Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org). Here is a link to an archive of all the past questions that have been answered so far.
Reader Cass S. did a notable thing – he wrote in with a question and then he answered it himself before I could even answer it! I like the moxie, Cass!
Cass’ question was why, exactly, Steve Ditko’s name was excised from the letters column of Amazing Spider-Man when he left Marvel. Read on for the ostensible answer!
The most obvious answer is that Stan Lee did not want to promote a guy who had left the company. And I think that’s really the “true” answer, but it is interesting to see that Stan eventually did address the issue in the letter pages.
A typical letters column during the time Ditko was plotting and drawing Amazing Spider-Man went like this one from Amazing Spider-Man #36…
“Stan and Steve,” each letter would open with.
Amazing Spider-Man #38 was Ditko’s last issue, and already by THAT column, it was just “Stan”…
That followed in Amazing Spider-Man #39, John Romita’s first issue on the title, and notice how no letter even MENTIONS Steve Ditko…
That would continue, even as the letters now became “Stan and John.” Check out how this letter is oddly edited to cut out mention of Ditko…
Reading these letter columns in a row, it’s funny how Stan comes up with a joke and then repeats it. Here, in #44, he repeats a comment a reader made in #43 about how Romita draws Aunt May.
Finally, in #50, Stan addresses the issue…
Again, I think it is more likely that Stan just didn’t feel like promoting a guy who was no longer at Marvel, but possibly this WAS the “real” answer. Either way, it’s interesting that he actually felt the need to address it.
Thanks to Cass for the question and for finding the letter from #50 for me for the answer! If anyone else has a question they’d like to know the answer to (and maybe you can figure it out yourself before I answer it), drop me a line at email@example.com!
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