Legendary comic book artist and writer Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man, has died at 90.
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Variety first reported the news, which was confirmed by a parade of legends in the comic book industry. Ditko was found dead at his Manhattan apartment on June 29, according to multiple reports, but the news did not come to light until Friday.
Ditko joined Atlas Comics, which later became Marvel Comics, in 1955, and was credited with his first work for the company on the comic "Journey into Mystery" in April 1956.
It would be six years later when Ditko entered comic book, and historical, lore with the creation of the Spider-Man character alongside Marvel Editor-in-Chief Stan Lee. Spider-Man first appeared in "Amazing Fantasy" issue No. 15 in August 1962 and later earned his own series, "The Amazing Spider-Man." Ditko may have actually contributed more to the Spider-Man lore by creating most of his famous villains: Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Sandman, the Lizard and others.
"Only a small group of individuals can claim that they have effected and redefined not just an industry, but popular culture worldwide," Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada said in a statement. "Steve Ditko was one of those few who dared to break molds every time his pencil and pen hit a blank sheet of paper. 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."
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. https://t.co/uKKR9oClqg pic.twitter.com/1ovYnE8Y2V— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) July 7, 2018
Ditko also created the character Doctor Strange, who debuted in "Strange Tales" issue No. 30 in July 1963.
"Steve Ditko’s hands and soul are all over the best character in all of fiction," Marvel Executive Editor Nick Lowe said. "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."
The legendary artist and writer moved to Marvel's main rival, DC Comics, in 1968.
DC Comics honored Ditko on Friday as well, tweeting he was "one of the most amazing creators in the history of comics."
Steve Ditko was one of the most amazing creators in the history of comics, and showed us there is a hero in all of us. Our hearts go out to his loved ones, and everyone who knew him. pic.twitter.com/ukvuA7odF5— DC (@DCComics) July 7, 2018
DC Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee, who like Ditko worked at Marvel before making the switch to DC, called Ditko "quiet and unassuming" in a series of tweets.
"He never sought attention or the limelight but in many ways represented the hidden hero he saw in all of us," he added.