The news has broken that the great comic book creator Steve Ditko passed away in the last week of June, 2018. He was an uncompromising artist who approached his craft with diligence and care and brought an unbending philosophy to his characters and stories. Famously, he was a follower of the teachings of Ayn Rand and preached that learning in his works for nearly all of his career. He is remembered as the creator of The Amazing Spider-Man and that world-famous icon will be doubtless the lead in nearly all of his eulogies, but for me, a fan of Charlton Comics it was his Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, and The Question who are the "heroes" I most remember. Or perhaps his most pure creation, Mr. A.
Ditko did work for most if not all the big publishers -- Marvel, DC, Warren, Charlton, Eclipse, Fantagraphics, Tower, Atlas-Seaboard and many more. But most of the time he was also working for himself, or at the very least working to satisfy his own understanding of what professionalism was. When he worked on characters created by others you got his striking artwork and idiosyncratic storytelling. But when he worked his own creations, you got all of that and more, you got an insight into one of the most inscrutable creators in all the history of comics. Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, The Question, The Hawk and the Dove, The Creeper, Shade the Changing Man, Mr.A, Static, Odd Man, Killjoy, The Mocker, Deadly Nightshade were just some of the many heroes created by Ditko.
Ditko was little known not because of the vagaries of history which had lost his name before the craft of comics earned its own cadre of historians, but because he chose to remain in the shadows. A man deeply committed to privacy he is reported by some to be friendly and by others to be difficult. He was likely all of that. He almost never allowed his picture to be taken and so his face is largely unknown, or known only in outdated images. I will have much more to say about the stalwart comics talent in due course, but I wanted to commemorate his passing today as I'm sure many others will do. Steve Ditko is dead, long may his work be remembered.