Sunday, 8 July 2018

Dave on Ditko

Hi, Everybody!

As I mentioned yesterday, I faxed Dave about the passing of Steve Ditko.

Here is his response:

Thanks to Eddie Khanna for getting Dave's fax to me.

Next Time: "Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mr. Robinson, Cerebus loves you more than you will know Wo wo wo"


Scott said...

I don't think Dave's asessment of Ditko being universally reviled, etc. matches the data. It may be that Ditko (and Dave) feel that way at times, but the facts don't support it, at least for Ditko.

Anonymous said...

Of course Ditko's death is REALLY about Dave, you see. The mind boggles at the unending narcissism.

Birdsong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Anon.: It's an interesting question: How necessary was Dave's undeniable narcissism to his achievement? Was the fact that he divided the world into "that which will advance the career" and "everything else" -- that single-minded devotion to himself -- the factor that both strengthened him to devote himself to his magnificent octopus and gave him permission to use people as objects? (And, as we see from the first sentence of his fourth paragraph, it's very important to Dave that he be unique, a special snowflake.)

-- Damian

Jeff said...

Damian, as usual, you are being obtuse. Dave was, in the example given, trying to be literary. Obviously, he is not on his own. He still has...what?...a dozen...supporters. At least. Including, weirdly, you.

Glen said...

"...........I'm sure Steve would have preferred I destroy the letters-- he never wanted any of his letters viewed publicly--but I'm constitutionally incapable of doing that..."


I didn't know Dave was a country with his own flag and central bank.

There is nothing preventing Dave from going in his filing cabinet this morning & shredding his correspondence with Ditko. No one would ever know.

JLH said...

Anyone who thinks Ditko is universally loved hasn't read Twitter lately (I sure wish I hadn't).

Unknown said...

1) Dave has in his hands HISTORICAL and vital documents which SHOULD be released to the public after Ditko's death... Like right now.

2) If you LOVE Spider-Man... then by extension... you LOVE Ditko...
from all I've read and seen... Ditko WAS Peter Parker. The man placed his essence into Peter Parker, end to end.

3) additional to POINT (1) Ditko's correspondence MUST be preserved and released.
It is essential documentation to the history of Comic books and the think of the few that would be considered CORNER STONES... GIANTS... in the medium.

Jack said...

Peter Bagge's "The Megalomaniacal Spider-Man" is based on the premise that Peter Parker was a cross between Stan Lee and Ditko. Over the course of the story, Peter becomes the narcissistic head of a corporation who makes J. Jonah Jameson lick his shoes (I think there is some kind of possibly apocryphal story about Lee having Marvel staffers bow down to him) and then an Ayn Rand-spouting recluse.

Anonymous said...

"Constitutionally" has another meaning, the one Dave is clearly invoking (Merriam-Webster):
1 a : in accordance with one's constitution constitutionally unable to grasp subtleties
b : in structure, composition, or constitution despite repeated heatings the material remained constitutionally the same


Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Obtuse, Jeff? If you are familiar with Dave's writing, you will know that he frequently claims that he's all alone in his opinion, nobody else agrees with him, he's the only person who thinks this. Everything he does is unique: Longest story, first person to invent a unified field theory, only person to truly understand the bible, everybody ignored is comicbook, he is universally hated, etc. It's very important to Dave that this be the case. Dave can't settle for being "very good", or even "the best". He's got to be unprecedented.

It's an interesting question as to whether this narcissism was necessary -- the tree on which Dave could hang his ambition, his self-discipline, and his sheer bloody-mindedness to see him through the creation of Cerebus.

-- Damian

Glen said...


I believe the "constitutionally" Dave is referring to is the legal framework he drew up with his lawyer to maintain the Cerebus archive preventing him from tampering with any of it's contents.

Jack said...

People say, "I'm constitutionally incapable..." all the time in reference to their own physical/psychological makeup and not any legal framework. This is a rare case in which Dave is saying something perfectly normal.

Tony Dunlop said...

If Mr. Ditko wanted the correspondence destroyed, then it should be destroyed. Give the man the privacy he so clearly cherished. That's my 2 cents.

Tony again said...

JLH, I never read Twitter (or any other (anti-)social media for that matter)- the only exception is President Trump's tweets, and those purely for the entertainment value.

Mouse Skull Entertainment said...

I'm with Tony on this one.

Ditko wanted it destroyed, destroy it.

Any claim to his letters by History is superseded by his stated desires.

(Come on Eddie, NOBODY is gonna be writing/drawing the "Strange Death of Steve Ditko" anytime soon...)

Travis Pelkie said...

