The Art of the Steve Ditko Fight Sequence

We are getting so close to point where I can just release a big post collecting all of my Steve Ditko articles. Unless someone sends in a suggestion that I think is worth writing about, we're really just at one more article before I collect them all. Of course, though, if you do want to write in suggestions for future Steve Ditko articles, I'm still accepting them. I don't particularly mind pushing the collection off another couple of articles. It's not like we're working on any sort of deadline here. So if you have an idea for something Ditko-related that you'd like to see me write about, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com.

Anyhow, based on a suggestion from reader Rob H., we take a look at Steve Ditko's history of amazing fight sequences.

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Here is the most important thing that you have to remember about Steve Dikto and fight sequences. He didn't really do any of them until he started on Spider-Man. I mean, don't get me wrong, of course he drew the occasional fight sequence, but generally speaking Ditko's stories for Marvel and Charlton dealt with horror. He had only inked a single issue of Incredible Hulk before he started work on Amazing Fantasy, and the introduction of Spider-Man. Actually, think about that for a bit. The first superhero he designed was also one of the greatest looking superhero costumes of all-time. Talk about beginner's luck! Not only did Ditko not draw superheroes, but he barely even drew one of the other dominant genres of the late 1950s/early 1960s, which is the western comic book. Westerns would often have plenty of fight sequences in them.

Ditko, though, not only specialized in horror and fantasy, but he barely even worked on your standard "monster that fights people" character. I noted this during my recent article about Ditko's time drawing monsters for Marvel that Ditko mostly stuck to the cerebral/spooky stuff instead of the stories that had more fight scenes in them.

For instance, in one of those "twisty" stories that Ditko became so famous for, he came up with a powerful monster (who turned out to be a speck of dust that got washed away when water was poured on his "planet") and see how there is little actual fighting done by this monster...

So keep that in mind when we he suddenly had to start doing fight sequences on a regular basis in the pages of the Spider-Man feature.

You'll notice, then, that in the first couple of stories, Spider-Man doesn't do a whole lot of what you would think about as a traditional Ditko "fight".

Check out Amazing Fantasy #15's big fight scene...

(Although, note that that punch that Spidey throws is totally a precursor to future Ditko fight scenes)

Or the famous fight against the Fantastic Four in Amazing Spider-Man #1....

Not a BAD fight, but the fluidity certainly wasn't there like it would soon be.

Then the "fight" with the Chameleon later in the issue is basically nothing...

This is what makes the fight sequence that Ditko comes up with just THREE issues later so remarkable.

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