Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, dead at 90

Published: Saturday, July 07, 2018 @ 1:14 AM

Steve Ditko helped create the Spider-Man character in comic books with Marvel Comics CEO Stan Lee.
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
Steve Ditko helped create the Spider-Man character in comic books with Marvel Comics CEO Stan Lee.(Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

Steve Ditko, the artist who helped create legendary Marvel comic book characters Spider-Man and Doctor Strange with Stan Lee, was found dead in his New York apartment on June 29, Variety reported Friday. He was 90.

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Marvel President Dan Buckley said in a statement that "the Marvel family mourns the loss" of Ditko, CNN reported.

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"Steve transformed the industry and the Marvel Universe, and his legacy will never be forgotten," Buckley said. "Our thoughts are with his family, loved ones, and fans during this sad time."

Ditko’s love for comic book superheroes was born during his stint in the military after he graduated from high school in 1945, when he drew comic strips for Army-syndicated newspapers, Variety reported. 

After he was discharged, Ditko studied under Batman artist in 1950. Through Robinson, he met Lee, who was Marvel Comics’ editor-in-chief. Ditko helped create the Spider-Man persona in 1961, including his costume and web shooters, Variety said.

Spider-Man debuted in Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962, and a year later Marvel launched “Amazing Spider-Man,” the character’s first standalone series, with Ditko and Lee handling the illustrations, Variety reported.

Ditko helped create Spider-Man characters as Doctor Octopus, Sandman, the Lizard and Green Goblin, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Beginning with issue No. 25, Ditko received a plot credit in addition to his artist credit. His final work in the Spider-Man series appeared in issue No. 38, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Doctor Strange also debuted in 1963, appearing in Strange Tales No. 110, Ditko worked on the comic book series through July 1966.

Ditko left Marvel shortly thereafter after some disagreements with Lee. He moved to DC Comics in 1968 and created the Creeper, a villain in the Batman comic series, Variety reported.

Among his last characters was cult favorite Squirrel Girl, which debuted in 1992, according to The Hollywood Reporter.