Steve Ditko actually wrote about Spider-man... A LOT
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Anyway, back to what Ditko wrote above - I find this the most interesting in summing up his essay:

“A more honest, JUST (fair) crediting, showing actual division of labor used in publishing comics, was needed from the start. That shortcoming, error, shows, demostrates, that what is not made explicit is not in conscious control. So whoever has any advantage can try and make the most of it at another’s expense.”

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26 minutes ago, Chuck Gower said:

No one seems to understand why Stan Lee - this 'vast creative mind of ideas' - went to Hollywood in the 70's and had such a hard time getting anything done. It's because a) he couldn't actually write anything more than a synopsis (which, unless you're a proven commodity, isn't going to get you far in Hollywood) and b) couldn't find anyone as talented as Kirby or Ditko to transform his basic ideas into a full fledged working story.

..........actually I think it's because of the complicated rights issues and production costs. Superman (1978) was the most expensive film ever made and was mainly successful due to the special effects (technology) that were newly developed.

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24 minutes ago, shadroch said:

Boy howdy, it seems like this Stan Lee fellow must have really held back his employees. I wonder why they didn't go work for the Distinguished Competition.

Speaking of which- did Ditko ever do any DC work before or after Shade?

The Creeper, and Hawk and Dove were late 60s characters created by him.

Edited by Ken Aldred

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Just now, Ken Aldred said:

Creeper, and Hawk and Dove were late 60s.

Forgot about Creeper.  That was one weird book. 

I've.never read Hawk and Dove. Did he create them or just draw a few issues?

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3 minutes ago, mrc said:

..........actually I think it's because of the complicated rights issues and production costs. Superman (1978) was the most expensive film ever made and was mainly successful due to the special effects (technology) that were newly developed.

Stan had 30+ years experience as a 'writer'. He put his name on everything Marvel did: Romance, Comedy, War, Western, Horror, Mystery... Hollywood is always looking for good story writers. The number of great writers who've made their mark in Hollywood is pretty big.

Of course they could actually write (and did) full stories.

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1 minute ago, shadroch said:

Forgot about Creeper.  That was one weird book. 

I've.never read Hawk and Dove. Did he create them or just draw a few issues?

He did create, or co-create them.

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36 minutes ago, shadroch said:

I've.never read Hawk and Dove. Did he create them or just draw a few issues?

......The Hawk and the Dove. Created by Steve Ditko and Steve Skeates,Ditko plotted only the first issue and left after the second. In a 1999 interview, Skeates expressed dismay with changes that would be made to his -script by Ditko and editorial, citing a tendency to neutralize Dove's abilities as a crimefighter in favor of Hawk's.

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1 hour ago, Chuck Gower said:

Bill, who had created the character that had made his father rich

wound up COLORING and doing odd jobs.

Forgive my early morning ignorance, but Bill who?

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5 minutes ago, Bird said:

Forgive my early morning ignorance, but Bill who?

Everett - Sub-Mariner

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That was published in 1966 (!!!) in SICK! Magazine. According to Simon, in his book 'The Comic Book Makers', he showed it to Stan before it was published and his response was, "Very funny."

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Neal Adams chimes in:

"[Stan] would get annoyed if he had to write the story.... So, yeah, that Thor story [Thor #180 "When Gods Go Mad!"] was my story." — Neal Adams, The Lair - Bronx, NY store signing, 2014

 

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Back to Ditko and how much he DID have to say about his Marvel past... THIS is what I really want to find:

The following essays were serialized in THE COMICS and not, as yet, collected elsewhere:
 
 
“A Mini-History”

THE COMICS v12 #5 [2001] - "A Mini-History - Some Background"
THE COMICS v12 #7 [2001] - "A Mini-History Part 1 - The Green Goblin"
THE COMICS v12 #10 [2001] - "A Mini-History Part 2 - Amazing Fantasy #15"
THE COMICS v12 #11 [2001] - "A Mini-History Part 3 - The Amazing Spider-man #1"
THE COMICS v13 #1 [2002] - "A Mini-History Part 4 - The Amazing Spider-man #2"
THE COMICS v13 #4 [2002] - "A Mini-History Part 5 - The Amazing Spider-man #3"
THE COMICS v13 #5 [2002] - "A Mini-History Part 6 - Spider-woman/Spider-girl"
THE COMICS v13 #8 [2002] - "A Mini-History Part 7 - The Amazing Spider-man #4"
THE COMICS v14 #2 [2003] - "A Mini-History Part 8 - Others, Outsiders (OOs): Complainers and Complaints Against Betty Brant"
THE COMICS v14 #4 [2003] - "A Mini-History Part 9 - The OOs and Aunt May"
THE COMICS v14 #5 [2003] - "A Mini-History Part 10 - The OOs and JJJ"
THE COMICS v14 #6 [2003] - "A Mini-History Part 11 - Further Complaints and Influences of the OOs"
THE COMICS v14 #7 [2003] - "A Mini-History Part 12 - Guest Stars: Heroes and Villains"
THE COMICS v14 #8 [2003] - "A Mini-History Part 13 - Speculation"
THE COMICS v14 #9 [2003] - "A Mini-History Part 14 - The Mistrial"
THE COMICS v14 #11 [2003] - "A Mini-History - Wind-up"
 

