Stephen J. Ditko has passed away at the age of 90, as confirmed by the New York Police Department. Ditko was found unresponsive in his home following a wellness check on June 29, according to the NYPD. No cause of death has been established.
Best known as the co-creator of Spider-Man, Ditko also co-created Doctor Strange, Squirrel Girl, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, the Question, Hawk & Dove, the Creeper, and Shade the Changing Man.
Ditko broke into comic books in 1953, working as an inker alongside Joe Simon and Jack Kirby at Atlas Comics (a precursor to Marvel Entertainment). In the 1960s, Ditko segued to drawing superheroes at rival company Chalrton Comics. Following his time at Charlton, Ditko returned to Marvel where he worked on titles such as Amazing Fantasy, Amazing Spider-Man, and Strange Tales until his departure in 1965.
From there, Ditko worked at DC Comics and various other publishers before returning to Marvel intermittently. Ditko retired from professional comic book work in 1998, working on privately-published work and reprints of his classic stories since that time.
Notoriously reclusive, Ditko refused to grant interviews or interact with fans for most of his career, stating in a rare 1969 interview in Marvel Main magazine that "When I do a job, it's not my personality that I'm offering the readers but my artwork. It's not what I'm like that counts; it's what I did and how well it was done. I produce a product, a comic art story. Steve Ditko is the brand name."
Ditko was also strong believer in the philosophy of Objectivism, developed by author Ayn Rand, a concept that found its way into much of his published work and drove Ditko’s personal philosophy on the black and white morality of superheroes.