Comic Legends: The Bizarre Spider-Man/Looter 'Battle' of 1966

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and thirtieth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week's legends.


Stan Lee and Steve Ditko clashed over a single panel in one of Ditko's last issue of Amazing Spider-Man



One of the fascinating things about Steve Ditko's departure from Amazing Spider-Man is the fact that while Ditko has never given one specific reason why he left, the fact remains that he pissed about SO many different things at the time that it is almost a case of, "What reason did he have to NOT leave the book?" One of the major reasons was that Marvel was beginning to license Spider-Man out for stuff like a cartoon series and Ditko wasn't getting paid a thing from these outside uses of the character that he co-created.

But another area where he was irritated was that he had enjoyed a certain degree of freedom with regard to Amazing Spider-Man that was beginning to slip away. Starting with Amazing Spider-Man #25, Ditko and Stan Lee (the scripter on the series) stopped speaking all together, with Ditko delivering the penciled pages to Marvel's office (working only with the production manager, Sol Brodsky), then Lee would script the penciled pages and Ditko would then ink the scripted pages and then someone else would letter and color the pages and then you'd have an issue of Amazing Spider-Man.

However, as the series got more and more popular, while Lee was not talking to Ditko, Marvel's publisher, Martin Goodman, WAS. Telling him general, "Hey, Steve, the fans would like more action scenes." Stuff like that.

Eventually, Ditko just got fed up and quit the book following the completed work on Amazing Spider-Man #38.

What's interesting is that Amazing Spider-Man #36 had a great example of the sort of clashes you'd get between Lee and Ditko.

The issue introduced the villain, the Looter (not one of Ditko's best creations). When Ditko penciled the book, he did not do any weblines on Spider-Man, so look at the final panel on this page, where Spidey and Looter clashed at a museum...

If you didn't have any dialogue or anything but a basic figure there, who would it be? It could be Looter, noting that he escaped or it could be Spider-Man coming outside to look for the Looter, right?

Well, Stan decided that it was Spider-Man coming out to look for the Looter, and provided dialogue as such (Ditko would often leave notes on the side for stuff like this, but I guess he thought it was clear who he meant it to be).

Ditko, though, decided to ink it as the Looter.

Roy Thomas later recalled (as part of Blake Bell's brilliant Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko:

It came back inked as the Looter. Stan was furious because he knew Steve always read the stories, but had decided he meant it to be the Looter and drew it as such. Stan had Carl Hubbell [a staff artist who would do corrections on art pieces - BC] change the costume lines on the Looter figure and add in the webbing for Spider-Man. Stan was furious, saying, 'He knew! He knew! He did this on purpose!' Steve didn't know anything about the change becuase, by the time the issue came out, Steve was already gone from Marvel.

Fascinating stuff.

Thanks to Roy Thomas and Blake Bell for the neat information!

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at CBR: Was there almost a Die Hard/Beverly Hills Cop crossover movie?

Check back later on Sunday for Part 3 of this week's legends! And remember, e-mail me at cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com if you have any suggestions for future comic book legends!

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