By 1970, Marvel Comics had gained a large audience of high school and college students. This was due, most likely, to a combination of things. Marvel’s troubled heroes appealed to a slightly older reader, for one thing. But the mid-60s camp craze (as popularized by the Adam West Batman TV show) also seems to have had an impact, with a college-aged crowd that thought the cornier aspect of the Marvel books was knowing satire being created by people who’d been “turned on” to the drug culture. As Roy Thomas recounts:
Back in 1965 I took a phone call at the office sometime after 5:00 p.m. from somebody who asked me what you and Steve Ditko were on—because you had to be taking something in order to do those Dr. Strange stories with the fights. I said, "I don't think Stan or Steve do anything like that." (I wouldn't have admitted it if it had been true, of course.) Then he says, "It has to be, because I had a fight like that when I was high on mushrooms in Mexico City a couple of years ago! It was just like the one Dr. Strange had with Dormammu!Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, especially in the case of the two artists who proved most popular with the college crowd. Jack Kirby was a middle-aged Jewish family man whose attempts to depict the “Love Generation” in a positive light were sincere, but obviously done from the perspective of an outsider.
|Hippies like cowboys… right?|
And Steve Ditko… Well. Ditko was a devotee of Ayn Rand‘s Objectivist philosophies, and a square to the very core. The belief that the strange landscapes he created in Dr. Strange were drug-inspired visions horrified him.
|Because, obviously, this isn’t trippy at all…|