The Sign Language of Steve Ditko

Posted by on December 31st, 2009 at 12:01 AM

Panel from “…Corrector” in Ditko Package [©2001 Steve Ditko]

For TCJ #258 (February 2004), the Steve Ditko issue, Bill Randall wrote a piece entitled “Ditko’s Hands: An Appreciation.” He pointed out that the way in which Steve Ditko drew hands was especially meaningful: as a way to express emotional states; as a vital compositional element; and his characters interact with the world and the individuals within it via touch.

Though many of hand poses Ditko drew are not achievable by human digits (we tried), a band of intrepid Fantagraphics employees and interns (including our official office hand model) and I decided to experiment and see if we could reverse-engineer it: if Ditko hands are expressive enough in and of themselves to be interpreted without the rest of the panel for context. The goal of the following gallery is to study each photograph and see if you know, or can guess, the sign language of Steve Ditko. Then the hand pose will be revealed in context in the panel or sequence on the next page.

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One Response to “The Sign Language of Steve Ditko”

  1. Bill Randall says:

    Bravo! I’ll add that a nasty case of rheumatoid arthritis can help with the poses.