Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Not why Ditko left Marvel in the 60s

In response to Steve Ditko's fisking of Joe Quesada, one of the commenters, BobH, disputes the urban myth that Ditko left Marvel because of a dispute he had with Stan Lee over the identity of the Green Goblin. This isn't news to me; by all accounts the working relationship between the two creators had completely deteriorated, Ditko was unhappy at the lack of credit and renumeration he was getting for his work in creating Spider-Man, and Lee's dialogue often bore little resemblance to the stories Ditko was telling (my favourite example being the death of Mendell Stromm in ASM #37: Ditko draws a man shooting him to death, Lee's ludicrous dialogue has the gunman miss and Stromm "dying of a heart attack"). So to my mind the Goblin thing seems too trivial to be a tipping point (in fact given Ditko left a month after the Mendell Stromm issue I do wonder if it might have been that). However, when BobH is asked for a quote on this, the one he produces rather surprises me. (I reproduce his post here in full, without his permission, because as he points out Breitbart's commenting system stinks; not only am I unable to link to the comment directly, it doesn't even show up half the time I actively look for it. Apologies to BobH.)

Ditko's prose style doesn't really lend itself to excerpts, as you can see above, he constructs amazing, sometimes maddeningly complex arguments. So I encourage you go order the newsletter in question (or join me in encouraging Ditko's co-publisher to put together a collection of the relevant essays).

However, a few tastes:
"So certainly, the GG [Green Goblin] could hardly be any reason for me quitting Marvel"
"Now digest this: I knew from Day One, from the first GG story, who the GG would be... I planted him in J. Jonah Jameson's businessman's club." [prior issues of the newsletter had a contest to identify all the planted appearances of the character]
"I planted the GG's son (same distinct hair style) in the college issues..." [referring here to Harry Osborn]

This will probably be my last reply here, as the commenting system here makes no sense to me. Feel free to contact me via e-mail or my site (should be linked in my name above) if you wish to continue.

Just in case this is unclear to anyone reading this, it was widely believed that making Norman Osborn the Goblin was entirely Stan Lee's initiative - this completely debunks that myth too. (An unnamed man resembling Norman Osborn was indeed seen in Jameson's business club in ASM #23 and #25.)