Steve Ditko turned 80 this past Friday, November 2nd. Ditko is known mostly as the co-creator / artist of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange and while he drew a good number of issues of both of these characters in the 1960's, he left the titles because his vision of where he wanted to take these characters differed from Stan Lee's. Steve Ditko has always been a very private person and has never taken part in any interviews. To understand the mindset of Steve Ditko, it helps if you've read the works of philosopher / novelist Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged, Fountainhead), as he shares a world view with her. The Ditko character that is closest to Rand's writing is his Mr. A, which is his even more extreme version of The Question, another character he first worked on at Charlton (both of these characters were Alan Moore's inspiration for Rorschach from Watchmen).
After Ditko quit drawing Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, he still worked on other Marvel titles, but also worked for DC, Charlton, and other independent companies. Amongst the countless characters Ditko created and drew was Shade, The Changing Man which he did for DC in the mid 1970's and this title was a great showcase for his illustrations of otherworldly realms.
I love Steve Ditko's art because of his flair for drawing fantastical dimensions and characters, the sheer amount of drawings he'd have on a single page and his excellent story-telling skills, but mostly for the way he'd draw "normal" people (especially their clothes with just the right folds and lighting). When Ditko drew someone that was scared or happy, it REALLY looked like that person was scared or happy. While I'm sure that Steve Ditko won't see this blog entry (or even keeps up with anything on the internet), I hope he knows how much enjoyment his art and creations have given to so many people for almost 50 years (!!) and how infuential his art will always be.
In June of 2008, Blake Bell and Fantagraphics will publish a book titled Strange & Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, which will be an examination of Steve Ditko, the artist. Go to: www.ditko.comics.org for updates on the book and a very comprehensive catalog of Ditko's work and news.
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