Friday, February 08, 2008

Mitch on "In Search of Steve Ditko"

This is another for the "late-to-the-game" file.

Last night, I finally tracked down the BBC's terrific documentary "In Search of Steve Ditko" online. You can find it in seven parts here

Try to take a look at it soon, because the BBC never lets it stay online too long. The film follows a journalist named Jonathan Ross [cq], as tries to track down the still living and legendarily reclusive Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko. Along the way he interviews Alan Moore, Mark Millar, Joe Q, Neil Gaiman, and ultimately Stan Lee; who is, for the first time I've ever seen, not his chipper, carnival-barking self. Ross puts Lee on the defensive about whether he was the "true" creator of Spider-Man, and the usually unflappable Lee is... well… very visibly flapped.

You'll find a lot of bona fide treasures in here—like Moore performing a "dramatic reading" of a song he wrote about Ditko (!!), and some interesting studies into the creation of Ditko’s more paranoid characters like The Question (and by extension, Moore's Rorschach). But what I really walked away from this documentary with is a true sense of the raw deal Ditko got. He's renting an office in midtown Manhattan, so he must be doing okay. But still. Alan Moore once said that he’ll never go back writing the big comic companies' characters; not because of his own contractual issues with them, but because he can see a long line of disenfranchised old men lingering around every one of those trademarked characters like ghosts.


Streebo said...

This is a fantastic documentary. highly recommended. I love the part where Jonathan Ross makes Stan Lee admit that he really doesn't want to share creative credit with anyone.

Joe B said...

That was great! Thanks for the link. You have no idea how tempted I am to take the train to the city and drop by Steve's office.

Christian said...

Was a lot of fun, and despite some peoples' opinions, I quite like how they overdramatized Ditko. If they'd been realistic about it, technically it would have been a 10 min. doc about checking the New York phonebook, where Ditko is, in actuality, listed.

And according to Mike Oeming, he buys breakfast at the same McDonald's every morning.

Jason Powell said...

Apropos of nothing: As part of my job I often have to check the spellings of actors' names -- be they new or old.

The other day I went on imdb to confirm the spelling of Ralph Macchio and was surprised to see that imdb thinks he appears as himself in "In Search of Steve Ditko".

Pretty funny. I assume that the Ralph Macchio who appears in "Search" is the one who was an editor for Marvel Comics, yah?