The Amazing Steve Ditko
Steve Ditko has passed away.
The co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange stayed away from the public eye, preferring a private life where he could work on his art. But while he may not have the star power of Stan Lee, or the larger than life impact of Jack Kirby, the Marvel universe and superheroes as we know them wouldn’t be the same without him.
It’s not a surprise when I say that Spider-Man is, bar none, my favorite superhero. As corny as it is, he’s been my guiding light during many difficult times in my life, and while some of that is from Stan Lee’s bombastic writing style, Ditko’s art is a bigger part of that. If you compare Ditko’s Spider-Man to any other artist from that era of Marvel, it’s clear that Ditko had a unique style in mind for Spider-Man and especially Peter Parker. Peter wasn’t a big, muscle-bound hero like Captain America or the Hulk. He was small, shrimpy guy who was never the first to be picked for a game of pick-up basketball. But that look made Peter Parker, and Spider-Man, stand out from the crowd of heroes, and made him into one of, if not the, most relatable superheroes ever. Not everyone could be Thor or Iron Man, but anyone could be Peter Parker, a kid just trying his best.
Ditko’s style can only be described as “weird”. From the gangly Spider-Man to the out of this world, begging to be airbrushed on the side of a van art of Doctor Strange, Ditko’s visions of the Marvel universe were uniquely his own, and shades of that can be felt to this day in Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange film from a few years ago. Hell, Ditko even had a hand in creating nearly all of Spidey’s classic rogues. Without him there’d be no Doctor Octopus, Kraven the Hunter, Electro, or Green Goblin. He laid the foundation for not only the world of Spider-Man, but for the stories that would come later on.
One of the unfortunate things about Steve Ditko is that he never wanted any attention for his creations. That means that he eschewed things like comic conventions and big movie premieres, and while I understand why he wouldn’t want go through with big public appearances, I do find it a little sad that he never got to experience people thanking him for creating one of the world’s greatest superheroes. So I guess I’ll just have to do it right now:
Thank you, Mr. Ditko.