Would You Believe… Ditko?
Let’s see. Captain Atom. The Amazing Spider-Man. Doctor Strange. Mr. A. The Question. The Creeper. Maxwell Smart. Yup. That’s right. The one aspect all these great characters had in common was artist and demure legend Steve Ditko.
To be fair, virtually every comics artist of the 1950s and 60s did their share of teevee adaptations, but the Spider-Man co-creator was almost an exception. I might be missing a couple, but Steve drew a handful of Get Smart stories published in issues #2 and #3 (Dell, 1966), a total of 66 pages inked by Sal Trapani, according to Ditko biographer Blake Bell. His only other teevee adaptation work on record is an issue of Hogan’s Heroes, for the same publisher.
I’ll let that sink in for a minute. Steve Ditko drew Get Smart and Hogan’s Heroes. Talk about casting against type.
Given his political work (The Avenging World, Mr. A) and the tone of much of his post-Creeper stuff, one might not readily associate humor with the famed artist. Yet these stories show quite a flair for the material while still being Ditkoesque. And I know from personal experience that Steve has quite a profound sense of humor; further, back in his Charlton days he actually had a reputation for being a practical joker.
Blake Bell’s biography of the reclusive artist, Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, will be released next month. See the movie, read the book!