Little known fact; actually an unpublished unknown fact, not found on Google (as I type this on 11/13):
I was once reading a Steve Ditko Dr. Strange
when I discovered that the repetitive key dialogue from Michael McClure's controversial 1965 play The Beard
was actually taken directly from a fantasy sequence in Dr. Strange
: "Before you can pry any secrets from me, you must first find the real me. Which one will you pursue?"
Marvel Comics knew this, because I told them, but they chose not to promote the connection, evidently because they didn't want their comic book associated with a play that included a scene of cunnilingus between Jean Harlow and Billy the Kid.
Below is the beginning (parts 1/2/3 of 7) of Jonathan Ross' BBC-4 documentary, In Search of Steve Ditko
(2007). I was fortunate to have Ditko illustrate two of the comic book scripts I wrote in the 1960s and 1970s. Ditko and Wally Wood were friends and did a number of pencil/ink collaborations; I had the opportunity to color one of those, the first issue of The Destructor
For a full dazzling Ditko dose, see Craig Yoe's 208-page The Art of Ditko
(2009). Beautifully designed and skillfully edited by Yoe, with a Stan Lee intro and essays by P. Craig Russell, John Romita and Jerry Robinson, it was the first title from IDW's new Yoe Books imprint.
The book features 28 Ditko stories, reproduced in color from the original comic books, including Unusual Tales, Space Adventures, This Magazine Is Haunted
and Strange Suspense Stories
, along with b/w pages shot from original art. The book concludes with "Ghost Artist", which Russ Jones and I scripted for Ghostly Tales
101 (January 1973). (In label at bottom, click "ditko" and then scroll down to read "Ghost Artist", which I posted here last February.)
“The Wizard of Dark Mountain” (from Jungle Jim
22) is obviously inspired by my memories of Dr. No
(1962). Wally Wood's instruction when he suggested this story: "Remember, they are little people. Not pygmies. Little people." When I turned in the script, he handed it to Ditko, who followed my 8 1/2'' x 11'' layouts with such precision that he carefully included every detail. Ditko made a few slight alterations and improvements to my panel roughs. On page five, panel five, I had Jungle Jim holding Rima’s ass when he gave her a boost into the ventilating shaft; Ditko gave it a simple change to make it acceptable to the editors. On page three, panel four, my rough of the trio rock climbing was awkward, and he easily solved the problem by repositioning the characters.
In addition to the nice costume designs, he also injected an intensity to heighten the mood of the melodrama. Panel three on page five is executed with that imaginative and dynamic flair so typical of Ditko that the panel was duplicated to become the front cover.
Go to YouTube to watch Part Four.
Labels: BBC, ditko, jonathan ross, jungle jim, michael mcclure, wood