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Steve Ditko Designed Spider-Man to be Orange and Purple

When Jonathan Ross talked with Forbidden Planet about his In Search Of Steve Ditko BBC documentary, Ross revealed one Spider-Man snippet from when he talked to the late Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko that, as far as I can tell has never been shared by anyone before. So I thought I'd share it. Ross tells us;

"I said look, I might go and try and visit Steve just for the hell of it. I've got the crew with me, and he said okay, I'll come along. So we went together and we went upstairs. I had that pile of books from me which I've been using in the interviews a little bit to talk about, you know, some stuff that didn't get used. So I said that Steve, I said 'have you got any old work, do you want you want this? I offered him the Amazing Fantasy #15. He went oh, and he looked at it, he told me 'you know they got the colours wrong.' I said what do you mean? He said 'well, when I drew that, when i came up with that costume, I wrote that he should be orange and purple.' And I think… I  might have imagined this next bit. He might have said there's another guy who's blue and red which we assume was Superman."

"But maybe he didn't say that maybe we talked about that afterwards you know, but he definitely said it was orange and purple,"

Steve Ditko Wanted Spider-Man to be Orange and Purple
Spider-Man recoloured as originally intended by Steve Ditko.

"I'm sure it would have been as popular because it wasn't the colour of the costume that we went for necessarily but I don't know whether orange and purple were rejected because they would have printed murkier back then with that cheaper pulp paper or whether they just saw blue and red or more striking and we haven't got a blue and red character at Marvel. They had the blue costumes on FF. they didn't have anything like that bold, but either way the pop culture landscape would have been entirely just vastly different."

"Then I said would you want this and he went no no no he said he looked he went and he sort of smiled and he held it so I've got a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 that Steve held and he said 'no, no, he said ,you keep it that's worth a lot of money these days.' He said 'hang on but I'll give you some of my new books' and he went back and he gave Neil and I a pile about this big of the new stuff he was publishing with the help of Robin Snyder."

Steve Ditko Wanted Spider-Man to be Orange and Purple
Screencap from In Search Of Steve Ditko documentary with Neil Gaiman and Jonathan Ross.

I recall from the documentary, Neil Gaiman's giddy "he gave us comics"… but an orange and purple Spider-Man? Well, I never. You can see the interview below, followed by the In Search Of Steve Ditko BBC documentary.


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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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