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The still-anonymous donation of the entirety of art from Spider-Man’s debut story to the Library of Congress led to an intrepid reporter tracking down both creators, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, for quotes:

“I’ve never, ever had researchers have their picture taken with works of art, until now,” said Sara W. Duke, a curator of popular and applied graphic art at the library. “It’s almost like a worship of the object that goes on.”

Two people with no plans to visit, however, are the webslinger’s creative team: writer/editor Stan Lee and artist Ditko.

“I’m just too busy,” said Lee, 85, in an interview from his California offices. “Plus, I’ve already seen them. I’m not someone who lives in the past too much.”

Ditko, 80, was more abrupt. When reached at his Manhattan studio, he would only say: “I couldn’t care less.”


At least the rarely-interviewed Ditko used the correct form of the statement, and not the moronic “I could care less,” which means the exact opposite.

1 COMMENT

  1. Based on Blake Bell’s book on Steve Ditko, Mr. Ditko sounds like a man who’s very precise about his diction.

    Gosh, Heidi, that would be quite the scoop to chat with Mr. Ditko…

  2. Actually, the exact opposite would be “I couldn’t care more.” If someone “could care less”, it’s possible they still care very little.

  3. “I couldn’t care less.”

    With all due respect to Mr. Ditko, please remember this quote the next time someone says that he wasn’t given his due credit in creating Spider-Man. If you’re going to be a hermit in a Manhattan studio, chance are you won’t get the credit …

  4. Here is a man revered — REVERED!! — by the comics industry…every knowledgeable fan and professional would skip, jump, LEAP OFF THE CLIFF at the opportunity to interview Steve Ditko, and yet he will remain silent to a fault. Well, maybe not a fault, but for historical purposes it can be dang frustrating not to have his insights. His silence speaks volumes, however, and even his occasional spoken words inspire scrutiny. He’s The REAL Man!

  5. An individual is living his life as he sees fit, without harming others? Oh, the horror!

    “I could care less” does mean the exact opposite of “I couldn’t care less.”
    If someone “couldn’t care less”, it’s possible they still care very much.

    Can we please also stop the incorrect use of “begs the question” when “raises the question” is meant? Better still, can we stop the use of “quicker” as an adjective?

  6. Jeff H. made a joke by writing:

    “That reporter should of known better.”

    Jeff got my ire up, even though I know he was making a joke. The ‘should of’ instead of ‘should’ve’ REALLY irritates me.

  7. But why should he care about this? It’s not like they’re the rights to Spider-Man. It’s ownership of the pages he drew for it, which he presumably sold entirely legitimately at a price of his own choosing (I can’t imagine cheaply), years ago. Probably one of the few occasions he was able to capitalise on Spider-Man’s enormous success. And the fact that his answer betrays his bitterness about the entire Spider-Man affair suggests that rich doesn’t really know what he’s talking about…

  8. Tom Daylight:

    Ditko has never sold any of his Spider-Man art ever. A lot of it was returned to him and apparently sits in a pile in his studio. He uses it as cutting boards, thousands of dollars worth of art.

    If you happen to own a piece of Ditko Spider-Man art it is effectively stolen, not that Ditko cares.

    He was offered and turned down a payment from the makers of the Spider-Man movies.

  9. Dave–do you have any source for that story about Ditko not accepting money for the Spider-Man films? I’ve heard both versions, he did and he didn’t. I’d be curious to know which is documented (undoubtedly both are…)

  10. ““I could care less” does mean the exact opposite of “I couldn’t care less.”
    If someone “couldn’t care less”, it’s possible they still care very much.”

    Even if we choose that interpretation, which regards the person’s ability to adjust their level of caring, and not what the actual level of caring is, “I couldn’t care more” would still be the exact opposite. The exact opposite is the position at the other end of the spectrum. While the person who “could care less” would certainly be differentiated from the person who “couldn’t care less”, it’s the person who “couldn’t care more” who occupies the furthest opposing position in the caring ability spectrum.

    I’m all about the pedantry :)

  11. “I’m all about the pedantry”

    Big talk for someone who forgets to change the quotation marks, double or single, that they’ve used when having a quote within a quote.

    That said, I used variations of the word “quotation” twice in the same sentence, meaning I’ve reserved a place in literary Hell.

    Nobody is perfect in regards to English, but it’s always a good time to take the piss. All in good fun, mind you.

    Cheers.

  12. For me, it’s gauntlet and gantlet.

    You “thrown down the gauntlet” but you “run the gantlet”.

    Yeah, I know common usage allows gauntlet for each, but at least my local newspaper uses the traditional form.

    Now, if only I could get rid of the word “athleticism” from the sports page….

  13. “And the fact that his answer betrays his bitterness about the entire Spider-Man affair suggests that rich doesn’t really know what he’s talking about…”

    I know what I’m talking about. The question is, what are you talking about?

