Jun 8, 2010

The Spider & The Fly

An advertisement for the newest upcoming Simon/Kirby superhero, The Fly, published in the Double Life of Private Strong (June 1959), pg. 13.
The cover to Adventures of the Fly # 2 (Sep 1959). Swinging from a rope ala characters like Tarzan and Spider-man. The bad guys look a lot like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Adventures of the Fly # 4 (Jan 1960), pencils by Kirby.
According to Steve Ditko who penciled the first published appearance of Spider-man in Amazing Fantasy # 15 (Aug 1962), Kirby's unpublished original design for Spider-man looked very much like the Simon/Kirby Fly. Here are some of Ditko's comments (Alter Ego: The Comic Book Artist Collection pg. 57, 2001.)

Steve Ditko: "Who came up with the specific name, Spider-man, is for Stan and Jack to resolve. Stan said Spider-man would be a teenager with a magic ring that could transform him into an adult hero -- Spider-man. I said it sounded like the Fly, which Joe Simon had done for Archie publications. I didn't believe Jack was involved in that feature because the issues I had seen lacked the usual Kirby flair. Stan called Jack about it but I don't know what was discussed. I never talked to Jack about Spider-man, so I don't know what his ideas concerning the characters actually were. Later at some point I was given the job of drawing Spider-man. Why exactly? Stan and Jack also have to clear that up."

Here is Steve Ditko's illustration of what he recalls Jack's original Spider-Man costume looked like, compaing it to the Simon/Kirby Captain America design and his later Spider-man costume (Alter Ego: The Comic Book Artist Collection pg. 57, 2001.).

Here are some of Ditko's remarks on the unpublished original artwork to Amazing Fantasy # 15 (1962) by Jack Kirby (Alter Ego: The Comic Book Artist Collection pg. 56-57, 2001.).

Steve Ditko: "Kirby had penciled five pages of his Spider-Man. How much pure Kirby, how much Lee is for them to resolve. The splash was the only one with a drawing of Spider-Man. A typical Kirby hero/action shot. But the costume is what is important. I'm uncertain about the abstract chest design. The closest thing to it is the one on Ant-man."
Cover to Tales to Astonish # 35 (Sep 1962), art by Kirby/Ayers.

A close-up of Jack's Ant-Man cosutme design. Note the similar color scheme to the red and blue of Spider-man.

Steve Ditko: "Kirby's Spider-Man had a web gun, never seen in use. The only connection to the spider theme was the name. The other four pages showed a teenager living with his aunt and uncle. The aunt was a kindly old woman, the uncle was a retired police captain, hard, gruff, the General Thunderbolt Ross type (from Hulk), and he was down on the teenager. Next door or somewhere in the neighborhood there was a whiskered scientist-type involved in some kind of experiment or project. The end of the five pages depicted the kid going toward the scientists darkened house."

Here's a slabbed copy of Amazing Spider-Man # 1 (Mar 1963) for sale on eBay at $15,000.00. Cover art by Jack Kirby with inks by Steve Ditko.