Spider-Man cocreator Steve Ditko passes away at 90
To call Steve Ditko one of comics’ greatest creators is an understatement. If all (all!) he had achieved in his career was co-creating Spider-Man, then he would have made an indelible mark on pop culture, but he left us so much more.
Born in Pennsylvania, the young Ditko fell in love with comics and art at an early age, eventually going on to study under Joker co-creator Jerry Robinson. He began work at Atlas Comics in 1956. As the company evolved into Marvel, Ditko was already a consistent favourite with readers and when Stan Lee needed an artist to design a hero called Spider-Man in 1962, Ditko drew a thrillingly weird costume.
While Spidey is his most famous work, Doctor Strange is arguably Ditko’s most fascinating. From his Bleecker Street home, Strange would embark on pandimensional adventures, full of the psychedelic spirit of the ’60s. Hippies adored Strange and assumed his creator was like-minded – in fact, he was politically conservative.
Ditko left Marvel suddenly in circumstances that remain mysterious. In the years following he worked for numerous smaller publishers before moving to Marvel’s “Distinguished Competition” in 1968. Among his many creations for comics are Shade the Changing Man and The Question.
Like many creators, Ditko didn’t get the credit or the cash he deserved – he claimed never to have seen a cent from the Spider-Man films. But for superhero fans, he remains a name every bit as important as Lee and Kirby. WS