Monday, 2 November 2009


Self portrait

Born on this day (2 November) in 1927, Steve Ditko was one of the key figures who revolutionised Marvel Comics in the early 1960s along with fellow artist Jack Kirby and writer Stan Lee. His major contributions were the co-creation of Spider-Man and Doctor Strangeand many of the villains that have also lasted close to 50 years. His realistic and occasionally low-key style has many fans among the artists and critics of today.

Prior to his work at Marvel in the 60s, he contributed comics in a variety of genres to a number of companies. He quit Marvel in 1966 over artistic differences, although, like Kirby, his contribution to the storylines was often overlooked and he was paid a pittance for creating characters that ultimately brought the company a lot of money. A devotee of the right-wing philospher and writer Ayn Rand, he was less in tune with 60s liberalism than Lee. One memorable disagreement took place when Lee wanted Spider-Man to take the side of protesting students, whereas Ditko thought he should be breaking up the unrest.

He continued comics work for a number of other companies, like Warren, Creepy and Charlton, and some of his work developed his own political views, which were becoming increasingly a case of seeing the world in terms of wrong or right, notably Mr A, who scolds a robbery victim who expresses pity for her attacker: "To have any sympathy for a killer is an insult to their victims." In the late 70s and the mid 90s, he worked briefly for Marvel and appeared to be reurning to public prominence when he had a falling out with Fantagraphics, the independent comics company that had agreed to publish a series of new work.

Reclusive at the best of times, he was the subject 'In Search of Steve Ditko', a Jonathan Ross documentary for BBC4 in 2007; he still maintains an office in New York and is believed to be producing new work.
Self portrait

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For the complete Collector's Edition story (featured above), see:

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