Superhero movies are all the rage right now, and cartoons and video games centered around these characters have been popular for even longer. But let's not forget that with a few exceptions, the characters who populate these media stories originated from the printed page. Spider-Man and Doctor Strange were no exceptions, and sadly, the news has come in that Steve Ditko, the artist who co-created these heroes and many more, recently passed away at age 90.
The New York City Police Department confirmed Steve Ditko's death to THR, saying he was found dead in his apartment on June 29 and is believed to have died two days earlier. Ditko is not believed to have married and he did not have any children, although he does have a nephew who is also named Steve Ditko.
Steve Ditko got his start in the comic book industry in 1953, and not long after that he met Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, who had created Captain America more than a decade earlier. By 1955, he began illustrating for Atlas Comics, the precursor to Marvel Comics, where he worked with Stan Lee. In 1961, Lee recruited Ditko to help him create Spider-Man after Lee was unsatisfied with what Kirby had come up with. Spider-Man debuted in 1962's Amazing Fantasy #15, and Ditko stuck with the Web-Slinger's main book for its first 38 issues, during which time he also co-created villains like Doctor Octopus, Lizard, Electro and Green Goblin. In 1963, Ditko teamed up with Lee again to create Doctor Strange, who debuted in Strange Tales #110. Ditto illustrated Strange's mystical adventures until Strange Tales #146. Ditko also drew Iron Man and Hulk during this era.
In 1966, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee had a falling-out; Ditko never explained his side of the story publicly and Lee claimed he didn't know why the rift had formed. Whatever the reason, Ditko jumped to Charlton Comics, where he worked on characters like Captain Atom, The Question and Blue Beetle (the Ted Kord version), all of whom were eventually incorporated into the DC universe. And speaking of DC Comics, while Ditko's initial stay with that company was short, he did co-create The Creeper and duo Hawk and Dove during that time. Ditko would work for Marvel and DC again in later years, with one of his last Marvel creations being Squirrel Girl in the early '90s. Ditko also created Mr. A, an Objectivist crimefighter who remained Ditko's property.
We here at CinemaBlend offer our condolences to Steve Ditko's family and friends in their time of mourning. If you have a fond memory of Ditko and/or any of his work, feel free to share it in the comments below. Both Spider-Man and Doctor Strange appeared in Avengers: Infinity War earlier this year, and they will return for Avengers 4 next year, though Spidey will be back a few months after that for Spider-Man: Far From Home as well.