Unlike Stan Lee, Steve Ditko always prefered to live his life away from the spotlight, despite being the creator and co-creator of some of the world’s best known characters.
Artist Steve Ditko, the influential creator of Doctor Strange and co-creator of Spider Man dies at age 90
Stephen J. Ditko was born on November 2, 1927 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Alone and with Stan Lee, he contributed immensely to Pop Culture through the creation of timeless characters and superheroes published throughout the years. In 1950 Ditko begun to study under his idol, Batman artist Jerry Robinson, at the Cartoonist and Illustrators School in New York City. He began his professional career as an inker and coming under the influence of artist Mort Meskin. It was during this period that Ditko began his long association with Charlton Comics, where he did work in the genres of science fiction, horror, and mystery. In early 1953 he began professionally illustrating comic books, drawing writer Bruce Hamilton’s science-fiction story “Stretching Things”. Ditko’s first published comic-book cover was “The Thing” #12 (Feb. 1954).Later he came across Stan Lee, with whom he made his most successful collaboration ever.
Together, the pair created the iconic and timeless Spider Man, which debuted in “Amazing Fantasy” #15 (Aug. 1962). Lee and Ditko’s collaboration on the series saw the creation of many of the character’s best known antagonists including Doctor Octopus, the Sandman, the Lizard all in 1963, and, Electro and the Green Goblin in 1964. Ditko’s most famous solo creation (though co-credited to Stan Lee, but confirmed as being Ditko’s creation by Lee himself), is Doctor Strange, first published in 1963. Though often overshadowed by his Amazing Spider-Man work, Ditko’s “Doctor Strange” artwork has been equally acclaimed, for its surrealistic mystical landscapes and increasingly psychedelic visuals that helped make the feature a favorite of college students.
As historian Bradford W. Wright describes: “Steve Ditko contributed some of his most surrealistic work to the comic book and gave it a disorienting, hallucinogenic quality. Dr. Strange’s adventures take place in bizarre worlds and twisting dimensions that resembled Salvador Dalí paintings. … Inspired by the pulp-fiction magicians of Stan Lee’s childhood as well as by contemporary Beat culture. Dr. Strange remarkably predicted the youth counterculture’s fascination with Eastern mysticism and psychedelia. Never among Marvel’s more popular or accessible characters, Dr. Strange still found a niche among an audience seeking a challenging alternative to more conventional superhero fare”
Unlike Stan Lee, Steve Ditko always preferred to live his life away from the spotlight, despite being the creator and co-creator of some of the world’s best known characters. Ditko was found unresponsive in his apartment in New York City on June 29, 2018. Police said he had died within the previous two days. He was pronounced dead at age 90, with the cause of death initially deemed as a result of a myocardial infarction. His death was announced July 6. He’ll forever be remembered through his influential art that brought and brings joy to many people around the world.
Watch a short documentary focusing on Steve Ditko’s work
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