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PASSING OF A TROUBLED LEGEND
Posted: 071018

Reclusive Artist Steve Ditko Found in His Apartment Days After Dying

Artist Steve Ditko was found dead in his apartment on Friday June 29 by the New York Police Department and it is believed he died about two days earlier. No cause of death was announced and the initial reports of his death didn't begin to show up on news sites until almost a week later.

Stephen J. Ditko was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on Nov. 2, 1927. His father worked at a steel mill and his mother was a homemaker. He developed an interest in comics from his fathers love of  Hal Foster's Prince Valiant newspaper strip, and from Batman and the Spirit, which both debuted as he entered his teens. After graduating high school, Ditko served in the army in post-war Germany, drawing for a military paper. After being discharged, he moved to New York City in 1950 and studied under Batman artist Jerry Robinson at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School. By 1953, Ditko was getting work as a professional comics artist, including at the studio of Captain America creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. He began drawing for Marvel Comics forerunner Atlas Comics in 1955. He had a successful collaboration with Stan Lee at first, as the pair worked on a number of science fiction stories together. He is of course best known for his sixties Marvel work and co-creation of Spiderman, Dr.Strange. Ditko left  Marvel Comics over a fight with Lee, the causes of which have always remained unclear. The pair had not been on speaking terms for several years. Ditko never explained his side, and Lee claimed not to really know what motivated Ditko's exit. The best explanation suggests Ditko was frustrated at Lee's oversight and his failure to properly share credit for Ditko's contributions to Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. The charismatic Lee was always the face of Marvel Comics, but Ditko (and Jack Kirby) thought Lee was more interested in self-promotion than selling the company, and, in the process, implied that he deserved the lion's share of the credit for creating the characters in the Marvel Universe.

After leaving  Marvel Ditko spent the next ten years on and off at DC creating Hawk & Dove, Creeper, Shade the Changing Man and others and also at Charlton creating Blue Beetle and the Question. The latter character was the forerunner of his most famous/notorious of Independent Projects: Mister A in 1967. The character embodied Ayn Rand's objectivist philosophy, which Ditko was an ardent believer in from the mid-1960s on. Many of his subsequent creations at DC and Charlton shared his objectivist views but to a lesser degree when compared with Mr.A which was a pure and somewhat strident distillation of these views. By the 1980's he had returned to Marvel to occasionally freelance on such titles as Micronauts, Rom and Machine Man and creating the character who would eventually become the current Millennial favorite: Squirrel Girl. Ditko spent most of his life as a recluse, shunning publicity to the point where he was referred to as the "J.D Salinger of comics". This was never more apparent than in the last two decades which saw him totally absent while many of his creations enjoyed great success on both the large and small screen.

Ditko has no known survivors. He is believed never to have married.
 

Images © Copyright 2018 by their respective owners No rights given or implied by Alternate Reality, Incorporated Source: Various Sources

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