Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee has made his first public comments on the death of Steve Ditko, the legendary comic book artist who co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange with Lee.
“I really cannot let the week go without commenting on Steve Ditko,” Lee said in a video posted on his Twitter account. “Steve was certainly one of the most important creators in the comic book business. His talent was indescribable.”
Remembering Sturdy Steve Ditko – Stan pic.twitter.com/gpmbSF9s5S
— Stan Lee (@TheRealStanLee) July 13, 2018
Ditko died in late June at 90. New York police found Ditko dead in his apartment on June 29th, and is believed to have died two days prior from natural causes. Along with his more famous comic book co-creations, Ditko was as well known for his idiosyncratic politics as his contributions to comics.
“He told the story like a fine movie director would. I think that he will be very greatly missed by the public and by his fans,” Lee continued. “I’m sure there will be a lot written about him as time goes by, and I will be one of guys who buys the first book. You made a real impression here in the world. Excelsior.”
Ditko first joined Marvel in 1955, back when it was known as Atlas comics, and created the popular webslinger with Lee in 1962.
The two continued to collaborate, creating iconic Spider-Man villains like Doctor Octopus (July 1963), the Sandman (Sept. 1963), the Lizard (Nov. 1963), Electro, and the Green Goblin (July 1964), Hulk villains like The Leader, and another flagship Marvel hero, Doctor Strange (1963).
Despite their output and success, Ditko and Lee increasingly clashed over artistic decisions, what Ditko felt was a lack of proper credit and compensation, and even personal, social and even political differences. Eventually the pair were no longer on speaking terms. Ditko eventually quit Marvel in 1966.
Ditko was inducted into the comics industry’s Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990, and into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994.