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  1. #16
    Mighty Member Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCN24454 View Post
    If you really like the Lee/Ditko era, why don’t you reply what it is you like about it and not just say “it’s better than modern comics”.
    It was well written and well drawn.
    The best reason to read a comic.

  2. #17
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    The Lee-Ditko era was actually one of the few superhero comics featured in the Comics Journal's Top 100 Comics of the 20th Century. It's considered great in and of itself.

    To me nostalgia becomes a problem if you don't actually go back and look at it carefully. Everyone says that this is about high school when there's very little high school there. Even when Peter was in high school, Peter didn't spend time there. They say Peter is misanthropic but he isn't he merely gives lip and talks back and the other characters are jerks to him more often than vice-versa.

    Saying Peter was a potential supervillain because "I'll show them all" when what Peter did after getting powers was basically try and be Justin Bieber.

    At the same time, I don't think it's a case that later writers and artists haven't been honest or faithful to what they did there. People have been and there's a lot of continuity between the original run and later periods.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    He got rid of the glasses early in the L-D era...one of the signs of progression in that era.

    One of the things that most fascinates me on re-reading is that there's still a lot of continuity between the L-D and Romita era and later eras.

    Peter for instance is acknowledged to be growing handsome and more good looking as time passes. Sally Green at ESU, this girl that Ditko-Gwen siccs on Peter to see if he likes girls for their smarts (which backfires because Peter to quote him, "doesn't want another Betty Brant situation")...says Peter has a "Dreamy" smile, and even Gwen thinks that Peter is quite manly looking. That might be Lee overwriting Ditko, but even then you have Liz and Betty crushing on him hard. And both of them when they first see Mary Jane in ASM#25, they gasp at her outclassing them and neither of think for once, "Peter's out of her league". We know now that Ditko always intended Norman Osborn to be the Green Goblin.

    Aunt May also set up and insisted that Mary Jane would make a good wife for Peter. And ASM#25 establishes her more or less as "the one" against whom all girls will be found vaunting, and that has remained the case. All before she appears on-panel. Mary Jane is interesting because when Ditko draws her appearance in ASM#25 and ASM#38 he actually designs her in a way that Romita went way off from. She's supposed to be "as beautiful as an actress" but she also wears a babushka, so she's not the super-fashionable girl from later eras. And ASM#38 has her driving a car...which she isn't shown as owning. So maybe Ditko envisioned MJ as more middle-class and homely. I don't think Ditko's MJ would have been as charismatic as the one Romita designed, or be as original and fresh.

    I wonder what Ditko's plans were for Mary Jane, because ASM#25 and ASM#38 were the issues on which he had control over the plotting, and where he and Lee weren't speaking to one another. Mary Jane was mentioned as early as ASM#14 or ASM#15, but Ditko made the choice to feature her appearance and build her up, all by himself. The reaction shots of Betty and Liz, already established she was this great beauty...and her final pre-appearance was the issue that Ditko went in knowing would be his last. So he didn't forget or discard her either.
    I agree with you 100% about MJ when compared to all other women ( before ot since). A well written MJ ( not some of the party girl stuff or the later Slott material), is the one person who can handle BOTH the Spider and the Man. She is not just a beautiful but she is tough ( and being with someone who is extraordinary without being that way requires toughness).. One of my favorite not so famous MJ stories was her against Professor Smythe and the Spider Slayer. Spider-Man was beaten by Smythe, but an angry MJ and a baseball bat stopped Smythe long enough for Pete to get back in the fight and finish off Smythe..I am happy Spencer is bringing back that MJ.

  4. #19
    Mighty Member Chubistian's Avatar
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    Nostalgia is looking fondly or with sadness at the past, missing those old days, which doesn't mean that something you liked in your childhood and you have fondness to it is bad or good.

    But it isn't nostalgia why many fans love the Ditko-Lee years. My case? I enjoy their stories a lot, they have a lot of heart and great settings and art. Ditko was more of an adquiered taste in my case, I was more into Romita Sr's style, and knew Ditko for a few reprints I had read over the years of his run with Stan Lee in ASM. It wasn't until one or two years ago, when I bought both Epic Collections with the entire run (so you can't apply "nostalgia" on my case, because I read them when I was 21/22 years old, very recently, and the few reprints I had read didn't have an especial impact on my life, nor do I look at those years in my life wanting to revive them). While I read the run, and Ditko keep improving with every issue, I became totally fascinated with his style (I still love Romita Sr btw), the original run of ASM has such a distinctive style compared to other comicbooks of the time or compared to those coming out nowadays, and the character is an unique one. Everything that makes Spider-Man great can be tracked down to those first years. And despite every negative critisism Stan Lee has received over the years, there's no denying his dialogues are fun as hell. I don't know which one came out with which idea, but the final product was always a comicbook full of action, drama and fun.

