I came onto the collecting scene at age 10 and issue number 62 of the Amazing Spider-Man. This was when the Silver Age hit its peak! The explosion of titles and the full-blown mastery of the form had arrived.
Spidey to me has always been the great John Romita Sr. version. Good looking people with a romantic bent and the action clean and smooth with a great sense of design.
I have always coveted the early Ditko run and have at one time or another owned the first 38 issues plus Amazing Fantasy #15 that Ditko drew but it always seemed a little clunky to me because Romita was where I came into the run.
Recently, I have again been working on getting that original Ditko run into my collection and this time something had changed. The art didn’t look clunky anymore. It looked brilliant. It is funny how one’s perception can change. I have been picking up mid grade from nice 4.0’s to 6.0’s, mostly raw, or if I get a steal, a slabbed copy in that grade range, and crack it open.
I have never enjoyed the early Ditko’s as much as I do now. Ditko’s style had always stayed”stuck in the 40’s” to me. The men’s suits, the women’s hairstyles and dresses. I am sure Mary Jane Watson would have looked nothing like the image that pops into your mind when you hear her name if Ditko had introduced her!
Having picked up 10 issues over the last few months, what really has changed for me is the absolute brilliance in the acrobatic portrayal of everybody’s favourite webspinner. Ditko was fond of 6-9 panel pages and had Spidey jumping, spinning and flipping all over the place, and if you take the time to follow those jumps and spins they usually work in perfectly seamless fashion.
Romita took Amazing Spider-Man into the modern era but Ditko definitively created the way he moved. Nobody did it better.
Take a look at the Tom Holland Spider-Man and the way he moves! That’s Ditko, through and through. Light on his feet, jumping flipping and cavorting along the rooftops like “The Amazing Spider-Man!”
Do yourself a favour, go back and take a look in one of the myriad ways you can see these issues in reprint form. Or better yet be selective about the back issues in 4.0-6.0 and hold the actual history in your hands. I’m betting you will be pleased.
Continued Happy Collecting!