Strange Tales Annual # 1, 1963. Kirby pencils; Sol Brodsky inks?
I started out with this cover since I noticed the circular webbing motif in the background is similar to the design on Avengers # 11. Stan Lee often designed covers with the artists, so this may be an instance where he decided to use the same idea on the Avengers cover a year or so later. As we can see, there are a number of instances where Kirby differentiated from Ditko in his interpretation of Spider-Man. Spidey's webbing is drawn in the standard manner, notably on the belt and feet; the left foot in particular has lines that are completely wrong. The boots are smaller than Ditko's version and the spider on the chest is noticeably absent. Kirby does include the underarm webbing and presents an overall acceptable rendition, although devoid of the vitality Ditko brought to the character.
Amazing Spider-Man # 10, Mar 1964. Kirby pencils on Spider-Man, Ayers inks?
This Kirby drawing of Spider-Man which appeared a few months after the Strange Tales Annual, is interesting since it has Spidey in a side view. You'll notice that Kirby's Spidey face mask is flat, with no definition of a nose. Ditko's S-M mask is more realistically rendered and outlines the facial structure underneath. Kirby remembers to draw the spider on the chest here (unless someone else added it) but draws the ankles very thin, and the webbing on the glove pointing to the Enforcers has lines going all the way to the fingers. The glove holding the webbing has the lines drawn in the correct manner, which means that Ditko likely fixed it, although why he didn't fix the other hand is a mystery.
A close-up of the corrected hand. You can see a difference in the more fluid line on the fingers.
Ditko's Spidey - close-up from the cover to Amazing Spider-Man # 21, Feb 1965.
I thought it would be interesting to compare a Ditko Spider-Man figure/pose with Kirby's. As mentioned, Ditko's mask looks like it has a nose whenever there is a side view. Ditko's musculature is more realistic, and his webbing design is fluid. His Spider-Man looks thinner and younger, while Kirby's is bulky and stiff. There is quite a difference between the two interpretations.
Tales To Astonish # 57, July 1964. Kirby pencils; Sol Brodsky inks.
On the cover to Astonish Spidey is swinging through the air on his web, which looks more like a net or rope than Ditko's slinkier version. In every drawing, including the interior stories Kirby penciled, Spidey never shoots his webbing with his index fingers like Ditko's; Kirby has Spidey making a fist instead. Once again, the webbing design on Spidey's costume is off-kilter, looking like a series of U's on his arm (and it covers his entire arm). The spider design on his back is also missing.
Kirby's Dr. Strange image from the cover of Strange Tales # 126, November 1964, undoubtedly based on Ditko's interior story pages. Inks by the great Chic Stone.
Noting the differences between Kirby and Ditko's versions of Spider-Man is in no way meant to denigrate Kirby, only to illustrate how diametrically opposed they were stylistically. Ditko, for instance, had a very hard time drawing the Thing; his rocky brick-like exterior appeared to confuse Ditko's design sensibilities . Nevertheless, there were occasions where both men were able to do acceptable work on each other's characters. I always thought Ditko did a fine job on the Human Torch, while Kirby's Dr. Strange cover vignettes on Strange Tales (which were likely drawn after Ditko's interior stories and were likely based on interior scenes) and guest appearances, while not perfect costume wise, had a charm of their own. Both men's individual imprints are unmistakable, which makes their storytelling and artistry a constant source of delight and fascination.