Just after New Year's I decided I would write a letter to legendary artist and Spider-Man Co-creator, Steve Ditko. I wrote out the letter in February and mailed it out and today I received a reply. My Original Letter was:
Dear Steve Ditko,
How are you? I am writing you today because recently I had my first book published, which was a type of autobiography on what comic books brought to my life. As a comic book reader for many years, Spider-Man has held a special place in my heart and I remember seeing my first Spider-Man book, which was a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #13, the first appearance of Mysterio. It belonged to my grandfather, the man who introduced me to comic books and I remember looking at the cover and being a bit scared but curious about the villain, Mysterio on the front cover. He opened the book up and read the wrinkled and torn pages of the book the best he could. Age and poor storage had really damaged the book over the years. I remember being just taken in by your artwork that really set the tone for who would become my favorite Spider-Man villain. The way you illustrated Mysterioâ€™s smoke and illusions was something else and I remember my grandfather explaining how Mysterio was this special effects guy like the people who made Star Wars and thatâ€™s why he looked the way he did and how his powers work. My question is, what went into the creation of Mysterioâ€™s iconic look? From the â€œfishbowlâ€ to those creepy eyes on his collar? Was the House of Wax any influence on the design and how did you work his smoke screens in so seamlessly with his appearance?
I wish I still had the torn issue of Amazing Spider-Man #13 still with me but it was lost many years ago and has never been seen again. I hope to one day own a great copy of the issue as it marked an important time in my life between myself and my grandfather. Thank you for your time and best wishes to you.
Steve Ditko replied:
Congratulations on having your first book published. It's not an easy thing to do. Mysterio was certainly an off-beat comic book villain, but he worked in that particular fiction/fantasy story world, Spider-Man. The universe is continually changing and so is everyone's life, ect. One has to adapt. We all have to work, set in the time, age we are in. There are no guarantees, but it's always proven that one can succeed if one has the right idea for the time. Today's reprints about everything done before make it appear nothing done is actually lost.
But one can't be aware of everything or needs to be. One has to start from where one is, and try to take advantage of what one can.
I have to admit receiving this letter today really turn my entire day around. I woke up on both a literal and metaphorical "rainy day." Steve's words were very inspiring about no matter how life is, we can always take what is best from it and work it to our advantage and make it great, especially in writing. Thank you so much, Steve Ditko you are truly one of the greats.
Wow, I'd be so thrilled to get a response from the Silver Age's biggest mystery man! That's very cool... But good googa mooga that's some Mad-Hatter level guidance he's throwing at ya.
"Today's reprints about everything done before make it appear nothing done is actually lost. But one can't be aware of everything or needs to be. One has to start from where one is, and try to take advantage of what one can."
OK, Steve, if you say so!
Mysterio is probably my favorite Spidey villain, also, so I was eager to read how he came up with him... Sounds like he doesn't remember, and he didn't feel like going all Smilin' Stan, and didn't just make something up to appease a fan.
Congrats on getting the response, though. That letter is kind of like the Holy Grail of comic collectibles. Thanks for sharing!