  14. Matt, I guess it all depends on what “exact opposite” means. ;)
    In set theory, the exact opposite of “A” is “not A.”
    In integer/rational/real numbers, the exact opposite of “A” is “negative A.”

    But then, if English were the same as math, then a sandwich would be better than eternal happiness. (Nothing is better than eternal happiness. A sandwich is better than nothing. Ergo…)

    Me: ‘Better still, can we stop the use of “quicker” as an adjective?’

    I’m amazed (and a little disappointed) that nobody noticed that I meant “as an adverb.”

  15. My pet peeve is every comics discussion on the internet devolving into a useless argument over grammar. Seriously, could the nerd herd unclench their buttcheeks just once and let that ruler fall to the floor? It’s okay. No one’s going to judge you.

  16. Pulphope:

    From a recent Steven Grant column:

    “The centerpiece of Kobek’s piece is the assumption, and I don’t argue with it, that Ditko deserves a lot more reward from comics than he has ever gotten. But would he take it? When the first SPIDER-MAN film came out, Sam Raimi’s company reportedly tried to make very gift payments to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Not payoffs, just thank yous. I don’t recall any strings demanding Ditko surrender all future claim to the character in order to receive it. Nonetheless, reportedly Ditko turned it down. Given how things ended with Spider-Man for him, as told in Bell’s book, I can understand that. I sympathize.”

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=17875

    I’ll admit it might just be another apocryphal element of the Steve Ditko legend.

  17. I hate the word “proactive.” What is it? More active than active? Is it the opposite of “anti-active?”

    One can act, but can one “proact?”

    Then there are words I get tired of seeing in journalism. Hurricane Ike “ravages” the coastline in nearly every story you’ll read. Tornadoes always “cut a swath,” etc. Use some new terms, folks!

    Finally, in my current field, I’ve heard folks using the word “concepting.” What the eff is wrong with “conceiving?”

  18. And “gifting” instead of “giving”!
    I think “proactive” means “in favor of action.” Not actually taking action, mind you. Just in favor of it.

    But my pet peeve is the incorrect use of the word “hopefully.” I don’t care in what manner you say that you’ll do something. Just do it already.

    Oh, you really meant “I hope”? Well, why didn’t you SAY so?! Then I’ll know not to count on you to do what you’ve said you will.

    I’ll keep my butt cheeks clenched as long as I want to, thank you very much!

  19. Why repeat as fact undocumented hearsay of Ditko turning down a “gift”?

    Why state as fact he is cutting up pages of Spider-man original art?

    Why state he “lives as a hermit” because he didn’t comment to a reporter about an issue he is not interested in?

    Why impose upon him the obligation to do anything other than produce the comic stories he so obviously DOES have an interest in?

  20. “but for historical purposes it can be dang frustrating not to have his insights”

    Ditko has written literally thousands of words about the creation of Spider-Man, in far more detail and with far more conformity to the facts than Stan “I saw a fly crawling on a wall” Lee ever has.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people prefer to perpetuate nonsensical and unfounded stories, some of them repeatedly proven to be false.

  21. “‘I could care less’ is my biggest grammatical pet peeve.”

    You assume it’s being used incorrectly. Whenever I say “I could care less” and someone corrects me by indicating it’s supposed to be “I couldn’t care less”, I always stop and think for a second then counter with “I actually could care less, but as it is, I currently care very little.” I could ALWAYS care less, so I don’t feel the need to say “I couldn’t care less” because that would be inaccurate. If I couldn’t care less, I likely wouldn’t have even responded with a comment of “I couldn’t care less.”

    “My pet peeve is every comics discussion on the internet devolving into a useless argument over grammar. Seriously, could the nerd herd unclench their buttcheeks just once and let that ruler fall to the floor?”

    Arguments over grammar are never useless because chances are someone needs to learn a lesson about grammar. Why can’t people who use improper grammar learn from their mistakes so they can communicate with the rest of us who are speaking our native tongue properly?

    Not knowing the difference between their, they’re and there leads to not knowing the difference between bear and bare, hare and hair, report and rapport, and where, wear, ware, were, and we’re… and then nobody knows what anybody else is saying. If you don’t want to be corrected, learn the language before spouting off where others can see it, and when you are corrected, thank the person for trying to save you some embarrassment in the future by helping you learn the difference.

    As it is, too many people in this country can’t tell the difference between Obama and Osama.

  22. I guess Ditko just believes in getting payed just for yours day’s work. Hurm. Sounds familiar.

    “Decent men, who believed in a day’s work for a day’s pay. Instead they followed the droppings of lechers and communists and didn’t realize that the trail led over a precipice until it was too late. Don’t tell me they didn’t have a choice. Now the whole world stands on the brink, staring down into bloody hell, all those liberals and intellectuals and smooth-talkers, and all of a sudden nobody can think of anything to say.” Heh.