When I Got a Letter from Steve Ditko

On June 7 I wrote a letter to Steve Ditko to ask him a few questions. Steve Ditko is one of the creators of Spider-Man. He created Doctor Strange, too, and brought back Blue Beetle. He worked for DC, Marvel and Charlton. He started illustrating comics in 1953.

I asked him two questions: I wonder if there was a teacher who made you think about drawing comics? What did you have the most fun drawing?

Here is a picture of my letter to him.

My letter to Steve Ditko

On Wednesday after camp I got a letter back from Steve Ditko! It made me feel really happy that Steve Ditko wrote me back and I got an actual letter from him. (Dad’s note: We were all bouncing off the walls feeling really lucky.)

He told me that “no teacher made me think about drawing comics. A teacher comes after one thinks or would like to draw comic book stories.” I think it’s cool that he came up with the idea of illustrating comics on his own.

He also wrote that “The most fun in drawing comics is the figures in action.” He also added what the hardest thing to draw was: mechanical things like cars, building and animals. Mr. Ditko also wrote that he had fun drawing Gorgo and Konga.

I did not hear about Gorgo and Konga before, but now I want to read about them.

I was really excited to get this letter and I really want to tell everybody who likes comics.

Thank you Steve Ditko!

Here’s a picture of the letter he sent me.

Steve Ditko's Letter to Me

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18 comments on “When I Got a Letter from Steve Ditko”

  1. JMD

    Carl: Steve Ditko gave you some incredibly valuable advice, and not just about making comics: The desire to change yourself and reach any goal in your life must come from YOURSELF — no teacher (or anyone) can put that desire in you. I hope you take this advice to heart, no matter what you decide to pursue.

    Reply
  2. Jeffrey Roberts

    Hi Carl — that is so awesome! Steve Ditko is one of the greats and I’m happy that you like his work and know about his connection to Spider-Man (who is my favorite too). Keep reading and have a great summer!
    PS: What were your favorite books from this year’s Free Comic Book Day?

    Reply
    • Carl

      Thanks, Jeffrey! I’m glad you like Spider-Man, too. My favorite comic books from Free Comic Book Day were Rabbids, Gronk, Teen Titans Go, The Avengers, Bongo and Bob’s Burgers. We haven’t read The Stuff of Legend yet, but it was drawn my someone who goes to my local comic book store.
      How about you? What were yours?

      Reply
  3. Daniel

    Carl, you should treasure this letter forever.
    Steve Ditko is such a great creator and artist, but he usually never gives interviews or autographs. Only very old photos of him exist.
    That you got a handwritten letter by him is a great honor and an awesome piece for your collection.

    Reply
  4. looserounds.com

    Very cool. I have always admired Mr. Ditko and this makes me think even higher of him.

    Well done Carl.

    Reply
  5. Jeffrey Roberts

    Hi Carl! To answer your question — I liked the Free Comic Book Day Avengers book a lot, plus Bob’s Burgers and Secret Wars. I’m glad you and your dad like the Batman ’66 book. I like it and the old tv show a lot and it’s fun to see them in new adventures.

    Have a great 4th of July!

    Jeff

    Reply
  6. Ole M. Olsen

    Hi Carl!

    I saw the story about the letter you received from Steve Ditko on CBR and thought that was incredibly cool. I’m envious. You should really treasure that letter.

    And I love your blog! It reminds me of myself when I was your age (back in the late 1970s…) and discovered superhero comics – Norwegian translations at first, imported American comics a few years later. A couple of years later I discovered Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man comics. Fast-forward to 2015 and I’m STILL buying new Steve Ditko comics (he keeps working and has published lots of new comics over the past few years) and enjoying them very much! Oh, and you really should check out Corgo and Konga if you haven’t already.

    I don’t think Steve is really shy, I think he just wants people to focus on his work rather than on himself. And that’s cool, I think. There are many people who would rather be a celebrity than concentrate on doing good work.

    Keep up YOUR good work!

