Spider senses were tingling at the Library of Congress two weeks ago when an anonymous donor gave the Library original artwork by Steve Ditko. The set of drawings for 24 pages of artwork came from Marvel Comics’ Amazing Fantasy #15 the comic book that marked the introduction of Spider-Man in August 1962!
The drawings chronicle Peter Parker’s transition from bookworm to Spider-Man after he is bit by a radioactive spider, which enables the young man with new powers and abilities. He develops his well known disguise and the story concludes with the Spider-Man tagline, “With great power there must also come great responsibility…” Done in black and white large format, measuring 21 X 15”, the art includes the origin story of Spider-Man and the three short stories “The Bell-Ringer,” “Man in the Mummy Case,” and “There Are Martians Among Us” by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve Ditko. They join over 125,000 caricatures, comic strips, and political and social commentaries from the 1600s to the present in the Prints & Photographs Division.
About the collection, Sara W. Duke, curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Art in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division said, “The donation of these wonderful drawings is a treasured gift to the American People. The opportunity to see the original art behind the published stories will benefit comic book readers as well as popular culture scholars. Looking at the drawings inspires a new appreciation for the artist’s skill and design choices and also deepens our understanding of how a superhero created to attract a teenage audience became a cultural icon with mass appeal.”
The donor, who chose to remain anonymous, took great care of the drawings and turned them over to the Library of Congress to be made available for generations to come. The Library plans to scan the drawings, thereby providing easier access on-site in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room. You can view a sample of the drawings and request an appointment to view the drawings by visiting the Library of Congress’ website.