Happy Birthday Steve Ditko

Today we celebrate the 84th birthday of one of comics legend Steve Ditko! The ever-elusive creator of Spider-Man enjoys his privacy and probably wouldn’t want us to acknowledge his birth, but that won’t stop us from talking about some of his best contributions to comics!

Let’s look at some of Ditko’s better known creations.

You can’t argue that Spider-Man isn’t Ditko’s most successful project. Here’s a clip from an interview with Stan Lee where he talks about what he feels was Ditko’s best work from their run on Amazing Spider-Man.

Ditko’s run on Spidey was semi autobiographical

Over at DC, Ditko created the super hero brother duo Hawk and Dove. One peace-loving, the other war mongering, the Hall brothers made their first appearance in June 1968’s Showcase #75. Dial B for Blog has a great account of their creation.

Ditko also created the Creeper, an outspoken talk show host who moonlights as a psychotic super hero. Simply put, the Creeper is insane. HyperDave at Data Junkie put together a great retrospective of Ditko’s run.

Also during this run at DC, Ditko created Shade the Changing Man, a new Starman and the Stalker. I’m not going to go too much into them, as I really haven’t been exposed to them enough.

During this time, Ditko did some phenomenal stuff over at Charlton, creating the original Captain Atom and the Ted Kord version of Blue Beetle, both of which became key staples in DC’s Justice League International books. He also created reporter turned faceless vigilante the Question. Eric Newsom runs an invaluable resource on the character, filled with analysis, interviews and commentary about the faceless hero.

Ditko went on to create a more hardline, Ayn Rand influenced version of the Question called Mr. A. The great people at Dial B for Blog have a much better description of the character.

This is just the tip of the iceberg; there’s much more non-super hero work in his bibliography. Keep in mind, Ditko’s career began in 1953, and he’s still creating stuff to this day. He remains super elusive and doesn’t give interviews. If you would like more information about Ditko’s career, there was a great book Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko that chronicles his career, as well as the BBC documentary In Search of Steve Ditko. You can find clips on YouTube.

On a final Ditko note, when you research his works and his life its hard to miss mentions of the influence of philosopher Ayn Rand. At one point, he even pitched adapting her novel Atlas Shrugged to Marvel. So in a bit of Ditko magic, my work day began with me taking a pile of Rand’s books–including Atlas Shrugged–from the free book pile in the staff room. I think its fitting; if Ditko had a birthday party, I’m sure that would be his party favor of choice.



DIY Deadpool (and 101 Dalmatians) Birthday Party

101 Dalmatians and Deadpool CakeSo yesterday was my brother’s birthday. There are two things in the world that he is very passionate about–Deadpool and 101 Dalmatians. So how do you combine the two into a themed birthday party?

Well it can be a little tricky, since there isn’t any 101 Dalmatians party supplies to be found. And forget Deadpool.

So with a little bit of work and some use of Google, I came up with a plan. This plan would make Martha Stewart cringe, but I’m no Martha Stewart.

So what to do? I followed the advice of all-around awesome person Amy Sedaris, author of Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People.  I did it myself.Step 1: Make A Card

I went back and forth on whether I would theme everything with the puppies or Deadpool, but wound up going with the mercenary with the mouth. First part was to make a birthday card. I remembered that the cover of Deadpool #23 had him jumping out of a cake, so that would be the cover. A high quality print on glossy cardstock makes the perfect card!
Step 2: Personalize the Card

But we need to personalize it a little more on the inside. Write a message that is appropriate with the image on the cover. Party animal? Deadpool jumping out of a cake? Works for me. Also, add a little sketch or doodle or something to personalize it; definitely a fun little way to liven it up.

Step 4.5: The Gifts

For you nosy-nellies, little brother got some old-time X-Men and 101 Dalmatians comics, as well as the Marvel Legends Deadpool action figure. All of which were purchased at the Baltimore Comic-Con the other weekend.

Step 3: Make Wrapping PaperNow to make some wrapping paper. I found some pics of good ol’ deadpool with a white background. They were pasted into a blank Microsoft Publisher document and resized/arranged. Print out a whole bunch of these to wrap everything.

I chose to not fully print the paper to save some money. But wait a minute, you say. Can you see through the paper? Well the answer is yes. And that’s where some ingenuity came in handy.

Step 4: Pre WrappingI prewrapped everything in a sheet of newspaper. That was just enough to make sure you couldn’t see what was inside. You could probably use tissue paper too, but again my concern was to do this as inexpensive and quick as possible.

Step 5: Post Wrapping

See how awesome that looks? You can’t even see what’s inside.


And voila, the final project! Happy Deadpool Birthday!

101 Dalmatians and Deadpool Cake

Now for the cake, which is always important. It was a triple-layer cake vanilla cake, wich chocolate frosting in the inside and vanilla on the outside. Decorations come from a Marvel Universe Deadpool action figure and a Christmas ornament with Lucky and Rolly watching their favorite television show, Thunderbolt.

Eat your heart out Cake Boss.