Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and thirty-fifth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
Click here for Part 1 of this week’s legends.
Steve Ditko invented the traditional comic book corner box.
I’m Going With True
A few days ago, I did a piece about the introduction of the first comic book corner box. I said that the first comic book corner box, at least in the traditional sense (people had been putting drawings in the corners of their comics since the start of comics – we mean having a specific box with the character and other information, whether it be the date, price or what have you), was Fantastic Four #14…
And I was correct….but there’s a lot more to it than that.
Fantastic Four #14 was the first comic book to have a corner box on the cover. However, my pal Mark Ginocchio (author of the new book, 100 Things Spider-Man Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die and co-host of the All-New Amazing Spider Talk podcast!), let me know that while it did come out first, it came out the same month as Amazing Spider-Man #2, which also had a corner box on it…
In his The Comics zine in 2002, Steve Ditko claimed that he came up with the idea of featuring a corner box spotlighting Spider-Man on the cover and Stan Lee liked the idea so much that he then had Jack Kirby do the same thing with Fantastic Four, but FF just happened to come out first that month, so it gets the credit.
I’ve never seen Kirby take credit for the corner box, so considering that Amazing Spider-Man #2 (which, amazingly enough, was the first Spider-Man cover that Ditko ever did, as his original cover for Amazing Fantasy #15 was scrapped and replaced by a Kirby version of the same idea and since the Fantastic Four were spotlighted on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #1, Kirby once again got that assignment) came out that month and Ditko says that he came up with the idea, I don’t really see much reason to doubt him. Not only is Ditko pretty reliable about stuff like this, but it’s also not exactly the type of thing that you’d lie about inventing. Ditko also took credit for the addition of the spider webbing to the cover design beginning with that issue.
So here’s to you, Steve Ditko! Corner boxes are awesome!
Thanks to Mark Ginocchio and Steve Ditko for the information! Go buy both of their books (click here to get Ditko’s current creator-owned titles that are available from Robin Snyder).
EDITED TO ADD: Kate Willært wrote in on Twitter to show that Stan Lee later confirmed that Ditko came up with the idea in a letter column! Thanks, Kate!
Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed at CBR: Was The Amazing World of Gumball originally intended to be about a bunch of rejected cartoons going to school together?
Check back later tonight for Part 3 of this week’s legends! And remember, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you have any suggestions for future comic book legends!
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