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In Search of Steve Ditko (Jon Ross)


JoeK
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cracking stuff, even Alan Moore was interviewed, on the telly like :wub:

Nice to know he's still as completely bonkers as usual. I tell you, if a man was ever born to have created Dr Strange it probably should have been him!

Also, whilst I always knew Ross was a huge comics fan, I didn't realise just how much of a collection he's got! Lucky bugger.

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Yes, that was excellent. There were a lot of things I wondered if they'd be able to fit in (like the influence of those later characters on Rorschach, the "Marvel method" of plotting, and that sequence of Spider-Man trapped under the machinery), but they fitted everything in extremely thoroughly. He knows his stuff, Jonathan Ross! :D (And for more on his wacky comedy partnership with Neil Gaiman, have a look at this...)

cracking stuff, even Alan Moore was interviewed, on the telly like :wub:

Not only was he interviewed, but we got to see one of his legendary performances. :D No matter how friendly he is otherwise, that doesn't stop it being quite scary when he stares right at the camera under moody lighting!

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Missed this, but I guess it'll be repeated two or three times this week, like the last one. Was Moore doing his Ditko impersonation? I 'interviewed' him back in the 80s (more accurately just listened to him in teenage awe) and he was talking about Ditko and Rorschach, at which point he told a story about Ditko defining his moral code with the aid of a blank card and a black marker - "there is black, and there is white, and there is nothing in between" - giving me his best intense mad stare as he did so. Then he started talking about the kettle melting over the hearth during the last ripper murder, and that was even better. Looking back I expect he was simply trying to scare me off. I saved him any further effort by kicking a cup of coffee over his carpet, so I was too mortified to ever contact the man again even though he dismissed my apologies and made me another cup. In my mind at the time it was the equivalent of visiting William Burroughs and accidentally killing one of his cats, or going round Andy Warhol's and blocking the toilet.

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Missed this, but I guess it'll be repeated two or three times this week, like the last one. Was Moore doing his Ditko impersonation? I 'interviewed' him back in the 80s (more accurately just listened to him in teenage awe) and he was talking about Ditko and Rorschach, at which point he told a story about Ditko defining his moral code with the aid of a blank card and a black marker - "there is black, and there is white, and there is nothing in between" - giving me his best intense mad stare as he did so. Then he started talking about the kettle melting over the hearth during the last ripper murder, and that was even better. Looking back I expect he was simply trying to scare me off. I saved him any further effort by kicking a cup of coffee over his carpet, so I was too mortified to ever contact the man again even though he dismissed my apologies and made me another cup. In my mind at the time it was the equivalent of visiting William Burroughs and accidentally killing one of his cats, or going round Andy Warhol's and blocking the toilet.

Yes, he did the Mr A bit!

More scary than his stare though are his bejewelled fingers. It'd really, really hurt if you decided to call him a wierdo and he pummled you one!

Ditko's Spiderman is rubbish compared to the Turkish version. Death by propellor ftw.

Great programme though. I was a little concerned at Ross' fawning at the start and I thought it would be one of his insincere sycophantic love-ins but it did seem very genuine.

He's been pontificating about comics sinces the late 80s/early 90s.

I find it slightly annoying that this, and the brilliant Comics Brittania are just on BBC 3 though - Those two very enjoyable programmes surely could have found a place on BBC 2.

Still, anytime comics are discussed on TV is a jolly good thing really.

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I know what you mean about these programmes getting a wider audience on BBC2 but BBC4 seasons are almost always fantastic and you just couldn't do them on a channel like 2. I'd rather them do a season of shows justice (such as the animation and British sc-fi ones) and get a smaller audience (the people interested in the subjects normally don't have trouble finding these shows) than having a half arsed job on one of the major channels that have a one off special.

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Missed this, but I guess it'll be repeated two or three times this week, like the last one. Was Moore doing his Ditko impersonation? I 'interviewed' him back in the 80s (more accurately just listened to him in teenage awe) and he was talking about Ditko and Rorschach, at which point he told a story about Ditko defining his moral code with the aid of a blank card and a black marker - "there is black, and there is white, and there is nothing in between" - giving me his best intense mad stare as he did so.

Yep, he did that!

Then he started talking about the kettle melting over the hearth during the last ripper murder, and that was even better.

Not that though. :wub:

Great programme though. I was a little concerned at Ross' fawning at the start and I thought it would be one of his insincere sycophantic love-ins but it did seem very genuine.

Yes, if he was interviewing Stan Lee for his Friday Night show, he'd never have tried so hard to get a precise answer out of him.

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Yes, if he was interviewing Stan Lee for his Friday Night show, he'd never have tried so hard to get a precise answer out of him.

First time I've seen old Stan Lee talk fairly serious about things. I tend to lean on his side of the argument - he had the original idea, he created it. And like he said, if it had become a donkey, then he'd have it on his shoulders.

