Steve Ditko. November 2 1927-June 29 2018

It’s a little contradictory to do a “memorial” for an artist who famously didn’t look back on his own past work. By most accounts, he didn’t read his old superhero comics and threw out art once it was published, but he was happy to have fans who liked the work. Despite not making public appearances at conventions, he was open to correspondence from fans and ‘zines alike. dark-horse-comics-creepy-presents-steve-ditko-hard-cover-1Steve Ditko was one of my favorite comics artists. His atmospheric weirdness was as well suited to EC Crime and Horror as it was to the Marvel superhero books that got him name recognition if not fame (by his own choice). He was the last of the old Marvel artists, and still produced new work year after year, though most of his ‘Zines since the 90s were more political science lectures with superheroes doodled in the margins. He did classic memorable stories, oddball superheroes, monster books, horror, mystery, sword & sorcery, TV comedy, romance, gag strips, war stories and even some fetish books, though he’d challenge you to prove that. If Kirby was the Godfather of supherhero comics, Ditko’s influence was felt in the strange: Brendan McCarthy & Dan Clowes are both fans and it comes through in the work.

Craig Yoe, Robin Snyder and Blake Bell all worked with him in the present and their  publications like Avenging Mind, Strange and Stranger and the Ditko archives are great resources to look at for perspective on his life & work. Jonathan Ross’s BBC documentary “In Search of Steve Ditko” can be found online pretty easily.

Ditko always said he liked his work to speak for itself, so here’s some of his art: