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Steve Ditko – The Fountainhead Behind the Fountain-Pen

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oc1Even if you’re not a comic book fan, you’ve likely heard of Stan Lee. He’s been the mouthpiece of Marvel Comics since you were in little pants.  No pants, even. He had a hand in creating the most well known characters in comic book history like The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and X-Men, among others.

Stan has been criticized for sopping up the credit (and the cash) but the older he gets the more readily he admits to relying on artists and writers to flesh out the look and feel of his characters. Artists like Jack Kirby, who in a perfect world would be as well known as the Beatles. At the risk of being too allegorical; that would make Steve Ditko the Rolling Stones of comic book artists.

Every self respecting comic book fan knows about Steve, but your run of the mill types have no idea who he was or what he brought to the drafting board. He designed Spider-Man, tantamount to designing Mickey Mouse. There’s few characters as easily recognizable. Yet he didn’t receive a dime for any of the Spider-Man films. Thanks, Obama.

I didn’t exist in the sixties so I missed out on Ditko’s early Spider-Man work until I read Origins of Marvel Comics when I was maybe 12. By then the franchise was twenty years old and I was more accustomed to Johns Romita, Byrne, and Romita. Jr.. Ditko’s style seemed too old-timey for me. It would be some years before fell hard for that old-school style and devoured all the reprints. I mean… Dr. Octopus? Elektro, Green Goblin, Sandman, The Lizard?! Mysterio? Come on!

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DocOctASM12That same Origins publication included the Ditko creation Dr. Strange. I hear that was something of a shock to the system at the time. Very surreal and metaphysical, and more internalized than the spacey worlds created by masters like Kirby.

Late sixties drug culture took an instant liking to it. They sat around getting stoned and reading Dr. Strange like folks would do years later listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. The drug culture was certain they found a kindred spirit in Ditko, even though the man never used drugs and was more a student of Ayn Rand. His character Mr. A was a direct influence on Alan Moore’s Watchmen hero Rorschach.

Ditko packed up his pens and left Marvel. Some say he had enough of Stan Lee’s liberal politics seeping into the editing. Like most things, it’s probably more complicated and we’ll likely never know. Ditko ain’t telling. He’s not a fan of limelight in general and interviews in specific. Now, goddammit, get off his lawn.

The new Dr. Strange movie may not make Steve Ditko a household name, but maybe seeing him in the credits will spawn some sort of cultural reinvestment in the fountainhead behind the fountain-pen.

Ditko Panel

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Realigning Your Moral Compass / Don’t Be Humble

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Remember when “keeping it on the low” was a high-valued asset in the lunchrooms of yesterdays past? It was a glorious and magical time where your ability to not divulge information or “brag” would lend you the trust and respect of all… except maybe the person who wanted said info. Conversely, being known as conceited or loose lipped oft resulted in social suicide. Once you understood and practiced the basic tenets of social operation, you were free to roam about the country. Then along came this thing called life and what was once generally accepted social order now requires constant questioning. Oh to be young again!

These days, you may find yourself at a moral crossroads where keeping information “on the low” could result in literal career suicide and stagnation of financial growth. I’ve seen coworkers get promoted because they would inform the entire world of every menial task accomplished like closing the fridge door in the pantry. I’ve also seen coworkers not be given any credit and as far as to be laid off because no one was aware of their value or responsibilities.  Who knew life was gonna be so complicated (besides every single adult?) Of course, “keeping it on the low”  a.k.a humility is just one of many self-inflicted moral codes we use to navigate for a majority of our lives. There are many others (selfish, greedy, manipulative, etc…) Now what if you hadn’t assigned a negative or positive value to these sentiments from the outset? Would you still be so hesitant to engage in their practices?

For the sake of proving my point, What if these “negative” moral codes were simply tools that could not be judged but simply used? Is it manipulative to convince someone to put a gun down and not shoot up a room full of people? Was Winston Churchill being manipulative in his efforts to convince the U.S to join WWII? Is it greedy to understand how much financial assets are required to provide the lifestyle you deem worthy for you and your family then pursue accordingly? Is it selfish to know when to tune the world out to achieve a goal that will be to the worlds eventual betterment?

The world is grander than whatever lunchroom your adolescent moral GPS was manufactured in and navigated you through. Once you graduate to encounter those larger moral obstacles, you rapidly realize that what got your through it before may not get you past it now if you cannot realign your moral code. It seems once one masters a particular set of skills, they immediately become obsolete as life advances everyone to the next level. What’s more likely is a majority of our decision making tools (like morals) are choice and should be treated as such and continuously revisited.  Good Luck.

