new
archives
faq
links
contact
facebook
X
X
X
CHAPTER NINE
X
Hello reader! This issue, we showcase Steve Ditko's original artwork for the very first Spider-Man story EVER, from AMAZING FANTASY #15, August 1962. We'll start off with the splash page, in color...
X
All twelve pages of this historic story were given to the Library of Congress in 2008 by an anonymous donor. According to a Library spokesperson, "The donor checked with Ditko before donating it, and was told that since the story was a gift to [the donor], although not from Ditko, he could do what he liked with it."

Some say the artwork was stolen, then sold to a dealer, who sold it to someone else, who may have given it to the museum. No one seems to know for sure, but Ditko commented on stolen original art dealers in the cartoon below...
X
ORIGINAL ART FOR THE FIRST SPIDEY STORY

There are several interesting marginal notes in this art, and a few lighter areas showing places where white-out was applied over the art. For example, on the page below, the Spider-Man logo was changed from the original version (presented in a previous issue of this DBB series), and Liz Allen's face was redrawn.
X
X
X
On the bottom of the page above, Stan Lee wrote a note (enlarged below) that read: "Steve, make this a sedan. No arms flailing - don't imply wild, reckless driving - S" The page's final panel was altered accordingly.
X

X
X
X
X
X
On the left side of the page above, Stan Lee wrote a note (enlarged below) that read: "Steve --Omit crook! Show door slamming!" Ditko ignored Stan's note. He left the door partially open, and drew the crook's entire body and face.
X

X
X
X
COVER STORY

"With great power, there must also come -- great responsibility!" One of the most often-quoted phrases in the history of comicdom!

Now that the story was finished, it was time for Steve Ditko to draw the book's front cover.

According to Ditko, "There is some confusion about the 'first' Spider-man cover. I penciled and inked the first cover after I inked the first story, the cover (always) being done last. Which means Spider-Man had a costume, used in the story, the web-designed costume I brought into existence. So I am the creator of it, and the published Spider-Man costume is my creation."

"I drew the first cover," Ditko continues, "from a subjective viewpoint. I wanted to put the reader/viewer up front with the swinging Spider-Man, to be a part of the activity, to see and realize the danger in falling, in having a sense of swinging along with Spider-Man."

Ditko's cover is pictured below...
X
The Spidey figure on Ditko's AF cover resembles the Superman figure on the cover to WORLD'S FINEST #125, May 1962, which would have been on sale when Ditko was doing the Spidey cover.

Did Stan Lee suggest that Steve use the WF cover as a model, just as he had once directed Jack Kirby to use a BRAVE AND BOLD cover featuring the Justice League as a model for the first issue of THE FANTASTIC FOUR? Or is Robby just suggesting this as an excuse to do a cover mashup?

Below, a side-by-side comparison of the two covers...
X
As it turns out, Stan didn't like Ditko's first Spidey cover. He had Jack Kirby draw a new one...
X
And here it is in glorious full color. Introducing SPIDER-MAN!
X
Here's what the cover might have looked like if Jack Kirby's original version of the character had survived, courtesy of artist John Byrne...
X

And here's a recent painting by Joe Simon of his "original original" Spiderman.

For years now, Stan Lee has been saying that he persuaded publisher Martin Goodman to let him run Spider-Man in AMAZING FANTASY #15 because that was to be the title's final issue. Stan says after the issue came out, they forgot about Spider-Man for months, until the book's sales figures came out. THEN they decided to give Spidey his won title. But this cannot be what actually happened.

The blurb at the end of the story asks readers to "see the next issue," and the original art (pictured below) shows that the title AMAZING ADULT FANTASY has been whited-out and replaced with AMAZING FANTASY.
X

Pictured BELOW is an announcement that appeared on the book's letters page, supposedly designated months earlier as the title's "final issue."
X
Hmmm. Doesn't sound like a final issue to me. And it doesn't sound like Spider-Man was "forgotten" for a single minute! How could he have been, when Stan was offering to do TWO Spidey stories a month? And it can't be a coincidence that when it came out, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 actually DID feature TWO Spidey stories! "By popular demand?"

BELOW: Kirby's AF #15 cover reprinted on the Italian edition of Spider-Man.
X
BELOW: Ditko's rejected cover on a foreign edition.
X

The Kirby version, re-colored using modern techniques...
X

A recent reinterpretation by Iron Man artist Adi Granov.

Decades after drawing the original, Jack Kirby was commissioned to recreate his classic AMAZING FANTASY cover -- but this time, instead of a random villain, Jack drew Spidey holding Steve Ditko! (As usual, Jack got Spidey's costume webbing and spider-insignia all wrong.)
X


SPIDEY THE BILLIONAIRE

Pictured on the RIGHT is a blurb that appeared recently on a popular comic book/collectibles auction web site. The general public still regards comic books as juvenile trash, but one thing people do respect is MONEY. Even the biggest comic book hater alive has to sit up and take notice when a SINGLE COMIC BOOK sells for well over a million bucks!

Consider the implications of this. If you had purchased ONE THOUSAND of these comic books in 1962, for 12 cents each, it would have coast you a whopping $120. Today, these books would literally be worth more than ONE BILLION DOLLARS! Wow, baby -- A BIIIILLION DOLLARS! that's enough to pay off Austin Power's foe, Dr. Evil! If you remember that movie.

THE WEEK SPIDEY WENT ON SALE

Pictured below is EVERY SINGLE comic Marvel put on sale the same week AMAZING FANTASY #15 went on sale. All cover-dated August 1962. As you can see, Marvel introduced both Spider-Man and Thor the same week! Some say these two were created to be the Marvel Universe analogs to Batman and Superman! It was probably a big week for Patsy and Hedy too...
X

THE NAKED NEWSSTAND

Can you imagine passing a newsstand and seeing both the first SPIDEY and the first THOR on sale? Well, in a strange twist of trivia, you don't have to imagine! You can SEE what it actually looked like.

Dig this -- Jack Kirby's original Spidey cover, as well as his first Thor cover, appeared on national television in an episode of NAKED CITY, a 1958–1963 crime drama that focused on the lives of the detectives of New York's 65th Precinct.

The show's closing lines, "There are a million stories in the NAKED CITY. This has been one of them!" became a famous and widely-used national catch-phrase during the show's glory years, and to this day among those who remember the show.

In one episode, guest star Burgess Meredith (future Penguin on the Batman TV show) passes by a newsstand on the street. Can you guess what was on DISPLAY on that newsstand?
X
You got it -- comic books! And not just ANY comic books, but one of the most important and historic comics ever published -- the first THOR story ever, in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #83! Cover by Jack Kirby, of course.

Also shown, sort of, are the August 1962 issues of THIRTEEN, THE FLINTSTONES, and LOIS LANE. They're all there-- attached to rope line with small metal clips. Yikes! Goodbye, near mint status! This scene was apparently shot several times, because the comics move around in different shots. Look what show up clearly in THIS shot -- none other than the first Spider-Man story ever in AMAZING FANTASY #15! The actual on-sale date for this book, cover-dated August, was June 5, 1962.
X
There are a million stories in the NAKED CITY...
X
...this has been one of them!
X
X
How Spidey got his adjective!
X
X
X
X