For comic book fans, specifically fans of Spider-Man, it is a very sad day.
Stephen Ditko, co-creator of the webbed superhero, passed away on June 29 at the age of 90.
The Early Years
Ditko inherited a love for comic strips through his father.
As a young boy, he watched his father read Prince Valiant and found his calling.
He truly fell in love with the industry after Batman and The Spirit began publication.
After graduating from high school, Ditko enlisted in the Army, where he started his career, drawing comics for the Army newspaper.
Getting His Start
After being discharged from the Army, Ditko started taking classes at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School with Batman artist Jerry Robinson.
Ditko shined under Robinson’s tutelage and eventually met Stan Lee there.
Robinson often invited industry speakers to talk to his class, Stan Lee being one of them.
It did not take long for Ditko to become a hot commodity in the industry.
First illustrating for Bruce Hamilton, he then starting drawing for both Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (creator of Captain America).
He started picking up work for a variety of publishers at that point, but he was about to break out.
The year where Ditko came into his own was 1954, when he drew the cover for The Thing (#12).
In the mid-1950s, Ditko started working for Atlas Comics, which would evolve into Marvel Comics.
Among his early credits for Atlas/Marvel were: Amazing Adventures, Strange Worlds, and Tales of Suspense.
Eventually, Ditko and Lee would work together on a series of short-story comics, which would become widely poplar for the brand.
Spider-Man was originally tasked to Kirby, but Lee did not like his perception of the character.
Lee would then drop the project into Ditko’s lap, where he would create the character we know today.
Lee will certainly be missed.