    Love,
    Ole, Norway

    P.S. I’m a fan of Herb Trimpe too, and was very sad when he died suddenly. I have a comic book that’s signed by him, but I never got to meet him. You were very lucky to meet him in time.

    Reply
    • Carl

      Hi Ole,
      Thanks for writing me! I’m glad you like my site. I did not know that Steve Ditko is still making comics. That’s cool that he is. What are his comics like now?

      A man named Craig Yoe sent me Gorgo and Konga books that he wrote. They are super neat and have sketches and copies of the comic books in them. I can’t wait to read them!

      I think you are right about Steve and his work. That makes sense.

      Herb was a good man and was one of my friends because he was funny, smart and cool. I’m glad I got to meet him.

      My mom works with international students and a lot of them are from Norway. She has an event called Cookies and Culture and some Norway students come there. They’ve brought food and treats and things that are really good! She wanted me to ask you where in Norway you are from?

      Are comics in Norway the same kind of comics they have here in America?

      Thanks again!
      Your friend,
      Carl

      Reply
  7. Ole M. Olsen

    Hi Carl!

    Thanks a lot for your reply. I’m sorry I’m so late in replying back to you. I’m on holiday with my family, you see, and have been too occupied in the pool and the sea to remember to check your blog lately… Sorry!

    I have collected almost all of Steve Ditko’s recent comics by now. Not all people like them, but I personally think they’re great! He’s both writing and drawing in a kind of “sketchy” and “simple” looking style these days, but in reality it’s far from simple. You actually have to be REALLY GOOD to be able to make something look that “simple”.

    One of the things I like about them is that they remind me about the time when I was about your age and spent almost ALL of my spare time drawing my own comics. Of course Steve is MUCH better than I ever was, but there’s a sort of “simplicity” there that I think you can only manage to do when you’re young AND when you’re old and don’t have to worry about being “grown up” anymore – you can just draw what you want and have fun with it!

    A guy named Joe McCulloch has written an article about Steve’s recent work, if you want to have a look: http://comicsalliance.com/steve-ditko-self-published-comics-mr-a-summary-spider-man-objectivism/. The article is a bit “grown up”/complicated, but you’ll get to see some samples of his work. And don’t worry about the politics and the “objectivism” and all of that – whether you’ll ever agree with that or not, the important thing is that many of these comics are actually just great superhero comics!

    Tell your mother that I’m from Halden, Norway. It’s a town in the south-easternmost corner of Norway, just across the border from Sweden, about 120 km (74.5 miles) south of the capital Oslo. My wife has relatives in Oregon and Washington, by the way, and we’ve both been over there to visit them (I also visited a couple of comic shops in Seattle while I was there) and had them visit us in Norway. I have two sons, aged 6 and 13, who also like comics.

    Comics in Norway… When I was a kid, Japan was the only country in the world that beat Norway in terms of comics popularity. These days, sadly, comics aren’t as popular as they were then. Still, the most popular titles in Norway sell as much or more than the most popular titles in the U.S. – and we are only about 5 million people!

    Superhero and action/adventure comics aren’t that popular in Norway these days. Humor comics are more popular. The positive thing is that there are some rather good Norwegian made comics among them – not just translations of foreign (mainly American) comics. But the Disney title “Donald Duck & Co.” is still the best seller in Norway. It’s a little bit funny, as Disney comics are much less popular in Walt Disney’s home country than they are in a lot of the rest of the world.

    We don’t have a lot of comic stores, and the ones we do have sell mainly books (trade paperbacks and hardcovers) rather than individual issues. Most people in Norway buy comics at newsstands and at grovery stores – much like people used to do in the U.S. I think that’s a better way to introducing comics to new people, because you normally wouldn’t visit a comic book store unless you’re ALREADY interested in comics.

    Thanks again for writing back to me. I’ll continue to read your blog, and wish you all the best with it. Maybe I’ll even dare to write Steve a letter myself… 🙂

    Ole

    Reply
    • Carl

      It’s OK, Ole. In the sea and in the pool is pretty fun and visiting your family is pretty fun, too.