    "If This Be My Destiny" is the story you will cross most of the time while reading about this run naturally, because it's the best one. If you look at Claremont and Byrne's run in Uncanny X-Men, "Dark Phoenix Saga" and Days of Future Past" will always appear, which doesn't mean the rest of the run isn't great.

    You might love the run, find it okay or dislike it, but the reason the run is still talked about is thanks to its great quality, not due to nostalgia.
    Last edited by Chubistian; 03-16-2019 at 11:30 AM.
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  5. #20
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    For many fans, it's not nostalgia, since this wasn't their first exposure to the character. It's something they came across later.

    A big part of why the run is talked about it is that it's both important and good, which isn't the case with a lot of other major runs. We're pleasantly surprised if a handful of Golden Age Batman stories are pretty decent, but the Lee/ Ditko Spider-Man cleared that bar at its worse.
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  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    For many fans, it's not nostalgia, since this wasn't their first exposure to the character. It's something they came across later.

    A big part of why the run is talked about it is that it's both important and good, which isn't the case with a lot of other major runs. We're pleasantly surprised if a handful of Golden Age Batman stories are pretty decent, but the Lee/ Ditko Spider-Man cleared that bar at its worse.
    Yeah.
    Even when compared to other marvel runs at the time the only title that is as at a high level is FF.

  7. #22
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    So a guy called Russ Maheras posted an article about a visit to Steve Ditko when he was alive. IT went up yesterday and there's a discussion about it at Crawlspace and I thought this is a good thread to discuss it.

    https://popculturesquad.com/2019/03/...io-sanatorium/

    Since this is second hand, and no tape recorder, this is almost entirely Russ Maheras' transcribing and remembering his visit to Ditko. But what Ditko says checks out for the most part.

    -- One interesting revelation, Ditko planned the MP Saga to be a college story, which puts a wrench to that famous industry rumor that Ditko was against Peter aging out of high school.

    -- Ditko confirms that Norman Osborn was always the Goblin. He also said that Norman's famous hair style was to give him an unique unmistakable look that stood out and identified himself and Harry as father and son.

    -- As Maheras says here, "Spider-Man was an angst-ridden anti-hero with problems, and Ditko saw that as the character progressed, Spider-Man was being saddled with more and more flaws and problems. Ditko said he knew that as more time passed, Spider-Man would eventually become unrecognizable as a hero. He said this in response to my comments about some of the strange incarnations Spider-Man has undergone over the years, such as Venom." I wonder what Ditko is talking about there. Is he fessing up about how much of a jerk he made Peter in his early stories?

    Maheras says that Ditko saw Spider-Man 1 and he had "mixed feelings about it" and had issues about how it showed military and businessman. Because why go off-brand now?

    The way Maheras describes Ditko checks out from other accounts I read of him. Personally nice, affable, but having strong opinions that he would never change. Ditko strikes me in this article as being a little reflective about how self-destructive he was.

  8. #23
    Ultimate Member Mister Mets's Avatar
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    Interesting link. I thought the rumor was that Ditko in retrospect was a mistake to have Peter graduate high school, not that he thought it was a bad idea at the time.
    Sincerely,
    Thomas Mets

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    So a guy called Russ Maheras posted an article about a visit to Steve Ditko when he was alive. IT went up yesterday and there's a discussion about it at Crawlspace and I thought this is a good thread to discuss it.

    https://popculturesquad.com/2019/03/...io-sanatorium/

    Since this is second hand, and no tape recorder, this is almost entirely Russ Maheras' transcribing and remembering his visit to Ditko. But what Ditko says checks out for the most part.

    -- One interesting revelation, Ditko planned the MP Saga to be a college story, which puts a wrench to that famous industry rumor that Ditko was against Peter aging out of high school.

    -- Ditko confirms that Norman Osborn was always the Goblin. He also said that Norman's famous hair style was to give him an unique unmistakable look that stood out and identified himself and Harry as father and son.

