Search For Treasures

Monday, June 9, 2008

Steve Ditko

Today's post is about a man who I consider to be among the greatest artists of all time, especially among the world of comic books. His work is high up there on one of my greatest influences. Of course, I am referring to the great Steve Ditko. Below is one of the few known existing photographs of the man. He is an intensely private man, refusing to give an official interview since 1966.

One reason he says he doesn't give interviews is because he "wants the work to speak for itself". Among his vast work from the 1950's onward consists of soem of the wildest and most imaginitive characters known to comics, including:

The Question

The Hawk and the Dove

The Creeper

Dr. Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts

And of course, everyone's favorite wall-crawler

One of the reasons I love his work so much is because his work has a lot of expressionism. The way he draws his characters makes them seem alive, but he does it in a different way than the way Kirby does it. Kirby does a lot of dramatic posing with his characters, done in a very overly dramatized manner. Ditko brings his characters to life through use of camera angles, moody atmosphere, and wonderful facial expressions. I think it would behoove every comic book artist working today to study his work and learn from him.

One of the things I've always noticed about Ditko's work, especially during his run on Spiderman, was that everybody looked incredibly anxious, often looking like they're just about to have a horrible nervous breakdown. I think that actually fit the Spiderman comic, because, let's face it, a lot of those stories were very depressing. Also, I think it just fit the time period as well. Think about it, it's 1963, we just went through the Cuban Missile Crisis, but we're still living with the fear of nuclear annihilation. I think an artist who could represent those feelings would strike a chord with readers. I think all artists strive for that, striking an emotional core with a reader or viewer.

I may not agree with his politics, but damn it all if he's not one of the greatest artists and storytellers of all.

Here are a few places to find out about this great artist:

Steve Ditko's website (operated by Blake Bell)

The BBC Documentary In Search of Steve Ditko

This documentary includes interviews with comics masters such as Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, John Romita Sr. (his replacement on Spiderman), Marvel editor Joe Quesada, as well as the one and only... Stan "The Man" Lee. I hope you enjoy.

Until next time,

Happy Trails


Mr. Trombley said...

Dear Sir, Mr. Ditko is one of the very best. I love, in Spiderman, that no one ever seems to stand comfortably. Their constant movement which fit so well with Stan Lee's great hammy dialog.

Ditko drew a lot of inspiration from Will Eisner's The Spirit, which was a wonderful little comic itself.

About the whole superhero thing: As an adult who does not read comics anymore AND reads real books am I therefore superior to everybody? A magical Anti-Moron?

As I read (in a book without staples!) by C.S. Lewis: "When I became a man, I put away my childish things: things like a fear of looking childish and a desire to be grown up."

Both sides would do well to heed this observation.

Mr. Trombley said...

PS I actually do read this one web comic: The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. But, I did stop paying for comics, which is more important to me.

joe bloke said...

hey, weirdo. what can i say, mate? great post. i think we both know where the two of us stand on our admiration of ditko.

as far as the man's politics go, though, i have to say that as i grow older i find myself drifting more and more towards the whole objectivism argument. i believe that there comes a point when a society has to turn around and say " enough is enough, a thing is what it is. " possibly, in this world, there may be such a thing as TOO MUCH freedom. give a man an inch, etc. and i think that's all ditko was saying. on way too many levels, our society is geared towards the rights of the wrong-doer while ignoring the simple, basic rights of the wronged. apparently, however, if you subscribe to this view you are a fascist and should be put up against a wall and shot.

a is a, brothers and sisters, as is a.

and, guess what? i read super-hero comics, too. jinkies!!! i'm a moron as well as a fascist!! boy, am i screwed.

peace out, weirdo.


joe bloke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joe bloke said...

hey there, weirdo.

regards youtube and embedding.

when you've found the video you want on youtube, look to the right of it, and you'll see a big grey box, in which you'll see the video details ( title, who posted it, when, length, that sort of thing ). down towards the bottom of the box you should see a long white window, above which is written "embed" and "customize". in the window, there's a long old code. THAT'S YOUR EMBED CODE.

highlight the entire code by left-clicking at the beginning and dragging the mouse right until you've collected the complete code. then right click on the high-lighted code and select "copy."

you should now be able to "paste" the code into a blog entry on your own site.

any problems, feel free to e-mail me, friend. we'll have you up and posting videos real soon, fella, trust me.

( note: had to delete me last comment there, because of a minor error regards left & right clicking ).