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  1. #1
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    Post BBC 2007 documentary In Search of Steve Ditko

    Its a few years old now but this documentary by Spider-man fan Jonathan Ross is still great to watch. And the interview with Stan Lee about there feud is also interesting too.

    https://youtu.be/3gwDnhMO8is

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    The documentary is pretty interesting as far as talking-heads stuff goes. What Alan Moore says about Ditko is really interesting and fascinating.

    Unfortunately the documentary does spool out dated history, bad information and company myths as facts (owing no doubt because they wanted access to interviewees) without any counter or pushback for it. So you have stuff like Ditko had issues with Goblin being Osborn and other hogwash stated openly, and Neil Gaiman on being told this says, "Obviously Stan was right" to make Norman Goblin when that was never Lee's thing. They also reprint the Lee tried to make an anti-protest scene into a pro-protest thing which anyone who has read the comic can tell you ain't true.

    So give it a watch but always remember these people are generally giving their opinions and not the full truth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    The documentary is pretty interesting as far as talking-heads stuff goes. What Alan Moore says about Ditko is really interesting and fascinating.

    Unfortunately the documentary does spool out dated history, bad information and company myths as facts (owing no doubt because they wanted access to interviewees) without any counter or pushback for it. So you have stuff like Ditko had issues with Goblin being Osborn and other hogwash stated openly, and Neil Gaiman on being told this says, "Obviously Stan was right" to make Norman Goblin when that was never Lee's thing. They also reprint the Lee tried to make an anti-protest scene into a pro-protest thing which anyone who has read the comic can tell you ain't true.

    So give it a watch but always remember these people are generally giving their opinions and not the full truth.
    Was it not Lee's idea to make Norman the Goblin, I didn't know that. Whose idea was it cause that was storyline gold for Spider-man whoever thought it up

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    This documentary is dated and gets a bunch of information wrong.

    For example, we now know that Ditko always intended Norman to be the Green Goblin. Norman shows up in the background in multiple Spider-Man issues prior to ASM # 37. Also if Norman wasn't intended to be the Goblin, that doesn't explain how he knocks out Spider-Man with a punch in his first credited appearance, or how he kills Stromm from mid-air and dissapearing a few seconds after that.

    Ditko's reputation as "The Ayn Rand Guy" is also absurd. Some think Ditko's eventual plan was to turn Spider-Man into something closer to Mr. A. The problem with this theory is that labels like "Objectivist" or "Liberal" or whatever are utterly meaningless out of context. In reality, political definitions of labels vary from person to person. Brad Bird is known as an "Ayn Rand Guy", but when you ask him to get specific it turns out he's not as right-wing as he seems. Downey Jr. identifies as conservative, but you wouldn't think he does based on his stances. Heck, two-thirds of Americans identify as Conservative but over 60% of them agree with Bernie Sanders on most policy issues.

    Maybe Ditko was a hardcore Objectivist, or maybe he just took some things Ayn Rand said to heart but not others. The point is we'll never know because he was a total stranger that made no public appearances and practically had little-to-no interviews. The fact we know more about a guy like Brad Bird and still manage to misinterpret his beliefs as very Randian is a sign as to how silly this whole detective game is.
    Last edited by Kaitou D. Kid; 07-10-2020 at 12:27 PM.

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    There pretty much is no Ayn Rand in the early Spider-Man, once Uncle Ben dies. Prior to that, there is an argument that the hero was Randian as Peter becomes a TV character and wrestler, because is was all for individual self-gain and profit. But "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" is pretty antithetical to the philosophy.

    And there seems to be a tradition with Spider-Man that when he turns his back on being a hero, he reverts to a more Randian philosophy. But still, is it really Randian or just childish? Hard to tell the difference.

