Editors' Choice

Comics Legend Steve Ditko Has Died

Steve Porter / July 9, 2018

Legendary comics artist Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, has passed away. He was 90. The Associated Press confirms that the New York Police Department found Mr. Ditko in his apartment on June 29, but it is believed he had died two days earlier. Ditko was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1927. Unmarried, he has no known survivors.

Ditko worked at Marvel Comics in the 1960s and, with editor-in-chief Stan Lee, developed Spider-Man in 1961. While Stan Lee often receives the lion’s share of credit for Marvel’s most popular super-hero, Ditko was equally—if not more—responsible for the character’s distinct look and most compelling stories. Ditko’s red-and-blue costume, web-shooters, preternatural senses, and sinister villains such as Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Vulture, and the Lizard set the character apart in a crowded field. Ditko told stories that covered the dark, tragic, and depressing life of Spider-Man and gave the series an immediate and powerful appeal to readers that sympathized with Peter Parker’s misfortunes. It is Steve Ditko’s conception of the character that still resonates with fans today.

During his long tenure at Marvel Comics, Ditko worked on numerous other titles. Prior to a rift with Stan Lee, Ditko co-created Doctor Strange in 1963. His surreal art for the original series informed director Scott Derrickson for the visual identity of the feature film in 2016. As a freelancer, Steve Ditko also created zany cult favorite Squirrel Girl for Marvel in 1992.

A notoriously reclusive artist, Ditko turned down numerous requests for interviews over the years as his artistic creations became cultural behemoths. The influential creator was responsible for some of the most iconic and successful characters in comics history. His gripping style and astute characterization forged stories that remain an inspiration to this day.