Comic Legends: Did Untold Tales Block Ditko's Return to Spider-Man?

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

As always, there will be three different posts for each legend this week! This is another all-Steve Ditko week!

NOTE: If the CSBG Twitter page hits 11,000 followers, I'll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow the CSBG Twitter page!


Steve Ditko decided not to return to Marvel to do a Spider-Man project in the 1990s because Untold Tales of Spider-Man irked him.


Basically True

Last week, I did a legend about how, amazingly enough (pun intended), Steve Ditko was in talks with Marvel editor Ralph Macchio to return to Marvel to do a brand-new Spider-Man project that would be set after Peter Parker graduated high school. However, the deal fell through.

My pal, G. Kendall, who writes awesome articles for CBR about the X-Men and Batman Animated Series, let me know that he had heard that John Byrne had said that Ditko backed out because he saw a copy of the series, Untold Tales of Spider-Man, on Ralph Macchio's desk. At the same time, Glenn Greenberg, who was the assistant editor on Untold Tales of Spider-Man and helped develop the series with editor Tom Brevoort, ALSO wrote to me to separately to tell me the same basic story!

Untold Tales of Spider-Man, if you aren't familiar with it, was this awesome comic book series from the mid-1990s by Kurt Busiek, Pat Olliffe and AL Vey, that took place between issues (or sometimes even PANELS) of the original Amazing Spider-Man comic book series by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

Here are a few pages from the first issue...

Now compare them to Amazing Spider-Man #6, which they take place after, continuity-wise...

Busiek makes it look seamless, no?

Well, that, as it turned out, was a bit of the problem.

When Ditko found out about the series, he was not happy. He felt that this was essentially saying that he now had collaborators that he never knew about on the original stories. Not only that, but because his planned project was ALSO going to be a continuity insert, he would be "collaborating" with Busiek NOW, as well.

That did not sit well with Ditko for whatever reason, and so he squelched the deal with Marvel. Untold Tales of Spider-Man ended soon after (Greenberg believes that it was partially canceled due to its perceived role in Ditko walking away from the deal).

Crazy stuff.

Thanks to G. Kendall and Glenn Greenberg for the awesome piece of information!

Check out some legends from Legends Revealed:

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Check back later for part 2 of this week's legends (we got pushed off Friday night because of SDCC)!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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