Steve Ditko (1927 – ) is best known as the co-creator, along with Stan Lee, of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. Famously reclusive, Ditko declines interviews and publicity, claiming that he offers readers his work, not his personality.
Ditko studied under Jerry Robinson (the creator of the Joker and the first artist to ghost Batman for Bob Kane) at the Cartoonist and Illustrators School in New York. His first professional work was published through Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s studio, where he began as an inker. He soon moved to Charlton Comics, producing work for their sci-fi, horror and mystery comics. At Charlton, he also created Captain Atom (the inspiration for Alan Moore’s Doctor Manhattan of Watchmen).
At Atlas (the company that would eventually become Marvel Comics), he worked on now virtually forgotten titles like The Destructor, Morlock 2001 and Tiger-Man. At Marvel, however, Ditko would cement his ultimately legendary status in comics industry. Not only did he co-create Spider-Man (giving the character his unique visual design and also contributing such concepts as Spider-Man’s web shooters) and Dr. Strange, he also illustrated the Hulk (in issue #6 and also in Tales to Astonish, designing one of the Hulk’s most recognizable foes, the Leader).
Leaving Marvel, Ditko went back to Charlton and worked on the Blue Beetle, the Question, and Captain Atom. Additionally, he drew 16 stories for Warren’s classic horror magazines Creepy and Eerie.
In 1968, Ditko started working at DC Comics and, while his stay there was short, it nevertheless left an undeniable and lasting impact. Not only did he create The Creeper and Hawk and Dove in their classic Showcase series (characters that would go on to receive their own titles and also continue to play a part in the DC Universe to this day), he also facilitated getting Dick Giordano to come over to DC from Charlton (one of Girodano’s first assignments at DC was on Showcase #75 – Hawk and Dove’s first appearance – coming in as editor half-way through the issue).
Ditko came back to DC in 1975, creating Shade, The Changing Man, illustrating Man-Bat, The Demon, Starman, and the Legion of Super Heroes as well as reviving the Creeper. The last year of the 1970’s found Ditko back at Marvel where he worked on Machine Man,The Micronaunts, and Captain Universe.
Ditko has provided artwork for numerous other comics and publishers and, while he retired from mainstream comics in 1998, he continues to work at his Manhattan studio.
In 1962, he won the Alley Award for Best Short Story with Stan Lee for Amazing Fantasy #15, the origin of Spiderman. He also won seven more Alley Awards from 1963 through 1965, all for his work on Spider-Man. In 1985, he was placed on the Roll of Honor for the Eagle Awards. He was also presented with the 1987 Comic-Con Inkpot Award, which he refused. He was inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994.
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