Born November 1927.
One of the fathers of the modern comic book. Along with Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, Ditko was one of the reasons Marvel Comics survived and prospered during the 1960s, and was one of the main contributing figures to the seedbed of imagination that has recently been harvested so heavily by modern superhero movies.
As the original Spider-Man artist, Ditko also worked on the stories and created the sub-plots of the original issues (#1-#38), but since Stan Lee wrote the dialogue and was involved in trying to provide direction for the series, the result was a fight between Lee and Ditko over what direction the series would go in. There is a similar dilemma over material that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby worked on together during Marvel's 1960's resurgence, such that it is a Gordian Knot trying to define the weight of the credit that should go to each man, and it appears to be the same thing over the original issues of Spider-Man. Though Stan Lee provided the editorial direction and wrote dialogue, it's claimed, for example, that Ditko essentially based Peter Parker upon himself, and was adamantly going against the direction Martin Goodman (Marvel Comics' owner) wanted, which was:
"...the original concept of Parker as a super-powered Archie caught between a brunette and a blonde breezing through life on a motorcycle." Page 108, Tales to Astonish, by Ronin Ro. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004.
Ditko eventually left Spider-Man and John Romita is the artist next known for shaping the character.
Ditko's work in comics goes well beyond Spider-Man, and includes self-published work, material for Warren, DC Comics (where he created The Creeper, for example), Charlton Comics and many other companies. Ditko is also the creator on Marvels Doctor Strange.
Steve Ditko 1968 - First Creeper Appearance
See cover art enlarged.
The site Kleefeld on Comics has a letter from Steve Ditko on Creativity (and slightly on Spiderman).
Steve Ditko has been providing articles to the cinema site "Big Hollywood." They just posted an article (more of a list of philosophical points) by Ditko titled "The Ever Unreachable." Here's a few points to give the flavor of Ditko's thinking (which, as had been noted in many places, reflects writer Ayn Rand of "Atlas Shrugged" and "Fountainhead" fame):
- 9. Few minds are willing to clearly understand events that affect their lives. Even events like 9/11, terrorism, don’t cause the needed questioning, understanding, of one’s and other’s opposing belief systems, philosophies of life. There is not real concern to know the kind of consequences inherent in any belief, action or philosophy.
- 10. It’s the way many comic book fans, “historians”, don’t seek any fundamental understanding of the role of a hero or the reason, purpose, consequences of anti-heroes, rotting heroes and the deaths of comic book heroes.
- 11. Too many minds are willing to take the path of least resistance, go along with the crowd, seek the comfort of some in-group and be relieved of thought and responsibility by following some claimed, believed, authority. In comics, it’s with some editor, comic book expert or “historian”.
- 89. In comics fandom today, there are too many acting like babies whining, crying, throwing temper tantrums and demanding another’s bottle or toy...
The Creeper - Steve Ditko
Steve Ditko and Wally Wood - Stalker 1975
From the brief 4-issue run of the Paul Levitz written Stalker, 1975 DC Comics. Art by Steve Ditko and Wally Wood.
Detective Comics #487, DC Comics, Jan 1980 cover date. Click to enlarge.
Original Page Oct 2013| Updated Dec 2013