Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko is a notoriously private man. Despite his role in the creation of one of the most popular comic book characters ever as well as being responsible for Doctor Strange, he hasn't given an interview or interacted with fans in decades -- including those within the comics industry.
Brian Michael Bendis, who recently announced he was leaving Marvel to work for DC Comics, responded to a Twitter user who asked him if he had ever spoken with Ditko. Bendis revealed that he had, but that the creator was just as private to him as he has been with the public at large with Bendis writing that while he got to thank Ditko, his question about his going "deep underground" went unanswered.
Bendis getting to thank Ditko was no doubt significant. Bendis wrote Ultimate Spider-Man, adapting Spider-Man's 11-page origin story from 1962's Amazing Fantasy #15 into a highly successful seven issue story arc as well as overall comic book title. Bendis' work with artist Mark Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man spawned one of the longest partnership runs in comic book history, Beating out Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four run.
However, it's Ditko's previous creative partnership with Lee on The Amazing Spider-Man -- or more accurately, the end of it -- may be part of why Ditko didn't answer Bendis' question. Ditko left the title (and later Marvel entirely) in the mid-1960s and while the exact reason why remains a bit of a mystery, it involved the identity of Spider-Man foe Green Goblin, a story that Lee spoke a bit about during his panel at Wizard World in Nashville back in September.
“I had a big argument with Steve Ditko, who was drawing the strip at the time. When we had to reveal the identity of the Green Goblin, I wanted him to turn out to be the father of Harry Osborn, and Steve didn’t like that idea,” Lee explained.
As for Bendis' departure from Marvel, while the move shocked many comics fans, it appears to be far less contentious. Shortly after the announcement, Marvel's chief creative officer Joe Quesada had only kind words for Bendis on Twitter.
"I want to thank @BRIANMBENDIS for all the years of hard work, creativity, and more importantly friendship," Quesada wrote. "During my time as EIC we had a lot of fun, rattled a lot of cages & made what I hope will be viewed in retrospect as some fun comics."