First, I owe you a large debt of gratitude - I was (and am) a huge fan of The Incredibly Strange Film Show, in which you discussed cult movie directors. It was a hard show to watch - mostly because the cable channel sandwiched it very late at night between Kevin Trudeau and Miss Cleo infomercials. But part of my nerd cred comes straight from you.
However, this note is not about that, but about your recent BBC4 documentary, "In Search of Steve Ditko". One of my favorite bloggers, Tony Collett of Mah Two Cents, linked to it as it was posted on YouTube, and having some time to spend, watched it.
Quite simply, Jonathan, you've got a masterpiece on your hands. You can now gloat and feel smug and superior over Michael Moore. Or, if you are so inclined, proclaim that you are sexier than Morgan Spurlock.
Much of it is that, as you so articulately put it at the beginning, it's a personal project for you. It's one of the few comics-related documentaries that doesn't make it a crime to enjoy comic books. It also does not take the easy route, especially with a noted recluse like Ditko, to portray him as, well, a "nut job." It's one of the most balanced pieces, especially when dealing with the hot topic issue of credit for co-creating Spider-Man. I also appreciated your deft touch in dealing with lesser known characters like the Question, Mr. A, Hawk & Dove, and the Creeper.
I am sure you will receive notes from fans asking about Shade, the Changing Man, or Blue Beetle, or even Speedball. You know, they're sort of irrelevant to the documentary, which also features some deft interviews. I mean, any documentary that has Alan Moore "rapping" to "Sister Ray is aces in my book. Even towards the end, when you attempt to meet Steve Ditko, is a strong piece of documentary film making.
In the end, this is as good as we will get in terms of a documentary on Steve Ditko. There is a great mystery and intrigue about him, and it should stay that way. The great thing is that most great art endures despite - not because - of great mystery. You did a marvelous job, and am waiting for your next opus: Fred Hembeck - The Greatest Comic Artist Ever.
I would also, if you ever find yourself in Chicago, to please look me up. I would be more than willing to head to an English-type pub and buy you an adult beverage. Or, if you are so willing, a hot dog. I feel that it's the least I can do to say "thanks" for the pleasure you've given me.