WASHINGTON: Marvel Comics co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, cartoonist Steve Ditko, was found dead on June 29 in his Manhattan apartment. The cause of death is unknown. Ditko was 90 years old. He and Marvel legend Stan Lee had not spoken for decades, some say, because of Lee’s failure to give the artist the credit he so deserved.
And though Ditko continued creating comics, he became something of a recluse, having not given an interview since 1969. Some considered him the J.D. Salinger of comics.
In 2007, the BBC’s Jonathan Ross presented a documentary “In Search of Steve Ditko.”
He was renowned for utilizing cinematic visual devices in his comic panels, capturing the apex of explosive action. He also added psychedelic imagery in tune with the times.
Ditko happened to be a devotee of author Ayn Rand and her Objectivist philosophy, whose ideas he expressed through his comic character Mr. A.
Influenced by Aristotle’s Law of Identity, the unyielding code of this moral avenger is rendered in stark black and white panels by the artist. Before Mr. A throws down on evil-doers, he throws his calling card: half of which is white and emblazoned with the word “Good,” while its black portion is inscribed with the word “Evil.”
The Masters of Comic Book Art
In the 1987 documentary film “The Masters of Comic Book Art,” Ditko explains the ironclad philosophy behind the iron-fisted Mr. A.
Jim Lee, comic artist and co-publisher at DC Comics, said of Ditko via Twitter:
“Polite and unassuming – he never sought attention or the limelight but, in many ways, represented the hidden hero he saw in all of us.”
Steve Ditko was steadfastly unambiguous in a time of profound moral ambiguity.