Spider-Man Co-Creator Steve Ditko Dies at 90


by Matt Morrison – on Jul 06, 2018 in Comics

Steve Ditko - the legendary comic book creator most famous for co-creating Spider-Man - has passed away at the age of 90, as reported by THR. Ditko's passing was confirmed by the New York City Police Department, who found Ditko in his apartment on June 29 and believe that he passed on two days earlier.

Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania to a steel worker and a homemaker, Stephen J. Ditko developed an interest in comics early on in his life. It was an interest his father, who loved Prince Valiant, encouraged and a young Steve claimed that his favorite comics as a teenager were Batman and The Spirit. Ditko would go on to draw cartoons for a military newspaper after enlisting during World War II. Once he was discharged, he enrolled at the famous Cartoonists and Illustrators School in 1950, where he trained under Batman artist Jerry Robinson.

By 1953, Ditko was working professionally as a full-time comic book artist and working at the studio of Captain America creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. In 1955, he began working for Atlas Comics - the precursor to Marvel Comics - and began drawing the first of many collaborations with writer Stan Lee. The two created numerous science-fiction and fantasy works for a number of Atlas' anthology series, their work proving so popular that one comic - Amazing Adventures - was restructured specifically to accommodate the five-page weird-fiction that became their hallmark.

It was in 1962 that Ditko and Lee would craft their greatest collaboration ever - a superhero called Spider-Man. Reportedly Lee got permission from his publisher to give the basic character concept - a nerdy teenager with spider-themed super-powers - a try in the final issue of Amazing Fantasy. Unhappy with the character design provided by Jack Kirby, which looked too muscular and heroic for Lee's liking, Lee handed the assignment to Ditko. It was Ditko who's credited with designing Spider-Man's distinctive costume and lean physique, as well as coming up with the idea for Spider-Man's web-shooters. Ditko and Lee also worked together to create the sorcerer hero Doctor Strange.

Unfortunately, these collaborations would prove to be their last. Ditko grew resentful of his partnership with Lee and left Marvel Comics. It is believed that Ditko felt he wasn't getting enough credit for his work on the series, but he refused to discuss the matter publicly. Ditko did not want for work, however, and in the following years he would go on to work for Charlton Comics and DC Comics. Though primarily acclaimed as an artist, Ditko also wrote comics and went on to create characters such as The Question, the Ted Kord version of Blue Beetle, The Creeper, Squirrel Girl, Shade The Changing Man, Mr. A and Hawk and Dove. Ditko's output for mainstream publishers waned in later years, and he became something of a recluse. Comparisons were made to author J. D. Salinger, as Ditko avoided the spotlight and reportedly refused any payment for the movies based on his creations. He maintained a studio in Manhattan until his death. Ditko has no known survivors. He is believed to have never been married.


Source: THR

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