Steve Ditko on stolen art, continued
J David Spurlock
30 June 2016
Spider-Man & Dr Strange co-creator, STEVE DITKO ON ART THEFT from his
essay, “The Sore Spot” published in Robin Snyder's The Comics, Jan.
1993: “I received story/art pages from 3 Spider-Man issues: 2 complete
issues (inside pages) and a 3rd which had three pages missing. So, I
[received], as a ‘gift,’ [Marvel's claim] a portion of 3 issues of the
41 Spider-Man books I did. There is nothing from the Spider-Man
annuals (one of which included Dr. Strange as a guest star). And no
covers of any kind. What happened to those 38 missing Spider-Man books
and all the other missing pages and covers? And how many other
artists’ names could be added to Kirby’s and mine who are denied our
‘original artwork’ and are being ‘deprived of a portion of (our)
"In the thieves market, how anyone came to possess it [the original
art], has no meaning. (It just is. One has it or one doesn't. One
wants it or one doesn't.) The means are irrelevant to the possessing.
It's like asking a dog, a rat, or a cockroach of its right to its
food. Its eyes saw it. It began to drool. It doesn't just 'drool,' it
drools for something: the food, the art page. It went after it. And
got it. The food now belongs to it. That is its true nature. How else
is it expected to act? Any moral level concepts (stolen, thief,
dishonest, unearned, etc.) are not part of the mental content of any
lower animal, any sensory perceptual mentality or creature or bug. Who
would call a dog dishonest or a thief for snatching a bone from a
table or off a plate?"
"As to the story/art pages, there were plenty of them taken and/or
stolen from Marvel. Yet Marvel doesn't seem to consider it a wrong, an
offense, or a crime, a violation of its property rights. ...With real
earned property, the rightful owner has a responsibility in protecting
his valued material (via safeguards, insurance, etc.). Any property
taken from a true owner without his consent is a violation of his
rights: a crime. That act would not be tolerated. But it seems Marvel
easily tolerated losing a portion of it's property.'' [BECAUSE IT IS
ACTUALLY THE PROPERTY OF THE ARTIST.]
Patrick Ford: So J David Spurlock, have you asked Jack C. Harris?
J David Spurlock: no
Patrick Ford: I'd like to settle this. Why not ask him.
J David Spurlock: Good Provenance: "A Demon & His Boy"
HOUSE OF MYSTERY #258: Thanks to Steve's professional courtesy, the
story was once owned by his writer-collaborator, Jack C Harris.
Patrick Ford: Very generous of Ditko to give the art to Harris. D.C.'s
policy never included returning artwork to writers.