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1 hour ago, Chuck Gower said:

"[Stan] would get annoyed if he had to write the story.... So, yeah, that Thor story [Thor #180 "When Gods Go Mad!"] was my story." — Neal Adams, The Lair - Bronx, NY store signing, 2014

C'mon Chuck...........by 1970 I'm sure even Stan was getting fed up with writing comics.

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On 2/15/2020 at 4:19 AM, Chuck Gower said:
On 2/14/2020 at 11:25 PM, Mr Sneeze said:

What I always find amazing in the reading of silver age marvel is just how strong Spider-Man and Dr Strange are from right out of the gate. Without meaning any disrespect to Mr Lee, I would give top marks for the quality and strong start of those titles to Steve Ditko. All of the other titles take time to find their respective footings and some start horribly (Thor in particular) but not the Ditko titles. Kirby's cosmic nirvana is around the corner to be sure but it takes a few years to get there. 2c

That's an interesting observation I hadn't really thought about. 

One of the criticisms of Kirby's 4th World is that it wasn't as cohesive as his Marvel work - but that's because it didn't have the time to come together. Imagine if the Fantastic Four or Thor had been cancelled after 11 issues!

But you're right... Ditko seemed to know exactly where he was going right from the start...

That is a brilliant observation Sneeze made.

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On 2/15/2020 at 5:04 AM, Chuck Gower said:

It's interesting to note in Ditko's first part of the essay, how Stan talked down the idea of Ditko's writing/project that wasn't Stan's - he did the same thing with Wally Wood on Daredevil. Wood felt he was doing the actual writing and asked to dialogue as well and get credit (and paid) for it.

On the Splash page Stan writes: "Wally Wood has always wanted to try his hand at writing a story as well as drawing it, and big-hearted Stan (who wanted a rest anyway) said okay! So, what follows next is anybody's guess! You may like it or not, but, you can be sure of this... it's gonna be different!"

First of all it ISN'T the first time Wood has written his own material - he wrote of few of his own stories at EC. Here, it's a pretty standard Superhero story, but Stan acts as if he's just humoring the artist in the final blurb at the end: "Now that Wally got the writing out of his system, he left it for poor Stan to finish next issue! Can our Leader do it? That's the Real Mystery! But while you're waiting, see if you can find the clue we planted showing who the organizer is! It'll all come out in the wash next issue when Stan wraps it up!" 

To a 13 year old reading this with no context, it seems all in good fun - everyone is having a blast making comics. But behind the scenes, Wood would later say:

Wood: I enjoyed working with Stan [Lee] on Daredevil but for one thing. I had to make up the whole story. He was being paid for writing, and I was being paid for drawing, but he didn't have any ideas. I'd go in for a plotting session, and we'd just stare at each other until I came up with a storyline. I felt like I was writing the book but not being paid for writing.

Evanier: You did write one issue, as I recall--

Wood: One yes [Daredevil #10]. I persuaded him to let me write one by myself since I was doing 99% of the writing already. I wrote it, handed it in, and he said it was hopeless. He said he'd have to rewrite it all and write the next issue himself. Well, I said I couldn't contribute to the storyline unless I got paid something for writing, and Stan said he'd look into it, but after that he only had inking for me. Bob Powell was suddenly pencilling Daredevil.[Later on in the interview] ... I saw [Daredevil #10] when it came out, and Stan had changed five words---less than an editor usually changes. I think that was the last straw.

I remember reading this when I read the comics in hand but looking back as an adult puts it in a very different perspective, doesn't it?

In fact, I see Stan Lee very differently now than I did when I was younger and he wasn't very nice to his employees (or better put, co-workers), was he?

I appreciate the stuff you've posted on it.

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2 minutes ago, VintageComics said:

I remember reading this when I read the comics in hand but looking back as an adult puts it in a very different perspective, doesn't it?

