He's one of the most recognizable figures in all of popular culture. He's amazing, he's spectacular. He's been the subject of countless animated and live-action adaptations, starring in everything from Saturday morning cartoons to public television educational shows to big-budget motion pictures. He's been a nebbishy student, a professional wrestler, a schoolteacher, a fugitive, a technological entrepreneur, an intrepid photographer, and an Avenger. He catches thieves just like flies, he's got radioactive blood, and he does whatever a spider can.
But on June 5th, 1962, Spider-Man was simply a crazy new character vying for space on newsstands, and by any conventional measure, the odds were stacked against him.
Over the past half a century, many artists have put their own spin on the hero who came to be Marvel's best known and best-loved character, Spider-Man. With this series, ComicsAlliance takes a look at the artists who made the character their own, and had the biggest influence on those that followed.
It's not that hard to define co-creator Steve Ditko's contribution to the design of Spider-Man. Just look at any drawing of the character. Ditko is responsible for basically all of the basics: The luchador mask, the big eyes, the webbing motif in the red areas, the contortions, the webs under his arms, the movement within a panel, the whole deal.
With the Deadpool movie arriving in cinemas this week, media attention has turned to the character's co-creator Rob Liefeld, and it’s already caused a fair share of controversy. As part of an interview with the New York Times, Liefeld stated that he did “all the heavy lifting” in the creation of Deadpool, and even more bluntly, “I chose Fabian [Nicieza], and he got the benefit of the Rob Liefeld lottery ticket. Those are good coattails to ride.” Liefeld has called the article a "hit piece," but has made similar assertions on Twitter.
Liefeld’s words raise interesting questions about who gets to call themself the true creator of a character. Is it just the initial concept, idea, or design that warrants a creator credit, and does time spent defining a character count for anything?
Despite the pedigree of being created by Steve Ditko, the Creeper has never really caught on. You'd think he would --- if nothing else, "What if the Joker was a good guy?" seems like a question that could result in some pretty compelling stories, even if that doesn't quite explain the preponderance of bright red back hair that he ended up with. Still, there's some potential there. It's just a question of how you can go about tapping into it.
Well, if you happen to be Michael Fleisher and Steve Ditko and you're writing 1st Issue Special #7 in 1975, you might think that the best way to go about that was to have him fight a third-string Batman villain and hope for the best. And needless to say, that didn't really work out.
On this day in 1962, one of the most important characters in comics history made his debut; the greatest fictional newspaper editor and publisher in the superhero genre (sorry, Perry White): John Jonah Jameson. Making his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #1 (cover dated March 1963, but released in December 1962), J.J. is such a fascinating and complex part of the Spider-Man mythos that to refer to him as just a newspaper editor is to do the man a disservice.
If Steve Ditko's only accomplishment in comics had been co-creating Spider-Man, he would still be one of the medium's most famous creators. But that's not all he's done. In the 60-plus years since he started drawing for Key Publications and Atlas --- the company that would become Marvel --- Ditko put an indelible stamp on comic books, while remaining something of a mystery; he's one of comics' most notoriously reclusive creators.
Ditko was born on this day in 1927 --- though judging by his reputation, he probably won't make that big of a deal out of it. He got his start drawing romance and science-fiction comics, but he would find his wheelhouse while working at Charlton, where he drew mystery, science fiction and horror stories.
All things considered, Steve Ditko has had a pretty strange career. I mean, he co-created Spider-Man and Dr. Strange and Squirrel Girl, and went solo to create the Question, Blue Beetle, and Shade the Changing Man, and even nowadays, he's still going, quietly producing creator-owned work from a studio in Manhattan. But that stretch in between is where it really gets weird. In the '80s and '90s, he did everything from Mr. A to Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos. And then there was the Missing Man.
In a career that was full of characters so odd that one of them was even called Odd Man --- and he lived up to the name, I assure you --- the Missing Man might have been the weirdest. And as the name implies, it's not what's in the stories that's so weird, it's what's not.
Comic covers are meant to get their message across in a single striking image, with the implication of movement provided only by the reader's imagination. We see the single frozen moment; our brain tells the story. Yet some talented digital artists have discovered that there's some fun to be had in animating these images and providing just a little more movement to the moment. We've collected some of our favorite examples of animated comic covers from the past few years, from an endlessly recursive Batman to a lolling Hobbes; from a struggling Spider-Man to a spinning Justice League.
Costume design is one of the great strengths of the superhero genre, a way to establish distinctive visual shorthand for a character and reveal key details about concept, purpose, and personality. But which is the best superhero costume of all time? This month, we're asking you to decide, by voting up your favorites and voting down the rest. When we have your votes, we'll compile a list of the greatest super-costumes of all time.
This week we're looking at some quintessential costume designs decade-by-decade, starting with five costumes from the 1960s; the era of the Jean Grey mini dress and the Creeper's flowing mane. These costumes are products of their time, but are they dated, or are they classic?
Costume design is one of the great strengths of the superhero genre, a way to establish distinctive visual shorthand for a character and reveal key details about concept, purpose, and personality. But which is the best superhero costume of all time? This month, we’re asking you to decide, by voting up your favorites and voting down the rest. When we have your votes, we’ll compile a list of the greatest super-costumes of all time.
For day three, it's the magic hour; five of the finest, flashiest, most flamboyant witch-and-wizard costumes in the business, ranging from the Gothic Lolita look of Runaways' Nico Minoru to the fishnet-and-top hat classic stage magician (with fishnets) look of Zatanna --- and not forgetting the weird robes and curlicued collar of Doctor Stephen Strange himself.
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