Amongst those influenced by Kubert’s drawing style and storytelling was a young Steve Ditko, almost 10 years before he would co-create the Amazing Spider-Man. Ditko was first published in 1953 and there are numerous examples in that first formative year where the Kubert influence is quite clear. It dissipated during the latter half of the 1950s, but did pop up on occasion.
“One of the first things I recall about seeing Captain Atom,”said Roy Thomas (writer, then editor at Marvel concurrent with Ditko’s tenure), “is the resemblance of Ditko’s faces to Kubert’s 1954 comic, Tor.”
It’s one thing to draw faces similar to another artist, but it’s another to be influenced by how said artist lays out his page. Below, if I didn’t tell you which is which, you may have challenges telling the difference. On your left is Ditko’s Black Magic #28, cover dated Jan ’54. On your left is Kubert’s Witchcraft #1, cover-dated Mar/Apr ’52. Note the very striking similarities in choices of staging, perspective and lighting (click to enlarge, and open both side by side)...
“The Yellow Streak” page is Kubert from Speed Comics #42, Mar ’46. The Ditko “Help!” page is from Strange Tales #94, Mar ’62, and the 3-panel montage is also Ditko, from a late 1950s Charlton, a Dr. Strange story and an Amazing Spider-Man story, both from 1965.
I don’t believe Ditko has ever mentioned Kubert (although Ditko has only ever mentioned Robinson as a direct influence, because of their teacher/student relationship), and I don’t think Kubert is in print addressing the matter at any length.
Nonetheless, Ditko is one of many artists in the comic-book field that was influenced by Kubert. Both men’s legacies are secured, and Kubert’s influence on the industry as a whole is seen this week in the number of tributes documented by industry peers, and non-industry media outlets.
Thanks for posting this insightful essay.ReplyDelete
Are there any artistically-inclined Kubert grandkids?
Thanks, Blake! Interesting. I don't see the resemblance in the two B/W pages (it was easy to tell the Ditko page even as a thumbnail), but do see the others. Your article is a good example of *influence* vs. *swiping.* And We see so much that subconsciously influences us throughout the years, it's impossible to remember or document them all. Thank you for not suggesting that Ditko was copying or doing anything unethical.ReplyDelete
Just an FYI, you may want to edit the text regarding the two panelled pages--Joe's page is on the "right." :-)
Did you ever ask Steve about Joe?