In fact, I see Stan Lee very differently now than I did when I was younger and he wasn't very nice to his employees (or better put, co-workers), was he?

I appreciate the stuff you've posted on it.

I've spent a great deal of time researching it and trying to look at it objectively. 

The Marvel Universe would've never been as successful without Stan Lee. No way.

But it would've never existed at all without Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. 

No offense to their talents, but Don Heck and Dick Ayers would not have created what Kirby and Ditko did.

I believe that, when Marvel was about ready to close up shop in the late summer of 1958 (they released no comics to the newsstands in August of 1958), after Goodman's disastrous deal with distribution meant that his biggest competitor was now their distributor (limiting them to 8 books a month - down from 40 just 2 years earlier) AND - the Comics Code situation, as well as the artwork implosion of a few years earlier (Stan had a closet full of inventory and Goodman made him layoff almost everyone and use it) - and finally, Stan's best friend and current workhorse Joe Maneely tragically dying... that if not for Kirby walking in and starting to churn out work for them again... they would've been finished.

I've been going through these issues on comics.org and the job numbers and looking at the issues and... Stan was hesitant at first about trying to take credit from Kirby or Ditko here and when he did it was usually a plot that they repeated multiple times. It was as if the pure power of Kirby's imagination was lifting the company up again... those monster books helped the company gain sales and get back on it's feet again.

But Stan wasn't going to watch the company almost fail and then see someone ELSE bring it to life again.

Marvel's MO had always been ripoff and duplicate, but now they had two workhorse artists who were brimming with imagination. And of course, Goodman had already profited greatly off the work of Burgos and Everett. Stan knew exactly what to do...

Some don't think he was that petty?

Harvey Kurtzman claimed that Lee would return his original art to him (strips such as Hey! Look! that Timely published in the 1940s) only after drawing a big “X” through them with a black grease pencil. He also said Lee would sit on top of a filing cabinet and force the employees to bow to him on their way to work. Stan was reportedly an “enfant terrible” in those days, having been promoted when still a teenager by publisher Martin Goodman after the departure of Simon and Kirby.

Or John Buscema:

John Buscema: I worked in the Timely bullpen in 1948. The thing that annoyed me was Stan Lee would walk into the room with a whip and beat the hell out of us. I just couldn't take that. He'd walk around with a beanie on his head with a propeller. I kid you not. Stan could be a real insufficiently_thoughtful_person at times.

Buscema is remembered as a Marvel Comics legend, BUT... he wasn't a writer (and neither was Don Heck). He was a great artist. And you know what that meant:

John Buscema: Silver Surfer #4. Oh, you heard the story? You want to hear about that? If I tell you it does not leave this room. Now #4 I really enjoyed it. I thought it was one of the best jobs I'd ever done. Well I went into Stan's office and he tore the book apart. I mean it was an absolute disaster as far as he was concerned. He tore page, after page, after page and said, "You shouldn't have done this, " and "You shouldn't have done that," I walked out of the office cross-eyed. I walked into John Romita's office and said, "John how do you do comics." I'm gonna tell you something. A situation like that killed Don Heck's career. He was demoralized because editors were on his back. He'd come to me practically in tears and ask me, "John what can I do to satisfy these guys." And Don was a talented guy, who's so great. It destroyed some people, but it didn't destroy me. I said if I can't work with Stan, I'll go somewhere else. To hell with Stan. A sad story for Don. The poor guy died. Seriously now I don't want to be melodramatic but the man died of a broken heart. If a book didn't sell it was never the writer's fault. It was always the artists fault. The writer is always right; the artist is the one who fell on his face. Am I right?

 

Stan NEEDED guys like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko because they were WRITERS. But those guys are NOT a dime a dozen like the plots he used over and over and over again.

And that's why he got out of writing.

And no, Stan wasn't always nice.

Even Roy Thomas wasn't beneath talking bad about him and Marvel - though he came back to be Stan's boy for life later on (from The Comics Journal #61, from 1981):

image.png

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59 minutes ago, mrc said:

C'mon Chuck...........by 1970 I'm sure even Stan was getting fed up with writing comics.

But not fed up with getting paid for it.

And by 1970 there was no writing to be done. He could simply say, "Let's have Loki switch bodies with Thor and attack NYC!" The artist then went and did all the work. And by that time he had multiple assistants who did the dialogue for him.

It's funny to think of Stan TIRED from writing in 1970... Jack was drawing from 1934 until his death in 1994... a creator creates. You don't just get tired and stop for the last 50 years of your life. Geez, even Frank Miller who looks like he's on his death bed is still trying to crank out stuff...

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