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The Silver Surfer

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
In Reply To

Member Since: Fri Nov 26, 2021
Subj: Re: Ditko, Objectivism, Marvel: A Time for Reassessment?
Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2022 at 07:30:41 am EDT (Viewed 98 times)
Reply Subj: Ditko, Objectivism, Marvel: A Time for Reassessment?
Posted: Tue Jun 07, 2022 at 07:56:58 am EDT (Viewed 136 times)

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This is a post that I can say has been years in the making:

For as long as I've known about comics, Steve Ditko has been famous (in that's it's the first two things you hear about the guy) for two things. Creating Spider-Man, and being an Objectivist. Both of these things are true.

Whenever I've come across commentary on Ditko's run on Spider-Man, you keep hitting many posts that bring up Objectivist influences on Spider-Man:
-- Supposedly Ditko objected to Norman Osborn being Green Goblin because a Randian would never want a businessman to be a bad guy (which is now totally debunked).
-- The protest scene in ASM#38 is a sign of Randian ideas manifesting (which led Al Ewing to have Spider-Man apologize for it in-page).
-- Neil Gaiman said in Jonathan Ross' BBC Documentary that Ditko and Lee disagreed politically, Ditko was "impossibly uptight" while Stan was the liberal friend of fans.

I am not a fan of Ayn Rand at all. In fact I think she's a damaging figure in many ways. But it's just that as someone who read Spider-Man comics at the time, I really didn't see any of this stuff reflected on page. So I researched Ditko for years. So I've written an article that looks at the "Randian Interpretation" of Ditko's time at Marvel as a whole. I go point by point, look at the evidence, and the latest up to date research, to hopefully complicate this stuff. Let me say, that I don't have any smoking gun one way or another, but I do think the existing assumptions about Rand and Ditko and how it affected Spider-Man (and for that matter Dr. Strange) needs to be reassessed.

You make a pretty big leap in logic.

You jumped to the conclusion that it was changed to censor it, but oddly but oddly, the quote before that does not justify it.

Evanier says that Lee changed it to more conform with the traditional Marvel concept. Then you say it was clearly to censor.

His makes far more sense. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby both had flaws. Stan had a tendency to make things kind of formulaic, and the misunderstood monster was certainly a standby at Marvel.

You took a quote, and then attributed an entirely different meaning than what it says.

Stan Lee was also the editor, something he desperately needed. His solo work highlights that fact. His Captain America in the 70s is a rambling mess. that borders on being unreadable, and even his magnum opus the Fourth Word... which I love... has some serious structural problems in terms of basic story telling.

I say this as someone who works with editors on a regular basis, things get changed around all the time. It is rarely as dramatic as people want to make it. However, those edited do have a habit of thinking it is more...and I say from experience, both mine and colleagues.

Kirby also had a habit of, let's say bending the truth to make a better story for himself. He has said he landed in the first month of the Normandy invasion, when casualties were still high and it was actually in August after the last of the fighting ended. In an issue of Kirby Collector, he claimed he was responsible for liberating a concentration camp, even gave detail, and that is provably wrong.

It is very possible Jack Kirby was making himself see better. I cant say that for sure, but neither can you, and neither can Evanier...he was in Middle School at the time. I am just saying, you have a pretty big leap in logic.

Just to be clear, I do think the idea of Stan Lee being a liberal is a bit off base. I think people jump to that conclusion based on a few factors.

After Ditko left, Spider-Man started supporting Randy Robertson's protests. Captain America also Notably showed loose support for protestors in when Lee worked with Colan, and expressively showing a figure corrupting idealistic youth with violence, but the overall idea being supported.

Of course, none of these are really political. Robertson wants cheaper housing, if memory serves, and Cap steers clear of the whole issue just saying he supports their rights.

Then of course, there is Captain America #122, where Captain America has a five page soliloquies about how he should have "battled less and questioned more." He also notable talks of a fondness for JFK, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr.... all people Rand loathed... by name.

Of course, that scene ended with Cap saying he should buck up, and that the old-fashioned an new are not so different, and defended the establishment. Oddly, including MLK as a part of it, which doe not make a whole lot of sense,'

Then, of course, is Lee's Silver Surfer run, which gets a little Hippie-sh. The constant talk of brotherhood, and how humans exploit the planet is pretty anti-Rand. That of course would not mean he never was, people change over time.

However, it is also not political. None of it is really. It is more philosophical musings.

IN my opinion, Stan Lee was probably not very political in general. I could see how the lone misunderstood hero could appeal to Lee. Of course, Jack Kirby loved that narrative about himself as well.

Given Lee's exuberance at putting in Black characters in comics, he clearly could be viewed as being socially liberal. However, that was not as connected to politics as people want to make it out.