    Found this article on Rand in ASM, which might be interesting for some:

    http://sequart.org/magazine/42384/th...ng-spider-man/

    I honestly never compared Stan Lee to JJJ before. Holy cow, they really are the same guy!
    Last edited by Scott Taylor; 07-10-2020 at 12:41 PM.
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  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauled View Post
    Was it not Lee's idea to make Norman the Goblin, I didn't know that.
    Steve Ditko pointed out that Stan Lee's original idea was to make Green Goblin a mythological demon unleashed from a sarcophagus. He instead changed the idea to a human villain with gadgets and tech. Ditko as per Marvel Method was the artist and plotter of these stories and unlike Kirby, from ASM#25 to #38, he actually got plotting credit on page.

    In the case of Norman being Goblin, Ditko gave numerous hints that it was Norman. For one thing Ditko drew virtually every character in his run with a distinct hair style and silhouette, which as many pointed out was one of his characteristic touches. Ditko liked his characters to be iconic and recognizable. So consider that Norman's first on-panel dialogues happens in an issue where we get a silhouette of Green Goblin without masks. In ASM# 26-27.

    Attachment 80725

    Attachment 80726

    Attachment 80727

    Years later Ditko himself pointed out, "Now digest this: I knew from Day One, from the first GG story, who the GG would be. I absolutely knew because I planted him in J. Jonah Jamesons businessman's club, it was where JJJ and the GG could be seen together. I planted them together in other stories where the GG would not appear in costume, action. I wanted JJJs and the GGs lives to mix for later story drama involving more than just the two characters. I planted the GGs son (same distinctive hair style) in the college issues for more dramatic involvement and storyline consequences. So how could there be any doubt, dispute, about who the GG had to turn out to be when unmasked?"

    And in ASM#37-38, he basically set up Norman Osborn as a really horrible person and criminal out for Spider-Man.

  7. #7
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    I have no idea on much of the backstory on Spideys creation or the Rand philosophy though it seems very anti spiderman my view.
    I'm glad they aged and graduated Peter rather than just kept him the permanent School kid. Certainly I don't think you could've done the Death of Gwen Stacey/Venom or Kraven Last Hunt with school boy Spidey.
    I also doubt we'd have seen Felicia or Venom any other grey characters in the Spidey verse either
    I'm also curious to know what Steve Ditko thought of the Doctor Strange Movie ?

  8. #8
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    There pretty much is no Ayn Rand in the early Spider-Man, once Uncle Ben dies. Prior to that, there is an argument that the hero was Randian as Peter becomes a TV character and wrestler, because is was all for individual self-gain and profit. But "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" is pretty antithetical to the philosophy.

    And there seems to be a tradition with Spider-Man that when he turns his back on being a hero, he reverts to a more Randian philosophy. But still, is it really Randian or just childish? Hard to tell the difference.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaitou D. Kid View Post
    Ditko's reputation as "The Ayn Rand Guy" is also absurd. Some think Ditko's eventual plan was to turn Spider-Man into something closer to Mr. A.
    Blake Bell's biography of Steve Ditko (Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko)
    revealed lots of interesting stuff about Ditko and Rand. And one most astonishing thing is the fact that it was Stan Lee who introduced Ditko to Rand's books.

    -- Ditko and Lee were friends. In the 50s, Lee picked out Ditko out of art school and got him to work at Timely-Atlas' comics, i.e. the non-superhero titles. As Ditko started getting more confident in plotting stuff, Lee gave him a list of books to read, and among the books Stan Lee liked and recommended was Ayn Rand.
    -- It must be remembered that in the 40s and 50s, Ayn Rand was a genuinely popular writer who appealed to general readers and had not yet gained the political baggage she did. So Lee read her works because she was popular and he liked being hip to the latest fads, so whatever Randian ideas you can find in Spider-Man can be attributed to Stan Lee, especially given that Stan with his brother Larry were largely responsible for creating Tony Stark/Iron Man, a character who is far more obviously inspired by Rand than any of the stuff that Ditko worked on in that time.
    -- People who worked with Ditko in the Marvel era of the 60s, such as Flo Steinberg, said that Ditko was apolitical in that time, he hardly talked about politics. Ditko's reputation for most of the 60s was the guy who worked on Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, and as Moore mentions in the documentary, he was popular among hippies for Doctor Strange (a big cult title among that set). Ditko's Randian turn happened well after he left Marvel.
    -- The real question about Spider-Man and Rand, is that why don't people ask about Doctor Strange and Rand? Ditko worked on Doctor Strange simultaneously as his run on Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange was a title he had far more control and autonomy over (to the point that Doctor Stephen Strange shares his first name with his creator Stephen John Ditko). It's only because Spider-Man is a bigger and more scrutinized character than Doctor Strange that people are interested in the former and not the latter.



