Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Devon's Fave Five Ditko Visuals


Wanna blow a kid's mind? Give a kid raised under blacklight posters of afro-ed chicks reclining against black panthers reprints of comics featuring a guy who looks like David Niven from that crappy James Bond flick, dressed in tights and a cape, doing weird sh*t with his fingers, while speaking in tongues while fighting a guy with his head on fire done while running through mouths and eyeballs and stuff.

That kid will go on to write in run-on sentences on this blog.


I mean, c'mon... just look at her. She's just so gosh darned cute with her little furry sweater vest, Dorothy Hamill cut and bucked teeth! She has a tail. She's bright-eyed. She's bright-eyed and bushy-tailed! She has the proportionate strength, speed and agility of a squirrel, as well. And a squirrel named Monkey Joe. If I woke up one morning in The Marvel Universe and saw her sitting on a branch, I'd know that it was going to be a great day.


You really don't want a sinewy, yellow man in a Speedo laughing maniacally your way in an alley. Trust me, Jon Carey's told me stories.

As a visual, The Creeper is just... well, downright creepy and inspired.


This costume shouldn't work at all. For one, it's sort of ugly, really. The color scheme doesn't scream "spider" or "man," yet, somehow, it's somehow elegant in its design. Under Ditko, it suggested an implied inhumanity that's never quite been duplicated. Today, whenever an artist wants to suggest how menacing Spider-Man can be, they reference the visuals Ditko laid down over 46 years ago!


He is, simply put, one of the most stunning visuals in the medium of comics.

Take a ordinary man, put him in a plain everyday single-breasted suit and fedora and then...


Allow no emotion to be shown, no questions answered from his facial features.

He becomes the epitome of "the element of surprise." He is the blank slate ready to be written.

as an element of design.


ChrisM said...

Hit it right on the head with the Question. I never get tired of looking at him.. In fact, sometimes I think showing too much of him is a mistake.

I always thought it would have been interesting if he was made into a magic character like the Phantom Stranger. Some guy always off to the shadows in a trenchcoat but with no face...

Harvey Jerkwater said...

The final throwdown between Strange and Mordo near the end of Ditko's run was and is mind-blowing. It's like superhero chess with lasers and crap. It's a twelve-page fight scene that never gets boring. It's amazing.

Siskoid said...

I was surprised Spider-Man got second place, but when I saw the gold medalist, I understood why.

SallyP said...

Interesting reasoning. Maybe this is one of the reasons that I liked Giffen and DeMatteis's JLI so much. They were ALL second or third tier characters, and therefore, they could go a little nuts without everyone shrieking that Batman or Superman would never ever act that way.

Rambo said...

I can't give Ditko credit for The Question, at least not the visual. Chester Gould's The Blank predates him pretty significantly (1937). While they're ultimately very different characters, the appearance is very much the same.

Devon Sanders said...

Yeah, some caveman may have invented the wheel but someone else made it go "VROOOM!"

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