In 1979, writer Tom DeFalco was paired with artist and cocreator of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko, to work on an issue of Machine Man, one of the many superheroes populating the universe of Marvel Comics. Instead of the usual introduction and business chatter, Ditko challenged DeFalco during a first conversation: “Are you Tom? What gives you the right to write about heroes?” (Tucker 2012). By the time of this exchange, Ditko had not only (co-) created and continued numerous superhero stories, ranging from Captain Atom to Dr. Strange or the Hulk, but he had also dedicated a lot of thought to the question as to what composed true heroism. In the 1960s, he had already found answers in a place not uncommon for that time, namely, in the novels of a Russian immigrant whose work should serve, in her own words, as “the projection of an ideal man” (Rand 1943, ix; 1975, 162; 2005, 230): Ayn Rand (1905–1982).
The article (Political Science & Politics, January 2014) by Claudia Franziska Brühwiler is here.