    At the same time, Ditko definitely had some right-wing leanings, and it does show up in part of his run on Spider-Man. Like for instance, Ditko became quite pro-cop and that reflected itself in some issues of Spider-Man, like the Crime Master 2-parter where the bad guy gets taken out by cops. Over time, Ditko became more and more right-wing while Stan Lee always a centrist moderate came to realize that he needed to become "All things to all people" so when society and mainstream culture became more diverse and liberal, Lee, in his own way, followed through.

    Ditko's pro-cop ideas became even more creepy in his time at Charlton Comics. Pete Morisi was a policeman who moonlighted as a comic writer, best known for creating Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt (the character who formed the basis for Ozymandias) and he noted that Ditko once asked him a lot of leading questions about policework and had a sadistic interest in cops beating up criminals that creeped out Morisi (an actual cop bear in mind).

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauled View Post
    I'm also curious to know what Steve Ditko thought of the Doctor Strange Movie ?
    Well Ditko did have mixed feelings about Raimi's Spider-Man 1. Russ Maheras visited Ditko's studio in the 2000s and Ditko actually talked in brief about his feelings about it (https://popculturesquad.com/2019/03/...io-sanatorium/).

    "He saw the (first) Spider-Man film. He had mixed feelings about it and said it was too dark and he did not like its portrayal of the military and businessmen."

    Make of that what you will.

    Mostly I think he would be indifferent.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Steve Ditko pointed out that Stan Lee's original idea was to make Green Goblin a mythological demon unleashed from a sarcophagus. He instead changed the idea to a human villain with gadgets and tech. Ditko as per Marvel Method was the artist and plotter of these stories and unlike Kirby, from ASM#25 to #38, he actually got plotting credit on page.

    In the case of Norman being Goblin, Ditko gave numerous hints that it was Norman. For one thing Ditko drew virtually every character in his run with a distinct hair style and silhouette, which as many pointed out was one of his characteristic touches. Ditko liked his characters to be iconic and recognizable. So consider that Norman's first on-panel dialogues happens in an issue where we get a silhouette of Green Goblin without masks. In ASM# 26-27.

    Attachment 80725

    Attachment 80726

    Attachment 80727

    Years later Ditko himself pointed out, "Now digest this: I knew from Day One, from the first GG story, who the GG would be. I absolutely knew because I planted him in J. Jonah Jameson’s businessman's club, it was where JJJ and the GG could be seen together. I planted them together in other stories where the GG would not appear in costume, action. I wanted JJJ’s and the GG’s lives to mix for later story drama involving more than just the two characters. I planted the GG’s son (same distinctive hair style) in the college issues for more dramatic involvement and storyline consequences. So how could there be any doubt, dispute, about who the GG had to turn out to be when unmasked?"

    And in ASM#37-38, he basically set up Norman Osborn as a really horrible person and criminal out for Spider-Man.
    Interesting thank you

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Well Ditko did have mixed feelings about Raimi's Spider-Man 1. Russ Maheras visited Ditko's studio in the 2000s and Ditko actually talked in brief about his feelings about it (https://popculturesquad.com/2019/03/...io-sanatorium/).

    "He saw the (first) Spider-Man film. He had mixed feelings about it and said it was too dark and he did not like its portrayal of the military and businessmen."

    Make of that what you will.

