Thanks to Steve Busti for sharing his letter from Steve Ditko. With his permission I am able to share the story he sent me with it:
I was self-publishing under the imprint Flashback Comics, and had two titles at the time, Bizarre Fantasy and Fantastic Worlds. At the time, the industry was only interested in the hot new artist-of-the-month, and I missed seeing some of my favorite artists I grew up with. So with Flashback Comics I was attempting to recreate the glory days of the Silver Age of comic books (my tagline was “Making Comics FUN Again!”), reaching out to many of the legendary comic artists and writers to see if any would be interested in working on either series. I befriended many of them, including Al Williamson, Joe Sinnott, Dick Ayers, Roger Stern, Rich Buckler and Sam Glanzman (all of whom contributed artwork/stories).
The one artist (other than Kirby, who had already passed away) who really had an influence on my style was Steve Ditko. I got up the nerve and wrote him a letter telling him of the influence his work had on me, and sent him some copies of my comics. I asked if he’d be interested in doing any artwork for Flashback Comics, and also if he could give me any constructive criticism. I had no doubt he would say no, but I figured I’d always regret it if I didn’t at least ask. I really had no idea if he would even have the time or inclination to reply, so I was knocked off my feet when I actually received a response letter from him, hand-written in pencil!
Needless to say, it is one of the most special gifts I have ever received. Now after all these years, I’d like to share it with you and your readers. I feel this letter sheds a lot of insight into the mind of Ditko, and how he felt about the comics of the time. I hope you and your readers enjoy it!