Thursday, July 08, 2004

Rooting for the greats: The San Francisco Chronicle looks beyond the special effects of Spider-Man 2 to salute the contributions of Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby:

"... I was thrilled when the credits rolled on the big screen and up came 'Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.' But I also felt a twinge of irony. Much like Joe Schuster and Jerry Siegel, who created Superman, neither Ditko nor even Lee had, then or now, even a fractional ownership interest in Spider-Man the character. The industry standard was (and to a large degree still is) that artists and writers did 'work for hire,' essentially piece-work on characters that were owned by the comics houses, even if the artist dreamed them up. Hence it is Marvel Entertainment, Inc., and, of course, Sony Pictures that reap the financial windfall of Spider-Man, while the Steve Ditkos of the world, like the late, great Jack Kirby -- another comic artist giant and de facto creator of the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, the X-Men and most of the rest of Marvel's pantheon -- resides on the periphery of pop-culture awareness, remembered mainly by the graying comics fans who are buying their kids tickets to Spider-Man 2."