[comics] The Unsung Hero behind Spider-Man — Jonathan Ross on meeting Steve Ditko”I’m in New York, standing outside the office of my greatest hero. I know he’s inside because I called ahead and spoke to the great man. Now in his 80s, he was polite but firm. “Don’t come by,” he said. “I’m too busy. I don’t have anything to say to you. But thank you.” I have decided, perhaps unwisely and rudely, to ignore him. I need to know! So there I stand, on the final days of shooting my love-letter to and investigation into the strange life and work of the great Steve Ditko. And my hero has told me not to knock. But I owe it to comic fans the world over who want to hear, at last, from Ditko himself. I owe it the BBC, who have kindly allowed me to take a crew over to New York to see this thing through. Perhaps most importantly, I owe it to my 14-year-old self. So, of course, I knock … ‘

Jonathan Ross on Steve Ditko

This entry was posted on Friday, September 14th, 2007 at 2:27 pm and is filed under BBC, Comics, Guardian.

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Seen a preview DVD of this and it’s great stuff, especially: Stan Lee being VERY careful with the wording of his admission that “If Steve thinks he is the co-creator, that’s fine by me”; Neil Gaiman and Rossy’s big childlike grins at the end; and just what an utter Objectivist loon Ditko really must be. Do not miss it!

I thoroughly enjoyed this programme (I actually finally bought a digibox so that I could get to see it!). Ross has been criticised in some circles for just using it as a platform to show off his encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject matter but I think this is an unjust complaint (and I speak as no fan of Mr Ross); it was a genuine pleasure to hear someone on the telly talking about a subject that I care about and neither talking down to me nor lecturing me, but just TALKING. As for Stan Lee (my greatest hero of all time) I thought he came across wonderfully. Ross got him ever so slightly rattled, and as a result Stan’s inate honesty and forthrightness came through all the better. I get Stan’s gripe about the “co-creator” tag; to him, “creator” means the guy who thought of the thing, and he’s spot on. Ditko developed Stan’s idea, and (visually) made it his own. But it’s Stan’s humanitarian writing combined with Ditko’s art that make the early Spider-Man and Dr Strange stories the classics they are today. Thanks a lot, “Wossy” for the most enjoyable TV programme of the year.

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