    -- As Maheras says here, "Spider-Man was an angst-ridden anti-hero with problems, and Ditko saw that as the character progressed, Spider-Man was being saddled with more and more flaws and problems. Ditko said he knew that as more time passed, Spider-Man would eventually become unrecognizable as a hero. He said this in response to my comments about some of the strange incarnations Spider-Man has undergone over the years, such as Venom." I wonder what Ditko is talking about there. Is he fessing up about how much of a jerk he made Peter in his early stories?

    Maheras says that Ditko saw Spider-Man 1 and he had "mixed feelings about it" and had issues about how it showed military and businessman. Because why go off-brand now?

    The way Maheras describes Ditko checks out from other accounts I read of him. Personally nice, affable, but having strong opinions that he would never change. Ditko strikes me in this article as being a little reflective about how self-destructive he was.
    To be fair, all of the 60ís heroes were jerks. You could say that itís really Leeís fault.

    ďIíM WALKING HERE!Ē
    Last edited by PCN24454; 03-17-2019 at 07:07 PM.

  10. #25
    Loony Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    First of all, nostalgia is just a broader version of homesickness. Longing for something that, perhaps, doesn't exist except in your mind. Its a very happy sensation, mixed with a bit of melancholy and self-pity.

    Having come to comics after the Lee-Ditko run, I can't be nostalgic for it. But the first Spider-Man comic I was exposed to was an excerpt from AF #15, and that sold me on the character. It was in an issue of Dynamite. But I'm not nostalgic for that moment or that magazine.

    But after reading through many other Spider-Man books since that time, including stuff by Lee/Romita, Conway, Wein, O'Neil, Wolfman, Claremont, JMS, Slott - and a host of others - I have a perspective.

    So with that said, here is my answer to the OP:

    1) The run is so re-readable, and it isn't just nostalgia and certainly not the importance of the stories. Whats important about Sandman invading a high school? Nothing at all. Vulture being a petty thief - absolutely nothing. The stories had almost no long-term importance to anything. Yet - here we are with most of those same villains being around years later.

    2) Even for the 1960s, this run had so much to unpack. I kid you not when I say that every time I read through it, there is something wonderful and new to discover. Its art, it surpasses comic books.

    3) Introduced the best Spidey villains of all time. With a couple of glaring exceptions, of course, like the looter or the terrible tinkerer. But today the majority of them are still the most popular and most widely used in all Spider-Man's published history. Collectively they are Spider-Man's version of the Joker.

    4) Ditko was the only one in the history of Spider-Man comics to write an interesting Gwen Stacy. I wish she was the one who Romita kept, rather than re-inventing her.
    Last edited by Scott Taylor; 03-18-2019 at 10:36 AM.
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  11. #26
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    Probably the biggest reason I would put Ditko's run above Romita's is that it seemed like Ditko kept Stan's weaknesses more in check. Ditko just saying no to Stan's mystical Green Goblin idea added so much to the history of the character. His Gwen is much better than what Stan had John do. And the plots were consistently stronger even if Lee/Romita could execute some pretty silly stuff shockingly well. It's probably the best example in comics or even media in general of two guys being on complete opposite ends of the spectrum in every way, but their collaboration led to this little golden age where all of their finest talents were on full display and each compensated for what the other lacked.
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  12. #27
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    You know Stan Lee and Steve Ditko worked together for years before Spider-Man. They did anthology stories together in the 50s, in Timely's imitation-of-EC magazines. And I am curious if any studies have been done of those pre-Spider-Man stuff. Some of the stuff they did was O. Henry adaptations and O. Henry does seem to hover over AF#15, you know the sudden ironic reversal, driving home the moral through dramatic action so that the story could be summed up in a single formula. Whereas Kirby and Lee didn't have much contact or history before Fantastic Four. Kirby and Simon knew Lee when they did Captain America comics and saw him as an annoying kid (at least Kirby did). But Lee was Ditko's first major professional partner, his Joe Simon as it were.

    Romita Sr. himself said he never felt he measured up to "Sturdy" Steve in this video from last year:


    I think Romita did improve on Ditko on some parts, like the Death of Captain George Stacy is wonderful in terms of its dramatic exactitude. It's a death that was totally earned, made sense as a story, and was just perfectly awful for Spider-Man. He gets validation for his double life from a father figure and yet it in the worst position ever in his personal life for that to have any real catharsis for him in his life. It's got a sense of life to it. There's a lot more emotion, color, and charm there.

