June 29 2018 the legendary artist Steve Ditko has passed away. He was 90. Ditko was most popular for his input into the development of Marvel Universe and it’s heroes like Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and others.
Unlike Stan Lee, Ditko wasn’t a public figure. He preferred to work alone, concentrated on the details. Some of his works are world-recognized classics of comics, while some are barely known. Same as parts of his life. So, what do we know about Steve Ditko, Spider-Man dad (well, one of), and one of the most powerful comics artists of the XX century?
Ditko is an American of Ukrainian descent. He was born in Pennsylvania to a family of immigrants who were actually Ukrainians (according to historians), although America identified Czechoslovakia as the country of origin.
At the Manhattan School of Fine Arts, he learned from Jerry Robinson, one of Batman’s key artists, co-author of Robin and the Joker. He was an ardent admirer of Ayn Rand and her philosophy of objectivism. Under her influence, in 1967, Ditko came up with Mr. A. and the Question.
He has worked with Charlton Comics, DC Comics and various small independent publishers. Among his famous non-Marvel characters are Captain Atom (Charlton Comics, later DC Comics) and Hawk and Dove (DC Comics).
The hermit Ditko was known as the Salinger of the comic book industry. The last published photo of the artist was taken about half a century ago. Since the 1970s, he has refused interviews and any public activity, claiming that he communicates through his work. Steve never stopped creative activity.
In 2008 his biography was published “Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko”. Ditko didn’t only refuse to participate in its preparation, but also called it a “poisoned sandwich” before even having read the material
Steve Ditko Spider-Man creation
Spider-Man was created in 1962. Stan Lee, then editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, gave Ditko the task of developing the image of a teenage superhero with spider superpowers after being dissatisfied with the version offered by another master – Jack Kirby. So the familiar Spidey look – the suit, and the colors – all came from Ditko.
Steve Ditko Spider-Man first appeared in the 15th issue of Amazing Fantasy, published in August 1962. The character gained incredible popularity and received his own series – The Amazing Spider-Man, which started in March 1963. After that, Ditko participated in the creation of such classic antagonists as Dr. Octopus, Electro, Mysterio, Green Goblin, and others.
He worked on a series about Peter Parker until the 38th issue. It is important to note that the work progressed on a special principle – the so-called “Marvel method”. Stan Lee proposed the idea of the issue, and on its basis, Ditko developed the plot and then drew. Therefore, he was by no means limited to the functions of an artist. Ditko was a full-fledged co-author of the plots, while Lee was the author of the dialogues.
He worked on a series about Peter Parker until the 38th issue. It is important to note that the work progressed on a special principle – the so-called “Marvel method”. Stan Lee proposed the idea of the issue, and on its basis, Ditko developed the plot and then drew. Therefore, he was by no means limited to the functions of an artist. Ditko was a full-fledged co-author of the plots, and Lee was the author of the dialogues.
Words from colleagues
Many people were astonished by the news of Ditko’s death. Here are some of his colleagues speaking.
I had heard rumours, hoped they were not true. Thank you Steve Ditko, for making my childhood weirder, and thank you @wossy for taking me with you when we went in search of Steve Ditko, and found him. A kind man, who gave me comics. https://t.co/SnBGneZgLx
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) July 6, 2018
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 #SteveDitko
— Tom Holland (@TomHolland1996) July 8, 2018
RIP to comic book legend Steve Ditko, beyond influential on countless planes of existence. He never truly profited from his comic creations that have lasted for decades, but his work will never be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/UBZQWpF79i
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) July 7, 2018
Spider-Man. Dr. Strange. The Question. The Creeper. Shade the Changing Man. Hawk & Dove. He worked with @Marvel AND @DCComics. Such an astounding imagination and the awesome ability to back it up. Thank you #SteveDitko, for sharing your genius and enriching American Pop Culture. pic.twitter.com/fZsUcgqHwA
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) July 7, 2018
It is an indisputable fact that it was Steve Ditko who laid the foundations of the early Marvel universe and made the coolest superhero on Earth – Spider-Man – as we know him. So Ditko remains one of the most mysterious and main figures in the history of comics, and therefore pop culture in general.
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