      That is pretty neat that you have almost all of Steve Ditko’s recent comics. Steve Ditko is like Ringo because he has too drum simply and that’s hard to do.

      It’s cool that you drew comics. Did you know that I draw comics too? I drew them at comic book camp. What kind of comics did you draw?

      I took at look at the pictures of his work and they look pretty funny and interesting. My dad says I can read them when I’m a little older.

      We looked up where Halden is on a map. Can you walk to Sweden? The students I know go to the University of Agder.

      Tell your kids that I wish I had a brother or sister and that they liked comics, too.

      It’s pretty incredible that Norway buys more comics than America. It’s funny that they buy Donald Duck. I’ve been reading the new Uncle Scrooge comics. They’re really funny. Why do people buy less superhero comics?

      I also think it’s a good idea to have comics in a grocery store. I wonder why they stopped in the US.

      Good luck writing Steve. Let me know what happens!

      Your friend,
      Carl

      Reply
  8. Ole M. Olsen

    Hi again Carl!

    Like Ringo – exactly!!! That’s a GREAT comparison. Funny that I never thought of that, as I’m such a huge Beatles fan. 🙂

    Waiting until you’re a little older to read Steve’s new comics is a good idea. Even though they’re not actually all that serious (particularly the “Phase Three” comics), I think you’ll probably enjoy them even more when you’re a few years older. So you have something to look forward to!

    In the meantime, there are SO MANY great comics by HUNDREDS of creators to read, so I think I can guarantee that you won’t be bored. 🙂

    I didn’t know that you draw comics too! That’s great! It’s such a good feeling to get the stories that float around in your head down on paper, isn’t it? Keep it up! You’ll discover that you get better and better the more you draw.

    I usually drew my own little superhero comics. Superman and the Fantastic Four were among the characters I liked to draw the most – and the Flash! I’ve promised myself that I’m going to sit down and draw a new comic book story soon.

    I don’t really know why people in Norway aren’t that fond of superhero comics anymore. I guess funny comics appeal more to most people here for some reason. But of course that’s cool too! I’ve been reading the new (American) Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comics myself. I’m looking forward to Mickey Mouse and Walt DIsney’s Comics & Stories when they come out.

    I COULD walk to Sweden from my house. It would probably take me an hour and a half or so, though – if I walk fast. I HAVE cycled to Sweden on my bike. 🙂

    Your friend,
    Ole

    P.S. I just subscribed to receive updates from your blog so I won’t miss any of your future posts.

    Reply
    • Carl

      Hi again, Ole. Two of my favorites are the Fantastic Four and the Flash. Did you see the new Fantastic Four movie? We have a Flash TV show here and my father and I watch it every week. The superhero I draw is called Hammerhead and he can hit bad guys with his head. Thanks for subscribing to my web site. I’m going to write two articles tomorrow for you to read!

      Reply
  9. A.

    Hi, Carl. My name’s A. and I’m from Spain. Here we love Marvel’s comics. In fact, we have a lot of writers and drawers about it like Salvador Larroca or Carlos Pacheco. I’m a Marvel reader and I have a important question for you.
    HOW CAN YOU TAKE THE STEVE DITKO ADRESS?
    When I read your post about the letter I can’t believe it!, It’s so incredible! The big Steve sends you another letter after! With only 8 years and you make this miracle!
    I’m young like you and I’m surprised after read your new… And ask myself how a little boy like you can do this feat that I only can do reality in my best dreams!
    You are my superhero now, Carl!!! I admire your corage and act!!!

    Reply
    • Carl

      Hi A. I love Marvel comics, too, especially Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. Did you see the new Fantastic Four movie? I wrote the letter to Steve Ditko and my father found an address for him on line. I didn’t expect to get a letter back from him, but I really hoped that I would. It all started when I was 4 and my father met Larry Lieber and he drew a picture of Spider-Man for me. Then I wrote him a thank you note and that is how I started writing to comic book artists. I also like to meet them at comic book shows and the comic book store near my house. I bring a list of questions with me so that I can ask them about their career. You can do it, too! Thanks for giving me such an amazing compliment!

      Reply

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