Saturday, March 13, 2010

Searching For The Aging Creator of "Spider-Man"

Did you know that the co-creator of Spider-Man is an artist named Steve Ditko? You've probably never heard of him, however, in part because he's lived his life as a sort of J.D. Salinger-esque recluse. He's still alive, though, age 82, hiding in plain sight in New York City.  But he never gives interviews (ever), and the few photos of him known to exist date back over 40 years.

Ditko created Spider-Man for Marvel Comics along with Stan Lee in 1962.  But just as the character was becoming widely popular in the mid-1960s, he abruptly walked away after drawing fewer than 40 issues.  Ditko continued to draw comic books for decades thereafter, but he never did Spider-Man again. And today he's known as much for his famous reclusiveness and his devotion to Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism as anything else.  

Three years ago a BBC talk show host named Jonathan Ross, who's a big fan of American comic books, made a 1 hour documentary about his search for the elusive Steve Ditko, while tracing the course of his career over the decades.  I won't spoil it for you by revealing whether he ever succeeds in finding Mr. Ditko and getting him on camera.  But if you want to find out, you can start with part 1 below. (It's 10 minutes long.)  Or, if you really don't care enough to watch the full 1 hour program, I've also embedded below the last part of the documentary, which is only 7 minutes long, wherein the results of Jonathan Ross' search are finally revealed.

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