Aside from Superman and Batman, if you could be credited with the creation of any character, who would you choose? Dr. Strange? How about Spider-Man? Me? Definitely, Spider-Man. It saddens me to tell you, but I didn’t create Spider-Man. Steve Ditko (along with Stan Lee) did.
Born in 1927, Steve Ditko studied at the Cartoonist and Illustrators School in New York. He began his professional career in 1953 and immediately got to work.
During the 50’s Ditko found work at Atlas (Marvel) Comics. During this time, his contributions were many. Most notably, as mentioned he found work on The Amazing Spider-Man, Strange Tales, and other titles.
Of his design, Ditko said: “One of the first things I did was to work up a costume. A vital, visual part of the character. I had to know how he looked … before I did any breakdowns. For example A clinging power so he wouldn’t have hard shoes or boots, a hidden wrist-shooter versus a web gun and holster, etc. … I wasn’t sure Stan would like the idea of covering the character’s face but I did it because it hid an obviously boyish face. It would also add mystery to the character….”
Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 and shortly thereafter, his own series. Steve Ditko’s work on Spider-Man cannot be understated. His tenure saw the rise and creation of many of Spider-Man’s most famous enemies. These include Doctor Octopus, the Lizard, Electro, and the Green Goblin.
In 1963, Steve Ditko unleashed Dr. Strange on the world. This title gained notoriety within the college crowds for its surreal and “far out there” looks. The students often thought that Marvel must’ve been “on something” to create work like this.
In 1966, for reasons unknown, he left Marvel.
After leaving Marvel, he moved over to Charlton. He most famously worked on the Blue Beetle, Question, and Captain Atom titles. In 1968, he flip-flopped for a short-lived stay at DC. From DC, he went back to Charlton and would stay here for the better part of a decade.
Steve Ditko never really found a permanent home after this. He would jump between Marvel, DC and a few independents. In 1992, he would create one of his last original characters in Squirrel Girl.
1998 saw the retirement from mainstream comics for Ditko. That’s not to say that he hasn’t come out for work every now and then but more so, that he began to “take it easy”.
Like many other artists, Steve Ditko has won numerous awards. Some of these include the Alley Award, the Eagle Award and has been inducted into various Hall of Fames.