Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pop focus: The (Dr.) Strange art of Steve Ditko

With a Dr. Strange movie on the horizon from Marvel, let's look back to the roots of the character, and spotlight the amazing, other worldly art of Steve Ditko, who co-created the character with Stan Lee.




Ditko is a master at using his character's hands as a mode of expression and storytelling. Doctor Strange, in particular, is fascinating to look at in this light, as he expressively conjures up magic.


Ditko's use of shapes and patterns to portray magical energies and other realms and cosmic beings is also highly unique and pioneering in the field of comics.




Below: One of the few photos of the reclusive Ditko.

One of only a few pictures of Steve Ditko











Dr. Strange's astral travels.



The distinctive window of Dr. Strange's Greenwich Village pad (above right and below) was inspired by a similar window in Will Eisner's "Spirit" strip (above left). The influence of Eisner's early work on the "Spirit" is evident on Ditko's line work and visual conception. The two images above are from this site. Notice the window design is also repeated on the cupboard in the picture below.




After Ditko left Marvel, the excellent Marie Severin had the unenviable task of following him up, doing her best to capture the trippy nature of the strip.

Marvel developed a strong college/hippie readership in the mid to late 1960s and Dr. Strange was obviously a favorite. Despite the appearance of his art, however, Ditko was decidedly not influenced by LSD or other drug use and was, in fact, very conservative devoting his later career to comics focused on the black/white, every many for himself philosophy of Ayn Rand.

The Severin image below made its way onto the cover of Pink Floyd's second LP, A Saucerful of Secrets.



Via a YouTube, a narrated Dr. Strange using images and text from the comic and music by Pink Floyd.




And finally, here's "In Search of Steve Ditko," an excellent documentary from BBC TV.


1 comment:

  1. Awesome article. I love Steve Ditko's artwork. Dr. Strange, Starman, Shade, and the Creeeper among my favorites.

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