For fans of superhero comics, the many people who drew and wrote the stories of these characters are often idolized to the point of worship. That goes double for the ones who wrote and drew the characters originally – the “creators” as it were – for publishing brands like Marvel and DC, whose superheroes have been around since forever. Much has been said about the likes of Stan Lee, Chris Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. The last of these worked with Stan Lee at Marvel to conceptualize a certain famous friendly neighborhood superhero. Sadly, this titan of comics has left us recently.
Comic Book Resources has it that Steve Ditko, who collaborated with Stan Lee to create superheroes like “Spider-Man” and “Doctor Strange” for Marvel Comics, has passed away at the age of 90. What is surprising was the time his death was reported. Apparently Ditko was discovered lifeless in his apartment late last month in June 29, though a forensic report indicates that he may have been dead two days earlier. The lateness of the discovery was due to Ditko’s self-imposed seclusion, as he was famous for keeping to himself late in life. He apparently has never married and is survived by his brother and nephew.
Ditko was born in 1927. While he drew comics as early as during his US Army service post-World War II, he only became a professional in 1953 then went to work in the studio of “Captain America” creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. In 1955 he drew for Atlas Comics, which later evolved into Marvel with Stan Lee as editor-in-chief. He and Ditko created the first “Spider-Man” story which debuted on an anthology in 1962. It became its own comic-book title where Ditko also conceptualized the super-villains Peter Parker/Spider-Man fought. One year later the Lee-Ditko team created “Doctor Strange” (1963).
Steve Ditko’s dynamic character art lent itself well to illustrating the superhuman agility and reflexes of Spider-Man in comic form. He also excelled in dramatic drawing, such as an issue where Spider-Man lifted a heavy load that had pinned him earlier; this scene was paid homage in the 2017 MCU film “Spider-Man: Homecoming” starring Tom Holland. Eventually however, Ditko left Marvel due to an undisclosed argument with Stan Lee, working for Charlton Comic and DC where he created other characters. He returned to Marvel in the nineties to create more heroes like the popular Squirrel Girl, though he began shunning interviews and withdrawing from the public in the seventies, barring turning in his commissioned works.
Not just Marvel but the entire comics community turned out in condolences to Ditko’s relatives. Artists and filmmakers paid tribute to him on social media. Up until his death Ditko remained active as an independent comic book artist and publisher.
Image courtesy of Digital Spy