Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #1

The cover of Amazing Fantasy #1, Spider-Man’s debut appearance in 1962.

Artist Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, is 89 today.  Happy Birthday, Steve!

Stan Lee thought the name up. I did costume, web gimmick on wrist, and spider signal.

Steve Ditko was the co-creator of Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Squirrel Girl, and Speedball for Marvel.  He also co-created such villains as Dr. Octopus, Sandman, the Lizard, the Leader, Green Goblin, and Electro.  For DC, he co-created Stalker, the Creeper, Shade, the Changing Man, the Question, and Hawk and Dove.  He created the Missing Man and the Mocker for Pacific Comics.  Ditko co-created Captain Atom for Charlton Comics.  He created Mr. A, who first appeared in the independent comic witzend.

Steve Ditko, who was born November 3, 1927, is still active as an artist.  He is also an intensely private man, still refusing interviews.  The last time he gave an interview was in the 1960s.  When the BBC did a documentary on him in 2007, he declined to be photographed or to answer any questions.

When I do a job, it’s not my personality that I’m offering the readers but my artwork. It’s not what I’m like that counts; it’s what I did and how well it was done…. I produce a product, a comic art story. Steve Ditko is the brand name.

A self-portrait of Steve Ditko from 1964.

Steve Ditko self-portrait from The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1.

Steve Ditko has worked for every major comic book company and several minor ones.  He has drawn superheroes, science fiction, and horror.  Although he is best known as an artist, he has scripted or co-scripted several comic books and published numerous essays.  Ditko was inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990,  into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994, and into the Inkwell Awards Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award in 2015.

In 1987, Ditko won a Comic-Con International Inkpot Award in absentia, which his publisher, Deni Loubert of Renegade Press, accepted on his behalf. Ditko refused the award, telling Loubert: “Awards bleed the artist and make us compete against each other. They are the most horrible things in the world. How dare you accept this on my behalf?” The award was returned to the convention.

Happy Birthday, Steve Ditko, and thank you for the decades of wonderful art and storytelling.

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