In the late ‘80s, Ditko told me that, when he quit Marvel in the ‘60s, he didn’t turn in two Dr. Strange stories that he’d plotted and penciled. My jaw hit the floor.I somehow doubt that we'll ever see those pages until Steve passes on, and i wouldn't put it past him to have it written into the will to have the executor have to shred them before getting anything else.!
This was amazing news and I urged (begged) Ditko to bring in the story! He politely declined, saying he didn’t want the pages to ever be published or copied. I told him that I’d be happy to look over his shoulder as he flipped through the pages/ That way the pages would never leave his hands, but he still declined to bring them in. Since then I’ve fantasized about what those pages look like and what the story was about. I wonder if I’ll ever find out!
My near-miss Ditko story: I started working professionally at Defiant under Jim Shooter in 1992, just as Ditko had finished drawing the promo-issue of Dark Dominion #0. Defiant had offices on the 15th floor of a building on west 36th st. with both an elevator and stairs. One time Steve showed up and was told that Jim was in a meeting and would be out in about 15 minutes and would he please wait? Steve, who had walked up all15 flights turned around and walked out. He declined to wait, but came back about 15 minutes later for the meeting. Now Ditko was notorious about not taking elevators. Did he just go down the stairs and then come back up? There really was nowhere else to go! Everybody there was convinced that he walked down, and walked back up.
Ditko's last day in the offices was the day before i got there. Argh. I felt like Steve was just out of reach, as if he was slightly at a distance and in shadow, like all those original panels hiding the identity of the Green Goblin.
Ditko's best work, in my opinion was most likely on Dr Strange, although i always see them as an extension of the short story monster work that prevailed in the Pre-Marvel line. Some of those litttle twilight zone scripts received rare treatment by Steve in terms of beautiful light and dark work. His story about the man who traps death in a stasis ray is a great little gem.