Ditko made the character what it was though, and made Spiderman huge.

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I didn't see this show, but it sounds like Ross actually got some answers from Stan Lee (if not Ditko himself) - I'm sure it'll be available online pretty soon if anyone else missed it. In the meantime, if you really want to catch up on your Spidey, I got a disc set while I was out in New York that's got every freaking issue of The Amazing Spider-man, from the sixties to mid 2006, all for about £20 - complete with all the letters and bullpen bulletins and stuff like that.

I also have a Fantastric Four one I'm slowly working my way through, so haven't started the Spidey one yet, but both collections are obviously superb value (and just plain superb too). It's so weird, reading the letters from kids who are being shipped off to Viet Nam but are still innocent enough to write letters to the comics about whether Johnny Storm and Crystal should get married, etc. And it turns out Fellini was a fan of Stan's too, the editor's column relates him turning up at Marvel headquarters back in the mid sixties to discuss the FF and Spidey!

You can buy those disc set comic volumes over at amazon.com (dunno about UK), they have a bunchof others like Hulk and Xmen too. Here's the link for the Spidey set: http://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Spider-Man-C...9991&sr=8-6

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I didn't see this show, but it sounds like Ross actually got some answers from Stan Lee (if not Ditko himself) - I'm sure it'll be available online pretty soon if anyone else missed it.

I think it'll be repeated this week on BBC Four sometime. As for the Stan Lee interview, it was admirable that Ross did push Stan Lee to revealing a few home truths over who created Spider-Man and I think Stan Lee probably revealed something he didn't mean to. It did make for some very interesting viewing especially when they introduce Ditko's take on the whole affair via a comic he did in '99.

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I 'interviewed' him back in the 80s (more accurately just listened to him in teenage awe) and he was talking about Ditko and Rorschach, at which point he told a story about Ditko defining his moral code with the aid of a blank card and a black marker - "there is black, and there is white, and there is nothing in between" - giving me his best intense mad stare as he did so. Then he started talking about the kettle melting over the hearth during the last ripper murder, and that was even better. Looking back I expect he was simply trying to scare me off. I saved him any further effort by kicking a cup of coffee over his carpet, so I was too mortified to ever contact the man again even though he dismissed my apologies and made me another cup. In my mind at the time it was the equivalent of visiting William Burroughs and accidentally killing one of his cats, or going round Andy Warhol's and blocking the toilet.

Awesome!

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Awesome!

Looking back, yeah, but you can imagine how mortified I was on the way home. "What have I done? I was in Alan fucking Moore's house and I kicked coffee all over his carpet!" Obviously I was imagining that following the interview the two of us would become best friends and Alan would come to me for plot advice when he was stuck. Still, he did send me off with a huge pile of Watchmen merchandise, because the interview was for my sixth-form communication studies project on the same. He went up into his loft several times and kept coming down with fabulous booty - one of the slipcased hardcover editions, a signed and numbered art portfolio, badges, all the role-playing figures and modules... it was like Crackerjack but with Charles Manson instead of Stu Francis.

Now I feel mean because he was very accommodating and generous. Maybe more like Howard Hughes than Charles Manson.

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Now I feel mean because he was very accommodating and generous. Maybe more like Howard Hughes than Charles Manson.

I was producing my own small press comics / fanzines around the time Alan Moore mania really kicked off (just before he hit the big time, when everyone in the world of UK comics thought he was the bee's knees because of the Warrior stuff, and Swamp Thing, but before Watchmen), and every other fanzine used to have an Alan Moore interview in it.

I put a tag line on my comic saying "The magazine without an Alan Moore interview!"

What an idiot. The guy was spending an incredible amount of his time speaking for hours to any kid who asked, happily being interviewed and giving a sales boost to every little magazine in the country, mopping up coffee stains on his carpet and giving out merchandise left, right and centre, and all I could do was make a snide comment about him on the front of my crappy comic.

I'm still ashamed of myself to this day.

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He genuinely enjoys talking about stuff, I think, but that became a problem because he made himself too accessible. I remember him saying in an interview that he'd get people ringing him up during dinner all the time because they'd looked in the phone book and found his number, and evidently decided he'd be up for some chit-chat. It's no wonder he went mad, really. He seems to have returned to those days somewhat now, though, there seem to be a fair amount of recent lengthy interviews, though more about magic than comics. I suppose these days he's probably being interviewed in every magic fanzine.

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Is that the one with him walking around Northampton? If so, I had a battered old VHS copy of that for a while, before the days of bittorrent. Either way I think I'll take another look at it.

I don't recognise all the locations, but it's probably the one you're thinking of. I just had a quick check of it and warm memories came flooding back - there he is in a white suit, reading a Future Shock to his kids on the sofa. Great stuff. It was from '87, so I'd have been 16 when I first saw that. Exactly the kind of thing you should be watching at 16, I say.

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