Steve Ditko, Marvel legend who gave us 'Doctor Strange' and 'Spider-Man', dead at 90

Steve Ditko was found at his apartment on June 29, and the police have now confirmed that he had been dead for two days at the time.

                            Steve Ditko, Marvel legend who gave us 'Doctor Strange' and 'Spider-Man', dead at 90
Steve Ditko (Source : IMDB)

New York police have now confirmed that the famed comic book illustrator and creator, and ex-Marvel Comics' staff — Steve Ditko — is dead. The legendary man who gave us fan favorites like 'Spider-Man' and 'Doctor Strange', was found dead in his apartment; he was 90.

Ditko — creator of 'Doctor Strange' and also the original artist plus co-creator of 'Spider-Man', as per Stan Lee — had been found unconscious a while ago, on June 29, and it is only recently that the police have confirmed that he had been dead for two days at that time. As per reports, Ditko is survived by no family.

Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on November 2, 1927, Ditko's initial works involve drawing for a military paper while serving in the Army in a post-war Germany. He followed that with studying art at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, where he was under the early Batman artist, Jerry Robinson, reports Deadline. He finally began drawing his first comics in 1963. 

Ditko and Stan Lee first came together at Atlas Comics — which used to be Marvel's forbearer — back in 1955. After their initially successful collaboration, Ditko went on to create some of the most famous villains from the Spider-Man franchise, including Doctor Octopus, Sandman, the Lizard, and Green Goblin.   

Despite having resorted to a reclusive nature in later years, Ditko’s impact on Marvel comics still continues to be insurmountable. He created and developed 'Spider-Man' with Stan Lee back in 1961, and later introduced the world to 'Doctor Strange' in 1963. He went on to continue writing and drawing 'Doctor Strange' stories for Marvel until the year 1966.

Eventually, disputes over money and other miscellaneous friction with Stan Lee was what drove him to leave Marvel right in ’66. Even though it’s not confirmed, that could be the reason why he chose to shun the public spotlight shortly after. However, he gave one last official interview back in 1968 and since then, stuck to contributing to other comic and publishers.

Speaking of his departure from the Marvel Comics, Ditko had given a rather vague explanation, citing the reasons behind the step, all the way back in 2001. "I know why I left Marvel, but no one else in this universe knew or knows why. It may be of a mild interest to realize that Stan Lee chose not to know, or hear why, I left."

But by this time, Ditko had already resumed collaborating with Marvel by freelancing for the franchise and had also given the world one of his most notable creations — Squirrel Girl — in 1991. His next public spotlight appearance was in 2007 when he participated in a BBC documentary about his life; however, it was only on the grounds that he did not get recorded or filmed at all, during his 25-minute chat with Neil Gaiman.

“The first rule of Steve Ditko is we can't share Steve Ditko with you," BBC commentator Jonathan Ross had shared at the time. And it was almost unfair to his fans and followers or pretty much any Marvel fan in the world, whatsoever, as Ditko was quite the creative powerhouse much like his contemporary Marvel staff, Jack Kirby.

Ditko’s contribution lies in creating the mythology and iconography of 'Doctor Strange' so much so that beyond a point, the line separating Strange from Ditko becomes quite blurred. Sadly, while his impact on Strange remains so significant, as The Hollywood Reporter points out, “creative freedom and differences in approach between the two men in charge of Spider-Man’s story,” ruined his journey with Marvel.