Late last week, we learned that the world lost a legend, someone who helped shape Marvel Comics into the brand that it is today. Artist Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and many more iconic characters, left us at the age of 90 on June 29th.
In 1961, when Stan Lee was the editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, he tasked Ditko with an assignment to design and illustrate his idea of a teenaged superhero with the powers of a spider. Ditko responded by bringing Peter Parker to life with the now iconic red and blue costume with web-shooters, to boot. The Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man was here, and here to stay! Along with Spidey, Ditko would help create Doctor Octopus, Sandman, and the Green Goblin, among other characters in the series.
In 1963, Ditko brought the psychedelic hero Doctor Strange to life in Strange Tales #1. He would go on to work with that character for the next three-plus years, finishing after issue #146. When his creations became larger than life on the big screen, Ditko decided to avoid major publicity and let his work speak for itself. This approach earned him the title of the “J.D. Salinger” of comics.
“We didn’t approach him. He’s like J.D. Salinger. He is private and has intentionally stayed out of the spotlight like J.D. Salinger,” Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson told THR in 2016. “I hope he goes to see the movie, wherever he is, because I think we paid homage to his work.”