    L-D was consistent all the way throughout right from AF#15, ASM#1-38 and the two Annuals. Whereas L-R has two peaks (#39-#51 and a few issues after that...and the second peak is around ASM#87-#98), but a lot of mediocre and forgettable stuff in-between and one or two good stories. And between 99-120, you have what I think is the weakest period in Spider-Man since the start.

  13. #28
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    So in preparation of reading Blake Bell's book on Steve Ditko ''Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko'', I re-read chunks of Ditko's run on ASM and also his run on Doctor Strange in entirety (which I never did before, and gotta say, the Strange stuff is his masterpiece).

    I found a lot of interesting stuff. I actually found what I think is the smoking gun about Ditko intending Norman being the Goblin all this time.

    I re-read ASM #26-27, The Crime-Master Two-Parter. This storyline features Norman Osborn's first spoken words in #26 where he, unnamed and unidentified, asks Jonah about Foswell, and in #27 points out the Globe got pictures of the entire incident rather than the Bugle (because Jonah had stiffed Peter enough that he went to a rival paper). Now the last page of ASM #27 includes a silhouette of the Man behind the mask, and today I looked at the shadow of that silhouette and found it familiar. Take a look-see.

    Crop 1 - Osborn and Jameson.jpg

    Crop 2 - Goblin with Mask.jpg

    Silhouette Composite.jpg

    That silhouette of the shadow has the same curly hairstyle that Osborn does. If you outline the lines around Osborn's face as you can in this earlier panel and compare it, then it's totally him. Ditko visually planted the evidence right under everyone's noses the whole time.

    I also have some information from Blake Bell's biography that I found interesting but I think I will put that in a second post. This is Part 1.

  14. #29
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    This is part 2...read the previous post for Part 1.

    Okay I recently have been reading Blake Bell's book on Steve Ditko (https://www.amazon.com/Strange-Stran.../dp/1560979216), it's full of interesting new stuff, or at least under-reported stuff.

    1. It was Stan Lee, according to Bell, who turned Ditko on Rand. Lee was an admirer of Rand's stories and characters and recommended Ditko to read him. According to Bell, the difference was personality, Lee was a dabbler who took parts of what he liked because it was popular or talked about and then move on to the next thing, while Ditko never let go of an idea he liked.

    2. Steve Ditko planned early on for a storyline where Betty Brant would die, according to Ditko it would be an accident and not crime related or anything. But Stan Lee vetoed this feeling it would make the books too dark and would add more emotional baggage on top of Uncle Ben's death. According to Steve Ditko himself, "Stan was right" on this, so this is an instance where Steve Ditko agreed with Stan on something.

    3. Ditko was against Spider-Man crossovers with other Marvel heroes and guest appearances by Marvel heroes in Spider-Man books. He was okay with it to some extent but not all the way, and didn't like Stan Lee forcing the Human Torch into the book. It was also Ditko who focused and emphasized on the Peter Parker side of things even if Lee wanted to see more of Spider-Man. Lee was easily influenced and affected by letters' page complaints and he apparently wanted Jonah and Aunt May to not look so unappealing as some readers' complained.

    4. Ditko was quite keen on averting Police are Useless and that's why his later stories have cops doing well, like the cops catching the Crime Master and so on.
    Apparently Ditko's real fights weren't with Lee but with Martin Goodman, Marvel's President and Stan Lee's Uncle.

    5. Ditko decided on sending Peter from high school to college.

    6. Blake Bell also talks about the fact that Dr. Strange was more personal to Ditko than Spider-Man and that the Master Planner is quite similar to the Eternity Saga in beats. An elderly parent figure is sick, this drives the hero on a quest to find the missing McGuffin, the isotope in Peter's case, Eternity in Strange's case, being backed in a situation where the hero is on a low point and then pushing back and coming on top. Dr. Strange being an ascetic who mostly lived alone in New York and went on private fantasies to strange realms is closer to Ditko's autobiography as an adult. Being a loner who in his art explored weird spaces and stuff.

    Anyway that does complicate the idea we have about Lee giving the humanity and heart to Spider-Man and Ditko the action, or that Ditko was the main guy with Objectivist ideas. Even Lee was affected by it for a time. Or that Ditko was always against Stan Lee's ideas and couldn't be reasoned with.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    5. Ditko decided on sending Peter from high school to college.
    It was a story idea Stan Lee and Steve Ditko had discussed together.

    Ditko talked about this in his 2015 essay "WHY I QUIT S-M, MARVEL".


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