I take the Max Brod/Kafka approach -- Kafka wanted Brod to destroy his writings posthumously, but Brod didn't, and culture would have been less without Kafka's work.

Not that this is necessarily in the same category, but c'mon, Ditko/Sim correspondence? It's important to the history of comics and I suspect is fascinating.

I think Dave probably is smart to keep punting the decision down the line and let someone else decide who should get access to these letters in the future.

Eddie said...

Actually I’m currently gong through a Comic Art Metaphysics experience researching something similar regarding Margaret Mitchell and the typescript for GONE WITH THE WIND.

She pretty explicitly wanted all traces and copies of the GWTW manuscript destroyed after her death (except for a few examples to be kept in a bank vault in case anyone ever disputed her authorship of the work, only accessible by the GWTW Estate), and the manuscript for the last several chapters “somehow” found their way into the hands of Macmillan President George Brett Jr. (I say “somehow,” because there are different possible reasons given as to why he exactly he came to possess them, including possibilities they were never returned to her after she submitted them for publishing (deliberately or not), or that they were a gift to Brett from Mitchell. I have to say, regardless of how close a relationship they may have had, (which sounds like it was much closer than the typical relationship between the head of a publishing company and an authoress) I find that reason pretty unlikely, given how protective she was over the work, and how vehement she was the manuscript be destroyed). Brett donated the pages to a library in Connecticut, (along with other GWTW memorabilia) in the 50’s where they were rediscovered in 2011 and used in an exhibition commemorating the 75th anniversary of the GWTW. There’s also a story that after her death, her husband John Marsh began to burn everything she wanted destroyed, but couldn’t follow through on it after he began, and some of the material survived (but I haven’t seen it related as a possible reason for how the typescript pages remained with Brett).

I’ve been pondering if the GWTW Estate in 2011 felt they had an obligation to try and get back those pages and destroy them, or if they believed it wasn’t worth the effort (which I think would have been a losing battle for them, since it would be difficult to prove they weren’t a gift), or if they thought it was beneficial to the work and Mitchell’s legacy to have the pages remain with the library for research and future generations (and more practical; this would absolve them of any responsibility of having to make a decision to destroy the pages, in accordance with her wishes, or keep them intact as part of the GWTW legacy).

I’m not sure right now if the sealed Ditko/Sim correspondence contains Dave’s letters as well, or only Ditko’s side, and if Ditko thought he had any say over what happened to Dave’s side of the correspondence. Regardless, I’m glad I don’t have to make a decision about this anytime soon (hopefully!!). I also remember Dave telling me about them for the first time at the glamourpuss photo shoot in Halifax in 2010. You want to talk about memorable experiences, try having Dave Sim look you straight in the eye and tell you he’s been corresponding with Steve Ditko!

Tony again said...

The thing is, I'd REALLY like to read them, but I'd feel dirty somehow for doing so.

Anonymous said...

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Manqueman said...

Anyone who uses the word collectivists in these times is at best an ignorant borderline sociopath -- seriously. May as well be slapping that word on anyone who isn't an adherent of that anti-social philosophy, Objectivism -- that creation of a narcissist who remained bitter her entire life over family property being taken by the commies and forced into exile. (Not that I have a problem with being upset over property being taken by the state (or for a state to empower an extractive economy, which is its role in an Objectivist environment) or being forced into exile. The problems are of course legit. Rand's response was not.)
Also, I have a theory -- I'm sure not original at all -- that there's what people say and what what they're saying also says. Dave's implication that Ditko was either universally despised or, I dunno, the degree he was is some sort of abomination says more about how Dave thinks of Dave than the reality about Ditko. Yo know: Provocative positions elicit relatively extreme responses. Sad (maybe) but true. Ditko's creator-owned stuff with its childish absolutes was certainly provocative. But with that, Ditko is also a highly loved creator. But as he said ad nauseam, he wants his work speak for him. Which it does. I should add that the preceding notwithstanding, I admire Ditko's commitment to his beliefs.

Slumbering Agartha said...

"Of course Ditko's death is REALLY about Dave, you see. The mind boggles at the unending narcissism."

Trying to bite my tongue but I just can't let it go. This sickens me. There is nothing narcissistic about Dave's statement. His connection to Ditko runs deep--certainly deeper than you seem to be aware of, "Anon". Trust me when I tell you that no one in Ditko's camp shares your garbage analysis.

Ray Cornwall said...

Do we know that Ditko would have wanted the letter destroyed, or not released to the public? I know Ditko didn't want his picture circulated, but did he really want his letters to be uncirculated/destroyed? I've never heard that.

I'm curious, not trying to provoke.