Comics fans mourn the death of reclusive artist and character creator Steve Ditko who died age 90.
The news of his death has been more widely reported than much of his life. Reclusive comic book artist and (alongside Stan Lee) co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, Steve Ditko, died on June 29th at the age of 90.
Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on November 2nd 1927, Steve Ditko was turned on to comics by his father. Post World War II his artistic talents were utilised drawing for a military paper.
In 1950 when discharged from the Army Ditko found himself in New York studying under Batman artist Jerry Robinson.
Ditko’s most iconic work began in 1961 when Marvel Comics’ Editor-in-Chief, Stan Lee, charged the artist with creating the look of a new teenage character. Lee hadn’t been happy with Jack Kirby’s treatment.
That character was Spider-Man, and the iconic blue and red costume that endures today came from Steve Ditko. Alongside Stan Lee, the artist would go on to create Doctor Strange for Marvel.
Often feeling that his input was being overlook whilst Stan Lee built a career as a personality, Ditko left Marvel and developed various other characters including The Question, Hawk and Dove and the Creeper for DC Comics.
The artist became reclusive, refusing interviews and staying out of the public eye. The news of his death only emerged several days after the event, though no cause has been revealed at this time.
Ditko maintained a studio in New York and continued to work on his own comics and creations until his death. He has been described as “a young, cool artist who happened to have an aged body” by Graig Weich of Beyond Comics in an article for the Hollywood Reporter.
In a statement, Marvel Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada, writes:
“Only a small group of individuals can claim that they have effected and redefined not just an industry, but popular culture worldwide. Steve Ditko was one of those few who dared to break molds every time his pencil and pen hit a blank sheet of paper. In his lifetime he blessed us with gorgeous art, fantastical stories, heroic characters and a mystical persona worthy of some of his greatest creations. And much like his greatest co-creation, Steve Ditko’s legend and influence will outlive us all.”
Meanwhile, perhaps the most endearing tribute, from the many made by industry titans over the weekend, came from current Spider-Man movie actor Tom Holland:
“We all want to leave our mark on the world – this guy crushed it. He made so many people so happy and changed lives – most of all, mine! Thank you Steve – your life lives on man, thank you.”
Further tributes were made on twitter by Guillermo Del Toro, Neil Gaiman and Edgar Wright amongst many others.
Steve Ditko survived by his brother.