mechanized web-shooting device, and of course the name.
    Patrick Ford

  2. BTW, In the past Ditko was clear Lee had pitched the AF #15 plot to him, but he added where Lee's ideas came from and if they had anything to do with a possible conversation with Kirby was "between Stan and Jack."

    Patrick Ford

  3. Thanks Patrick. As I said on the Ditkomania board, I'd find it almost inconceivable that the pages could have been in the Marvel offices from 1966 to the late 1970s without Roy Thomas being aware of it, and almost equally inconceivable that he could have seen them and not mentioned it somewhere in ALTER EGO. I'm not sure who besides Thomas and Shooter could qualify as a "Marvel insider" who saw the pages "long after I [Ditko] quit Marvel" but "remains silent although, with other comic issues, is publicly vocal".

    Of course, I also find it somewhat surprising that Kirby's design sketch could be sitting around Sol Brodsky's pile of rejected artwork as late as 1969 and no one appears to have thought to even make a copy of it.

    Hopefully Ditko will clarity further in future articles.

    1. Bob, So true about Roy Thomas. In fact Roy is exactly the sort of guy who would want really badly to see those pages. I'll say Thomas has never mentioned seeing the pages, nor anyone else aside from Lee, and Ditko. The pages would have been in the offices from 1961 (1962?) until who knows. Where does the "late '70s" idea come from? I'm assuming it's in the Ditko article which I don't have yet.

      I think there is very little doubt Ditko is talking about Shooter. As Shooter tells it he was fairly close to Ditko.

      One of the unfortunate things about comics journalism is there practically isn't any. To you and me it may seem an obvious question to ask of not only Thomas and Romita, but of dozens of other people including Marie Severin, Herb Trimpe, Flo, etc.. Oddly though in comics seemingly obvious questions and follow up questions are not asked. Part of this comes down to many interviews being dominated by questions about the relative strength of the Hulk and Thor, and things of that nature. Then there are stock questions where the interviewer seems to want to hear the same old stories everyone has heard a hundred times already.

      Patrick Ford

  4. Here's where Shooter commented.

    Patrick Ford

  5. By "the late 1970s" I mean specifically the era when Thomas would have been around the Marvel offices, so almost certainly aware of the pages if they were around.

    Ditko doesn't specify a year that he thinks someone saw the pages beyond "long after [he] quit Marvel". I suppose it's possible that he's talking about Shooter, and either he misunderstood that Shooter only saw a single non-story page, or (given how often Shooter's recounting of events only bears a casual resemblance to most other participants or to objective reality) Shooter gave the wrong impression about what he saw at some point.

  6. Won't it be typical if no one bothers to ask Thomas about this? There are a bunch of Ditko's "greatest fans" who say they are friendly with Roy Thomas, Dick Ayers, John Romita, Marie Severin, and Larry Lieber.

    Patrick Ford



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