If you thought "Why I hate Manga" was honest and revealing, get ready for this.
At the risk of sounding like a jerk, I'm really not that big of a fan of the work of Steve Ditko. Or Jim Aparo. Or Neal Adams.
I know some of you out there just gasped in horror. And that's okay. I also hate the band RUSH... but let's focus on the topic at hand.
I mean no offense to the gentlemen I just named (or the memory of, in the case of Mr. Aparo), I've just never understood why so many of my peers love their work so much.
In the case of Ditko, while I love his early Doctor Strange work and I am a huge fan of the first run of Spider-Man, I always feel his people are a little.. weird.
And he seems to ink his own work a lot. I'm not opposed to that, but some artists are great pencillers who should NEVER be allowed to pick up a pen and/or brush. For instance, he did an early issue of Iron Man which was inked by Don Heck (I think?) and it looked WAY better than his Spidey work.
Mr. Ditko also designed some of the butt-ugliest costumes in comicdom. Electro, Mysterio, Mr. Doll...
And don't get me started on some of his Charlton work. I can't read The Question. I mean, sure, "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand was entertaining- mostly, but I couldn't live my life by it. And I wouldn't base a superhero on a philosophy of self-interest.
In the case of Neal Adams:
Coming from advertising and a very strong draftsman, Adams brought a new sense of design to comics in the 1970's. His "Long Ears" Batman would go on to influence a whole generation of comic book artists as did his unconventional storytelling style. Adams use of unusual panel layouts and figures breaking panel borders or even becoming panel borders would be admired and imitated by dozens, maybe hundreds of artists. Most of whom could not pull it off. In no time, every hack kid was trying to show how cutting edge he was by abandoning the standard 6-panel page. Well, you know something? You have to master the rules before you break them.
So, I guess that I not only don't really care all that much for Adams' art (Though I DO sincerely admire his skill.) I also despise the sweeping influence his art has had on comics ever since.
Although the makeover Adams gave Green Arrow back in 1969 almost makes up for all of it.
And now, Aparo. Jim Aparo, after Neal Adams is one of the best-remembered Batman artists of the 1970's. He also served as the primary Aquaman artist of the decade. His work was competent and effective, but not terribly exciting. At least on Batman and Aquaman. His work on books like The Spectre and Phantom Stranger was actually quite nice. When I discovered his work, however, in the late 1980's, I was appalled by how stiff and flat his figures were. How much he seemed to be "phoning in" his work. Everyone had the same ears, every hairstyle was similar, everyone's clothing was cut out of date and out of fashion. I used to eagerly read the issues of Detective Comics drawn by Norm Breyfogle and then, sadly, read Aparo's Batman, wishing someone else would draw it.
where's the storytelling here?
To be completely fair, toward the end of Green Arrow's 1980's series, Aparo did some of the most interesting art I had seen out of him in years. But I will always remember him as the mediocre Batman artist who made Robin's death so forgettable.
Please, don't judge me too harshly. It takes me no time to sit here at a desk and criticize the artwork of three masters of their field. It took these men years to perfect their art. They have all accomplished what I have not. But don't misconstrue this as sour grapes, either. I just get tired of hearing folks sing these artists' praises and having to nod politely for fear of being ostracized.
And if Steve Ditko or Neal Adams want to call me an asshole, that's fine. It's nothing personal, guys. Your artwork will always be remembered. I'm just one guy who doesn't dig it.