Without Steve Ditko, comic books would not be what they are today. Spider-man may not even be here today, his suit and web shooters surely wouldn’t. Today’s superhero landscape would look quite different to be sure. Dr. Strange, The Creeper, Hawk & Dove and more would just not exist. The design work for countless characters would be much different, and who knows, maybe those characters wouldn’t have caught on in the way they did?
Last night on Twitter, the news broke of his death. He had been discovered in his home on June 29th and was thought to have passed away 2 days earlier. Article after article hit in quick succession. Tweet after tweet dotted the stream. My first thought was to get on this, write something up, get it out there, but then…I took in the landscape of how Ditko was being discussed. I didn’t need to write about his career because that was being covered in depth. The tweets were generally following this line, “RIP Steve Ditko,” “I’m so sad we lost such a great artist and comic book creator,” and more of the same. Everyone was sad. I thought, wait…we shouldn’t be sad here. We should be celebrating his creativity and his legacy.
Steve Ditko had 90 years under his belt. He lived a long life, he was a legend in his time, and more often than not he chose to let his work and art speak for him versus giving interviews and talking himself up as so many do in this day and age of self-promotion. Steve Ditko was born November 2, 1927. He gave us these characters we read about, watch on TV and in the movies, and, for some of us, draw and emulate for fun or because we are inspired to create as he did. He has a legacy of inspiration that goes right along with his legacy for creation. So for that reason, I think we should be celebrating the legacy he left behind and let the creative work that he put forth do the talking for him.
Steve Ditko can sit back now and rest. He was able to create great things and to watch his legacy form in life. That legacy of inspiration will continue for generations to come. So go pick up an old Spider-man comic and flip through the pages to enjoy the artwork or get out your pencils and create a character from scratch. Don’t lament or be sad at a long life that has come to an end, but celebrate the inspiration and creativity that Steve Ditko left for us all.