 

Sidebar; To the aspiring entrepreneurs keeping their amazing ideas “on the low” until they blow up, you are delaying your own successes. To those who find the pursuit of money / capitalism as greedy /evil, you are delaying your own gratitude. Sidebar complete.

Alfred Obiesie is a writer with over 12 years of online content contribution (Onetrackmine.com, Cartermag.com, Essence.com) and author (You Made It a Hot Line; The most influential lines in hip hop.) The book chronicles hip hop lines from the genre’s most notable artists spanning almost 40 years. It is illustrated by Grammy award winning Illustrator Shah Wonders and has garnered praise from multiple media outlets (Sirius XM, Vibe, Brooklyn Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, etc...)

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How to Tell If You’re Motivated by Negativity

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We hold in high regard the tactics that allow us to succeed while disregarding that those same tactics stop us from succeeding correctly.  When you and everything around you is results oriented, how those results are obtained isn’t scrutinized when they probably should be. Seeing as how we can’t drug test for positive or negative motivators and no one really cares how you succeed as long as you are successful, why should you even care?

Well aside from your eventual therapist and the people who used to love you but have since left due to your unknowingly toxic behavior, your eventual cardiologist and pharmacist who will have to treat you for stress related illnesses,  you should probably care also.  If you are paying attention and observing the trail of emotional destruction left when using certain motivators,  particularly fear and negativity,  you would care much much sooner.

With that said, here are some hopefully helpful tips so you can identify and begin to correct.

1.  When someone asks you what you want, you typically respond with what you don’t want. “What do you want for dinner?” “Well we had pizza yesterday so I don’t want that and I had Chinese for lunch so that’s out…” Process of elimination is time consuming and quite frankly, if you want pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you should have it. We’ll deal with health choices later. Right now, let’s focus on HOW you make choices in the first place.

2.  The first thought that enters your mind after you say you want something are the reasons why it can’t be obtained. “I want to workout but I have no time. I want to pursue my interests but I don’t have the money.” Everything you currently have, you made the time and money for. It is possible for future aspirations as well.

3.  The motivator is not the desired result, but the ails that might occur if that result is not obtained. “You better get an education or your friends will leave you behind.” “If I don’t catch the early train, my commute is gonna suck!” Or none of that may occur and you day could progress perfectly fine. Since you can’t recoup emotional capital already extended, better not to expend it at all.

4.  You feel you need more in order to begin any task. You just really need to accept that you are enough.

5.  You focus on any time frame other than the present. Speculating on future failures only brings you current stress. Speculating on past failures only brings you current stress. Now speculating on past or future successes may seem beneficial but the fact is, if you are speculating at all, you are probably not present and that is the main ingredient required for success anyway. So don’t speculate!!!

The root of all negativity is fear and when fear is your motivation, you will constantly need to be afraid in order to progress. When confidence is your motivation, all you ever need to progress is to remain present.

I wish you all success in everything you hope to accomplish.

 

Sidebar: Michal Jordan once stated that fear of failure motivated him to accomplish 6 NBA championships. My question to him would’ve been  “How much more rings would you have had if confidence was your motivator and not fear?”  Sidebar Complete.

Alfred Obiesie is a writer with over 12 years of online content contribution (Onetrackmine.com, Cartermag.com, Essence.com) and author (You Made It a Hot Line; The most influential lines in hip hop.) The book chronicles hip hop lines from the genre’s most notable artists spanning almost 40 years. It is illustrated by Grammy award winning Illustrator Shah Wonders and has garnered praise from multiple media outlets (Sirius XM, Vibe, Brooklyn Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library, etc...)

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Hip Hop Now

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Here’s five acts doing their thing in the first installment of Hip Hop Now.

Chicago rapper Saba‘s new record Care For Me features Chance The Rapper on “Logout.”

From Everything is Fine, a collaboration between rapper/satirists Jean Grae and Quelle Chris, here’s “Zero.”

Tyler, the Creator stays weird and rhymes chicken nugget with fuckit on rap nugget “Okra.”

Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions lost his cousin to police violence and channels that energy into the controversial “Like Me.”

Rapper/actor A$AP Rocky samples Moby‘s “Porcelain” on “A$AP Forver.”

Brooklyn's own MC Krispy E has an opinion about most things you can put in your ear, eye, and mouth holes.

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