Who created The Amazing Spider-Man?
JOE SIMON: I had done the Silver Spider for Harvey. I turned it in to Harvey in pencil. Charlie Beck did the pencils for me. Then when Goldwater was at Archie's, he asked me to do a superhero for him. I took the Silver Spider which was just languishing at Harvey's and changed the name to the Fly. I gave Charlie Beck's pencils - it was a ten page story - to Kirby and told him to change it to the Fly. So Kirby did that. So when Stan Lee asked for characters, Kirby just gave him Beck's Silver Spider!
JACK KIRBY: I took Spider-Man from the Silver Spider - a script by Jack Oleck that we hadn't used in Mainline. That's what gave me the idea for Spider-Man. I've still got that script.[iii]
JOE SIMON: The Fly was originally called the Silver Spider, then it was taken to Marvel after we changed the name. And became Spider-Man. Stan Lee called me and asked me who created Spider-Man. I said: "Why do you ask?" He said that Jack Kirby in an interview with Will Eisner for his magazine said that Simon and Kirby created Spider-Man.
JACK KIRBY: It was the last thing Joe and I had discussed. We had a script called "The Silver Spider." "The Silver Spider" was going into a magazine called Black Magic. Black Magic folded with Crestwood, and we were left with the script. I believe I said this could become a thing called Spider-Man, see, a superhero character. I had a lot of faith in the superhero character, that [superheroes] could be brought back, very, very vigorously. They weren't being done at the time. I felt they could regenerate, and I said Spider-Man would be a fine character to start with. But Joe had already moved on. So the idea was already there when I talked to Stan.
STAN LEE: I gave Kirby Spider-Man first. I told Jack I had this character I wanted to do, I described Spider-Man, and I said, "You know, Jack, what I want you to do for once-don't draw him the way you draw all these characters," because Jack drew the most handsome, heroic, glamorous heroes you'll ever find. I wanted Spider-Man to be just an ordinary guy-a little bit of a nebbish, no broad shoulders, glasses. And Jack brought in a page or two of Spider-Man and he sure as hell didn't hear me, because the character looked like Captain America in a Spider-Man suit. I said, "Look, Jack, forget it. You have enough work."
Then, I asked Steve Ditko to do it. To this day, I don't know who made up the Spider-Man costume. It might have been Kirby who did those first few pages and Ditko might have copied Kirby's costume. Or Ditko might have just made up the costume and disregarded what Kirby did. I can't remember.[v]
JACK KIRBY: The only book I didn't work on was Spider-Man, which Steve Ditko did. But Spider-Man was my creation.[vi]
STAN LEE: I hyphenated Spider-Man for very distinctive reasons, specific reasons. I didn’t want it to resemble Superman. I was afraid Spiderman and Superman were a bit similar anyway, so by putting the hyphen in, it makes them more different. And again, I went to Jack, and I gave it to him. And I said, Jack, now you always draw these characters so heroically, but I don't want this guy to be too heroic-looking. He's kind of a nebbishy guy.
A few years ago the original art to the Amazing Spider-Man's first appearance - Amazing Fantasy #15 - was quietly and anonymously donated to the USA Library of Congress. The donor was the person who, allegedly, had stolen the art from Marvel back in the day. According to people in the know, the same person made a habit out of stealing art from Marvel, in particular Steve Ditko art, and managed to pay off their house from the proceeds of the sales from the stolen art. Luckily this art wasn't sold, it was donated, complete, and now can be viewed. However, when people rally against Marvel Comics for denying Steve Ditko money from the many Spider-Man movies, remember that it wasn't just the company that stole and profited from Steve Ditko's creative vision. The company profited from his creations, a trusted colleague profited from the physical artwork that Ditko created.
Thieves come in many guises. Imagine how much money Ditko could have made by selling this art today? Enough to be comfortable for a number of years, still, we do have it to view and, for what I believe is the first time, here's the entire original art, as drawn by Steve Ditko, for Amazing Fantasy #15, minus the cover.
|Joe Simon's Spiderman logo|
|What Jack Kirby's Spiderman might have looked like- this isn't the original art, this is a fake presentation piece by a fan as created a year or so ago|