Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ditko Doco drops anchor! Jonathan Ross - In Search of Steve Ditko.

Heads up for this - broadcast on BBC4 in the UK this coming Sunday evening and no doubt appearing at a torrent site near you soon : a brand spanking new documentary on Steve Ditko, the infamously private co-creator of your friendly neighbourhood Spider-man and sorcerer supreme Dr Strange, (not to mention such iconoclastic characters as The Creeper, Hawk & Dove, The Question and Mr A).

This came as a bit of a surprise to me back in April when first mentioned on Ross's Saturday morning radio show, as I was under the incorrect impression that Mr Ditko had long since shuffled off to the big comic store in the sky, along with contemporaries such as Jack Kirby and Wally Wood - which perfectly illustrates how much attention I tend to pay to the latest goings on in the medium these days...

Genuinely looking forward to this - in my book Ross is still the godfather of cult programming since his watershed series The Incredibly Strange Film Show opened up a whole wide world of cinematic weirdness to impressionable viewers, such as m'self. I'm of the opinion that productions like this come alive and thrive when fronted by a genuine enthusiast rather than a faceless identikit voiceover (same applies to any documentary really, from David Attenborough to the current BBC2 series The Story of India with Michael Wood - one of the very best things on the box at the mo).

Alongside his day job as the BBC's top presenter and chat show host, Ross has unleashed series after series on grindhouse movies and Asian popular culture, but has never tackled comic books - a subject very close to his heart. (In fact a couple of years ago Damon Albarn put Ross on the spot on his talkshow by pointing out this very fact - to which he responded he preferred to keep this passion more or less private).

Well, if you're going to break your word and whop out a private passion for all and sundry to gawp at you couldn't find a better subject than the Steve Ditko, and this promises to be a benchmark show - comic books have never been highly valued by mainstream television and the only half decent study I can recall is Comic Book Confidential (which was a movie anyway, and actually something more than half decent - well worth watching.).

In Search of Steve Ditko is showing on BBC4 at 9pm on Sunday 16th of September (repeated Wednesday 19th at 12:30am) as part of the Comics Britannia season, which also includes some airings of the classic, camped up 1960s Batman show, so ya-boo for that. ;)

(Ooo - before I forget, there's a couple of enlightening pieces on Ditko and the show here, on Mark Evanier's always eye opening website.)



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