Welcome to Friday’s Mega Comics Group Updates!
It’s TGIFriday Film Fes Time once again!
We’re talking about comics legend Steve Ditko today! 😀 Best known as the co-creator of the Amazing Spider-Man, Steve Ditko has made many contributions to the industry over his more than 50 years at the drawing board. Here’s some info on one of the original Marvel Bullpen from Wikipedia and a few video clips featuring some of his art from YouTube. One clip has some words from Stan “the Man” Lee.
Stephen J. Ditko was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the son of first-generation Americans of Czechoslovakian descent: Stephen Ditko, an artistically talented master carpenter at a steel mill, and Anna, a homemaker. The second-eldest child in a working-class family, he was preceded by sister Anna Marie and followed in uncertain order by sister Betty and brother Patrick. Inspired by his father’s love of newspaper comic strips, particularly Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant, Ditko found his interest in comics accelerated by the introduction of superhero Batman in 1940, and by Will Eisner’s The Spirit, which appeared in a tabloid-sized comic-book insert in Sunday newspapers.
Ditko then began a long association with the Derby, Connecticut publisher Charlton Comics, a low-budget division of a company best known for song-lyric magazines. Beginning with the cover of The Thing #12 (Feb. 1954) and the eight-page vampire story “Cinderella” in that issue, Ditko would continue to work intermittently for Charlton until the company’s demise in 1986, producing science fiction, horror and mystery stories, as well as co-creating Captain Atom, with writer Joe Gill, in 1960. He first went on hiatus from the company, and comics altogether, in mid-1954, when he contracted tuberculosis and returned to his parents’ home in Johnstown to recuperate.
Good with his hands, Ditko in junior high school was part of a group of students who crafted wooden models of German airplanes to aid civilian World War II aircraft-spotters. Upon graduating from Johnstown High School in 1945, he enlisted in the U.S. Army on October 26, 1945, and did military service in postwar Germany, where he drew comics for an Army newspaper.
Following his discharge, Ditko learned that his idol, Batman artist Jerry Robinson, was teaching at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School (later the School of Visual Arts) in New York City. Moving there in 1950, he enrolled in the art school under the G.I. Bill. Robinson found the young student “a very hard worker who really focused on his drawing” and someone who “could work well with other writers as well as write his own stories and create his own characters”, and he helped Ditko acquire a scholarship for the following year.
Ditko began professionally illustrating comic books in early 1953, illustrating writer Bruce Hamilton’s science-fiction story “Stretching Things” for Stanmor Publications, which in turn sold the story to Ajax/Farrell, which published it in Fantastic Fears #5 (Feb. 1954). Ditko’s first published work was his second professional story, the six-page story “Paper Romance” in Daring Love #1 (Oct. 1953), published by the imprint Key Publications Gillmor Magazines.
Shortly afterward, Ditko found work at the studio of celebrated writer-artists Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, who had created Captain America and other characters and had instituted numerous industry innovations. Beginning as an inker on backgrounds, Ditko was soon working with and learning from Mort Meskin, an artist whose work he had long admired. “Meskin was fabulous,” Ditko once recalled. “I couldn’t believe the ease with which he drew: strong compositions, loose pencils, yet complete; detail without clutter. I loved his stuff”. Ditko’s known assistant work includes aiding inker Meskin on the Jack Kirby pencil work of Harvey Comics’ Captain 3-D #1 (Dec. 1953). For his own third published story, Ditko penciled and inked the six-page “A Hole in His Head” in Black Magic vol. 4, #3 (Dec. 1953), published by Simon & Kirby’s Crestwood Publications imprint Prize Comics.
Want to read more of this amazing artist’s career? just head on over to Wikipedia for the rest.
Any questions or comments? All are welcome.
Have a good weekend! CUMonday!