Some of the Post-Spiderman work of Steve Ditko


Recommended Posts


For those who don't know him, Steve Ditko is a fairly well known (in the comic world) comic book artist/writer. He is probably most famous for having co-created Spider-Man.

Why he would be of interest to people here is that in the mid 1960s, he got interested in Objectivism, and it started to influence much of his work. He created several characters who are pretty much 'Objectivist superheroes', as well as whole series and stories and other works influenced by Objectivism.

There are two other threads on some of this other work in this section.

At Marvel, he was most well known as the co-creator of Spider-Man. He soon began to plot the series as well (that is, he was involved with writting the series, not mearly executing a script given to him). He would also create the character of Dr. Strange.

However, Ditko started to get dissatisfied with Marvel. There are many reasons why, most likely he was upset with the difficulty of getting proper credit for his work (being created as plotter and co-writter instead of mearly the artist), as well as changing in the stories as he had set down. (as Stan Lee would add in dialogue after Ditko had turned it in, sometimes he changed to to mean something different from what Ditko had originally wanted it to be). Mark Evanier, a longtime comic book writer, has recently spoken about Ditko and his reasons for leaving Marvel on his blog: and These were prompted by the recent documentary on Ditko done by the BBC. (see my comments below).

Ditko finally left to return to Charlton Comics. He would later go to DC, where he had the chance to create new characters to again delve into philisophical issues: The Creeper and Hawk & Dove. However, his work on these two series would be very short lived. The reasons he left DC are just as clouded as with Marvel. What is interesting is that when Ditko did return to Marvel, he refused to work on any of his past characters. When he later returned to DC, he DID do further work on The Creeper, and even did several stories using a whole-owned version of the Creeper called Shag. (supposedly the Shag storied were reworked stories originally intended for The Creeper)

Here are links to a recent series articles on his DC work, which does reference Objectivism.

Ditko Shrugged (Part 1): Ayn Rand's Influence on Steve Ditko's Craft, Commerce, and Creeper

Ditko Shrugged (Part 2): Apollonian and Dionysian Conflicts in The Hawk and the Dove and Beware the Creeper

Ditko Shrugged (Part Three): Did Neal Adams Work on Beware the Creeper #5?

There will be a Park Four, but it has yet to appear.

The first article is pretty good, giving an overview/back of Ditko and his Objectivist works. Mention is made of Mr. A and the Question. There are some factual errors, which has been noted on-line in the site's forum. Here is that thread for those who might want to read it. Look for the postings by a Nick Caputo (around page 3).

Here are some other articles on these 2 series:

The Creeper:

From Dial B for Blog-

Hawk & Dove:

From Ditko Looked Up-

This is a great short article on H&D, and which explores the philosophical underpinings of the series (which are also covered in the silverbullet series). Something that everyone who followed Ditko on these characters failed to understand. As noted in these stories, H&D really has 3 main characters, but the character of the father was quickly forgetten after the original series, to focus on just Hawk & Dove. And those characters would go thru major changes as well.


As I was writting this up, I was struck by something. I think most everyone on this group knows the 'controvery' amoung the orthodoxy regarding BB's PAR. There have been several attempts by people in the comic book industry to write a biography of Ditko. This has been especially difficult because Ditko is a very private person, and doesn't want such a thing. One person who has been putting one together now (Blake Bell) has been practically dragged thru the mud by Ditko for daring to do so, which I think is a bit extreme.

Edited by Michael Brown
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As mentioned, the BBC had done a documentary on Steve Ditko. Jonathan Ross, the creator of this documentary, has written a companion article on this, which has been published. You can read the article here:,,2169000,00.html

As he makes mention of the "nutty extremism of objectivism", I'm a little pessimist of the documentary. But who knows, it might be decent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a link to a Blog which you may watch the entire BBC Documentary on Ditko via Youtube:

Its in 7 parts (uff!). The blog has an embedded link to the first part, which is pretty good. Once you watch the first part, you can then launch the second and so forth. Each part is about 10 minutes long

BestOfMostOf is written by Blake Bell, who is currently working on what may be the closest to a Ditko biography. He has an extensive article on the documentary as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I've finished watching the BBC documentary (thru the aforementioned 7 part 'series' on youtube).

Overall I thought it was decent. There are some factual errors, which I know that other commentors have mentioned. If this is of interest, I recommend checking out some of the sources I mentioned before.

I think for most people here, parts 4 and 5 would probably be of most interest, as its in these areas that the focus is on Ditko's Objectivist ideas.

Some other comments. I really like Alan Moore's work, but I have to admit I don't agree with some of his views. He's actually wrong about Hawk & Dove, and which side Ditko was on. As the article on H&D I cited earlier, many lose sight that it was a 3 sided argument, and that I think H&D's father was the side that Ditko was on, not Hawk.

Stan Lee. He really annoys me that he can't get thru his head that Ditko is the co-creator of Spiderman. Yes, the 'creator' of an idea should get full credit, but only if he creates the full idea. He fails to realize that Ditko contributed to Spiderman, filling in the parts that Lee failed to do. Did Lee direct Ditko as to how the character would look like (costume, etc?), then it wasn't a complete idea and Ditko is a co-creator.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Further article.

I just discovered the Chris Sciabarra wrote an article entitled "The Illustrated Rand" which touches on Ditko and Frank Miller. It was published in JARS v6#1 and can be read on-line here:

Overall, his section on Ditko's work is fine, but there is a lot more that could be said about Ditko's work. I think he deserves his own article(s). :)

As to Frank Miller, I'm a little mixed as to his 'Objectivist' influences. I have several of his works that are mentioned. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is an important one. There is some interesting philosophy behind it, especially in the conflict we see in this comic between Batman and Superman. In the sequal, Miller included several other DC heroes, and not always flattering. I wasn't too keen on his portrayal of The Question (Ditko's more 'friendlier' version of Mr. A.), as he seem to portray him as a 'right wing nut'. When the leftist Green Arrow calls the Question a 'Randian', the Question replies that "Rand didn't go far enough".

Another long series of work that Miller did is his 'Martha Washington' series, which also has Randian influences. I think in the second series she discoveres and joins a sort of 'galt's gulch' group, working to save the world. But it appears that in further stories, especially the most recent one-shot 'Martha Washington Die', that things seem to have gone wrong. Hopefully when the completed Martha Washington series is reprinted (very soon), I can re-read them and come to a better conclusion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now