Tuesday, July 8, 2008

...AND ALONG CAME A SPIDER-FLY!

ITEM! Speaking of Jolly Jack Kirby, look-see what Yours Truly found while unpacking some old files down in The Crypt (my hermetically-seal comics vault deep beneath stately Lee Manor). I believe this is Jack’s original design for Spider-Man before I stuck a hyphen in the name and gave the project to Ditko to do over! I musta signed off on this one before Jack turned in his legendarily rejected pages (see this Sunny Soapbox Story for more on that). It’s interesting what 45-plus years of hindsight will do for your eyes, pilgrims. This doesn’t look all that bad to me these days, though of course I stand by my editorial decision to use Sturdy Steve’s design instead. Jack’s Spider-Man was a little bit of lots of prior Simon-Kirby heroes. I can see some Sandman and Sandy, a little Fighting American, and of course some Archie-comics-style Fly in this design. And as we all know, that’s Joe Simon’s logo work that Jack had hung onto all those years.

And if Jack’s version of Spidey also looks a little Ant-Man-like, that’s no accident either. I gave Ant-Man to Jack as a consolation prize for taking him off of Spider-Man, though he protested both decisions. Yah see, Ant-Man was one of my ideas (heck I was on a whole insect-themed run back in those days). Jack told me that a hero with the power to shrink and control ants was lamer-than-lame, but I didn’t listen to him... and as usual Jack was ultimately proven right. It wasn’t the first time nor the last. Any-hoo, enjoy this little piece of unearthed apocryphal arcana. Remember Frantic Ones, you can't get the goods anywhere but here at Ol' Uncle Stanley's Soapbox & Sundries! Tell 'em your Aunt Petunia sent yah!

Excelsior!
Smiley

3 comments:

Jasper said...

Hey Smilin' On!,

There's a really good discussion of this topic over at John Byrne's forum right here.

The forum discussion includes both Steve Ditko's version of Kirby's original design, as well as Byrne's interpretation (which is pretty similar to what you posted):

Make Mine Marvel!
J.S.

RoxR1138 said...

What I find curious is that although Ditko is the first to explain that he developed all of the Spider-Man costume design and gimmicks that we all know and love, his version of Charlton's Blue Beetle looks like it owes quite a bit to Kirby's Spider-Man design (even down to looking vaguely Sandman-esque). Coincidence?

RoxR1138

mr ed said...

Still open for business?