The rumors started last weekend, and it was hard to tell if there was any substance behind the assertion that comic artist Steve Ditko, well known for his reclusive lifestyle, had passed away.
Today, the Hollywood Reporter states that the NYPD have confirmed that Ditko was found deceased in his apartment on June 29th, and assumed to have passed away a couple days previously. The artist was 90 years old.
Ditko is revered for the highly individual art style he brought to Marvel comic characters, many in their early days, like Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, forever influencing the perception of these characters in later comics and in wider pop culture. He was co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange with Stan Lee. His angular, but energetic, line work stood out then, as it still does now, as the work of a unique craftsman with a particular vision for comics storytelling.
An apparent rift with Stan Lee and Marvel Comics that was never clearly elucidated in the press led to Ditko working for Charlton Comics, DC Comics, and other publishers, and though he withdrew from public life after the 1970’s, he continued to work in a New York studio and would occasionally speak to other comic creators or young artists wanting to pay homage to his influence.
Ditko’s passing will be much lamented, though public attention is far from what he sought in later life.