Steve Ditko

RIP Steve Ditko – 7 Unsung Characters

 

This weekend we mourn the loss of one of the comic book industries greats. Steve Ditko died at the age of 90. Working on both Marvel and DC throughout the years, Ditko partnered up to co-create some of histories greatest characters that almost everyone has heard of. Heroes like Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, villains like Green Goblin and Dormammu. He even gave us supporting characters that would go on to take some of the spotlights like Wong, Clea, Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson. But are there others that don’t get as much limelight? Here’s a list of 7 great Ditko created characters that don’t get enough recognition.

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The long debate/battle over creator vs publisher rights in the comic industry will probably always be a source for heated and visceral comments. Ones you can find in the strangest places. Like ESPN’s website. From Stan Lee (well an ESPN-related website called Grantland.)  What I can say is what Stan ‘The Man’ has to say is actually rather surprising, but also not surprising at all. In short while he’s always been rather flippant with the claims of ownership made be the estates of his former co-creators Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko , he really just seems flippant on the whole topic.

“I’ve never been one of these people who worries about [that]. I should have been. I’d be wealthy now, if I had been. I always felt the publisher was the guy investing all his money, and I was working for the publisher, and whatever I did belonged to him. That was the way it was. And I was always treated well, I got a good salary. I was not a businessman. Now, a guy like Bob Kane, who did Batman — the minute he did Batman, he said, ‘I wanna own it,’ and signed a contract with DC. So he became reasonably wealthy. He was the only one who was smart enough to do that. Did you read that the check that Siegel and Shuster got for Superman — I think it was four hundred dollars, or two hundred dollars — just sold at auction for $140,000?”

“I murmur something what-a-world/you-never-know-ish. Then I ask him if he feels, in general, that the comic-book industry has been fair to comic-book creators.”

“I don’t know,” Stan says. “I haven’t had reason to think about it that much.” Five-second pause. “I think, if somebody creates something, and it becomes highly successful, whoever is reaping the rewards should let the person [who] created it share in it, certainly. But so much of it is — it goes beyond creating. A lot of people put something together, and nobody really knows who created it, they’re just working on it, y’know? But little by little, the artists and the writers now are a different breed than they were, and most of them, if they create anything new, they insist that they be part owners of it. Because they know what happened to Siegel and Shuster, and to me, and to people like that. I don’t think it’s a problem anymore. They make much more money than they used to make, when I was there. Proportionately.”

“Everybody thought that I was the only one that was getting paid off, but I never received any royalties from the characters. I made a good living, because I was the editor, the art director, and the head writer. So I got a nice salary. That was all I got. I was a salaried guy. But it was a good salary. And I was happy.”

Amazing, Stan really just dismisses the whole topic all the while still sounding like a damn nice guy at the exact same damn time. A nice guy that debatedly screwed over the legends like Jack Kirby, but still a nice guy.  The whole article is well worth a read, so you should.

Source: Comics Beat

To see Stan Lee in person is to witness a display of dynamism and enthusiasm that is both unbelievable and delightful — after all, the man is 89 years old and he certainly owes no one a tap dance. Still though, he performs, he glad-hands, he gushes about everything and everyone around him — perpetually playing the content, shrugging, jovial old man; the legend, the architect and now mascot for Marvel Comics.

We want to like Lee, and he makes it easy. We want to learn more about him, but that is made hard because we’ve been fed his smile-inducing anecdotes and the history of his and Marvel’s rise for years and years. It isn’t his fault, the man’s been living in the public eye for nearly half a century, feeding the quest for insight on his work for just as long — trouble is, there are unexplored areas of Lee‘s career, questions that are rarely asked, and never fully answered.

It was my great hope going into With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, that we would get a look into the mindset of Lee and get a fuller examination of his take on the more controversial elements of his career and still developing situations like the fight being waged against Marvel by the family of departed comic legend, Jack “King” Kirby, the artist and co-creator of many of Marvel Comics’ (and before it, Timely Comics’) most lasting and iconic characters. Sadly, this is not that kind of “documentary”, but rather it is a moving biography that never really feels objective or independent. (more…)


Part of what you get when you read a Stan Lee comic, particularly the ones from the “Marvel Age” days in the 1960s, is a sense of unadulterated, caution to the wind fun. Everything ends with an exclamation point. Everything has color commentary. Everything is bright and ecstatic with the thrill of having a sandbox full of superheroes as a playground. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Lee’s early issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, the teenager superhero that would become Marvel’s flagship character. Lee wrote the first 100 issues of the title, introducing most of Spidey’s chief allies and enemies along the way, but it’s the title’s early issues that are in many ways the most groundbreaking and the most fun to revisit. Take issue #8, in which Spidey has to save his high school from a massive green robot.

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