Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Steve Ditko

Ok, so I forgot Steve Ditko's birthday yesterday. Would'ja believe I was being deliberately obtuse and mysterious, in keeping with Shadowy Steve himself? No, huh?
Well, anyway, as we know, after leaving Spidey, Dichotomous Ditko spent a lot of The Bronze Age producing work that got steadily stranger & stranger, from The Hawk & The Dove and The Creeper to Mr. A. This strip, from the 4th issue of Imagine and scripted by Paul Levitz, isn't the weirdest thing he ever did ( Mr. A holds that honour ), but it's certainly up there. For openers, it may be the closest Straightlaced Steve ever got to being a hippie. It's unbelievably pretentious in a way only '70's comics can really get away with, and in places looks like a lost episode of Dr. Strange. Wherever you are, sir, a belated happy birthday. ( Like he's actually reading this, or is even in this dimension... )


  1. When I was a kid, the only Marvel comic we got were those black and white reprints in the Mighty World of Marvel weekly which was swiftly followed up by Spiderman weekly. I'd never seen anything like Ditko's work before. It was perfect for the time. Dark, creepy even a little psychedelic (if such a thing was possible in a B&W comic). Unfortunatly he was replaced by John Romita a while later. I say unfortunatly because I just fell in love with Romita's work and completely discarded Ditko's stuff. I was a fickle kid for sure. Years later though I rediscovered Ditko in all his glory in a short lived Marvel run called Captain Universe. If only Marvel could get him back on Spidey...sigh. And what about the awsome Captiain Atom. Man I could go on for ever.

  2. how the Hell do you know all these birthdays?!! you got a special watch, or something, that goes off when it's, like, Don Heck's lunch break, or what? either that, or you spend FAR too much time hanging around wikipedia, Pete. . .

    regardless, that's a cracking strip that I haven't seen since. . .well, since it came out. And Mick? I still prefer Romita's work on Spider-Man over Ditko's. BUT! there ain't no one - and I mean NO ONE - who's drawn Dr. Strange right since Steve jumped ship. . .

    and Mr. A rules!

  3. I wish I did have a novelty Don Heck watch, how cool would that be? Nah, there's a Wally Wood site ( which I shamefacedly can't remember the title of ) that has a calender of birthdays I blatantly stole from. Whoops, my secret is out...

  4. Actually, scratch that. I want a novelty Howie Chaykin watch. You'd ask it the time and it's just say: WHAT THE FUCK"S IT GOTTA DO WITH YOU, DIRTBAG?

  5. I love Ditko, especially his MR. A stories. Ditko turned me on to Ayn Rand and while I'm not a card-carrying Objectivist, her philosophy has greatly influenced me. I challenge you to check out Ditko's AVENGING WORLD, which I'm confident you would find to be the "weirdest thing" he ever did. The story you posted reminded me a little of SHADE: THE CHANGING MAN, which was a thoughtful late-'70s series lost to the DVD Implosion. Even Ditko's lesser works, like the MICRONAUTS and FANTASTIC FOUR Annuals he illustrated are well-worth looking at--always inventive and refreshingly different from the many Kirby-Buscema clones and Neal Adams-wannabes that dominated comics in that time.

  6. I think THE HAWK AND THE DOVE is one of the Ditko's ever staring as it does two characters who would be VILLIANS in AVENGING WORLD: Dove as the Neutralist and Hawk as the never named 'must versus should'-type.
    It's an inadventent attack on superheroes: I mean Dove is a much more sympathic character than the psychotic Hawk and yet Hawk is the more traditional & effective superhero. It lays bare a pretty fascistic aspect of the superhero world where might makes right and Dove suffers almost Christ-like to live up to his own ideals. Hawk is what people often think of as the ideal Ditko character--or its charature−−but he's not protrayed well postively in the series.
    That being said, I think Ditko wrote himself into a place he didn't want to be, the Neutralist being one of his arch-villians become a hero and left the strip to Gil Kane and Steve Skeates.

    atleast that's what Eric Barnes thinks