“Today, the Marvel family mourns the loss of Steve Ditko. Steve transformed the industry and the Marvel Universe, and his legacy will never be forgotten. Our thoughts are with his family, loved ones, and fans during this sad time,” said Marvel Entertainment President Dan Buckley in a statement released Friday night.
“Only a small group of individuals can claim that they have effected and redefined not just an industry, but popular culture worldwide. Steve Ditko was one of those few who dared to break molds every time his pencil and pen hit a blank sheet of paper,” said Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada.
“In his lifetime he blessed us with gorgeous art, fantastical stories, heroic characters and a mystical persona worthy of some of his greatest creations. And much like his greatest co-creation, Steve Ditko’s legend and influence will outlive us all.”
Added Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski: “It’s impossible to put into words the impact that Steve Ditko had not just on comics, but on modern pop culture. With ink and imagination, he thrilled readers with amazing and awe-inspiring adventures. Ditko didn’t just create characters – he built worlds. But today it is our world that is saddened by his loss. While he may no longer walk this mortal plane, Steve’s legacy will continue to endlessly inspire us all.”
“Steve Ditko’s hands and soul are all over the best character in all of fiction,” writes Marvel Executive Editor, Spider-Man Office and VP of Content, Digital Publishing Nick Lowe. “He was a pillar of the House of Ideas who not only co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, but many of the best villains in comic book history. Steve was the first to make Marvel truly weird, and for that we are forever grateful.”
Lee and Ditko debuted the famed wall-crawler in a 1962 issue of the soon-shuttering Amazing Fantasy. The character proved so popular, a newly revamped Marvel Comics spun him off into his own series.
After imagining Peter Parker and Ben and May Parker in Spider-Man’s origin tale, Ditko’s 38-issue tenure on The Amazing Spider-Man saw the creation of Gwen Stacy, J. Jonah Jameson, Norman and Harry Osborn, Flash Thompson, Betty Brant, and such classic villains as the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Electro, Vulture, the Lizard, and Mysterio. Other defining features crafted by Ditko include Spider-Man’s iconic red and blue suit as well as his trademark web-shooters and spider-signal.2comments
In the pages of Strange Tales, Ditko and Lee conjured up many of Doctor Strange’s enduring cast of characters, including Wong, the Ancient One, Clea, and villains Dormammu, Karl Mordo, and Nightmare.
Following news of Ditko’s death, the comic book creator has been mourned both by fans paying tribute on social media and by way of a statement released by DC Comics, Marvel’s rival publisher where Ditko helped create characters like Captain Atom and superhero team Hawk and Dove.