    Mostly I think he would be indifferent.
    He thought the first Spider-Man was to dark, Wow

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauled View Post
    He thought the first Spider-Man was to dark, Wow
    Green Goblin kills 21 people in the first movie alone, and he beats Spider-Man to a bloody pulp in the finale. That's the highest body count in any Spider-Man movie (TASM, MCU, ITSV, Raimi sequels). So yeah, I can see why Spider-Man's co-creator would think it was too dark. It's far more violent than the original run of Spider-Man was.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Blake Bell's biography of Steve Ditko (Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko)
    revealed lots of interesting stuff about Ditko and Rand. And one most astonishing thing is the fact that it was Stan Lee who introduced Ditko to Rand's books.

    -- Ditko and Lee were friends. In the 50s, Lee picked out Ditko out of art school and got him to work at Timely-Atlas' comics, i.e. the non-superhero titles. As Ditko started getting more confident in plotting stuff, Lee gave him a list of books to read, and among the books Stan Lee liked and recommended was Ayn Rand.
    -- It must be remembered that in the 40s and 50s, Ayn Rand was a genuinely popular writer who appealed to general readers and had not yet gained the political baggage she did. So Lee read her works because she was popular and he liked being hip to the latest fads, so whatever Randian ideas you can find in Spider-Man can be attributed to Stan Lee, especially given that Stan with his brother Larry were largely responsible for creating Tony Stark/Iron Man, a character who is far more obviously inspired by Rand than any of the stuff that Ditko worked on in that time.
    -- People who worked with Ditko in the Marvel era of the 60s, such as Flo Steinberg, said that Ditko was apolitical in that time, he hardly talked about politics. Ditko's reputation for most of the 60s was the guy who worked on Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, and as Moore mentions in the documentary, he was popular among hippies for Doctor Strange (a big cult title among that set). Ditko's Randian turn happened well after he left Marvel.
    -- The real question about Spider-Man and Rand, is that why don't people ask about Doctor Strange and Rand? Ditko worked on Doctor Strange simultaneously as his run on Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange was a title he had far more control and autonomy over (to the point that Doctor Stephen Strange shares his first name with his creator Stephen John Ditko). It's only because Spider-Man is a bigger and more scrutinized character than Doctor Strange that people are interested in the former and not the latter.



    At the same time, Ditko definitely had some right-wing leanings, and it does show up in part of his run on Spider-Man. Like for instance, Ditko became quite pro-cop and that reflected itself in some issues of Spider-Man, like the Crime Master 2-parter where the bad guy gets taken out by cops. Over time, Ditko became more and more right-wing while Stan Lee always a centrist moderate came to realize that he needed to become "All things to all people" so when society and mainstream culture became more diverse and liberal, Lee, in his own way, followed through.

    Ditko's pro-cop ideas became even more creepy in his time at Charlton Comics. Pete Morisi was a policeman who moonlighted as a comic writer, best known for creating Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt (the character who formed the basis for Ozymandias) and he noted that Ditko once asked him a lot of leading questions about policework and had a sadistic interest in cops beating up criminals that creeped out Morisi (an actual cop bear in mind).
    I really do not care what Ditkos politics or for that matter the politics of the very liberal Gerry Conway. What does matter is their contributions to Spider-Man. Both of these men have made a lasting impression on the entire comic book world and that is how they should be judged.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauled View Post
    Was it not Lee's idea to make Norman the Goblin, I didn't know that. Whose idea was it cause that was storyline gold for Spider-man whoever thought it up
    This is the argument that won me over to Norman being the GG all along. I had previously thought it was a Lee gimmick, to make up for Ditko's departure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozymandias View Post
    This is the argument that won me over to Norman being the GG all along. I had previously thought it was a Lee gimmick, to make up for Ditko's departure.
    Interesting thread. Reading it I notice that some posters had issues with the execution of the arc. That it was a bit rushed and Norman could maybe have been introduced earlier which I think is fair if it was done now but back in the 60's I can't think of any other story like that so it was truly a first.

    Shame those review pages stopped. I would have been interested in a review of the death of the Stacey's both Father and Daughter or Spidey getting the Black Suit or Black Cats introduction issues etc . Hell Kravens Last Hunt would be a must.

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