Published July 12, 2018

Ditko Was There

Remembering Steve Ditko's most memorable contributions to the Marvel Universe.

The titanic talents of comic book legend Steve Ditko were evident not only with the creation of several landmark Marvel characters, but also in setting down vital narrative building blocks which other creators would expand upon for decades to come. And that distinctive Ditko influence and his foundational input remain evident across many of the Marvel Universe’s most memorable moments today.

To celebrate the work of one of the most distinguished figures in the history of the House of Ideas, we created a list of some of Ditko's most amazing designs...

Along Came a Spider - AMAZING FANTASY #15


Nobody likes spiders, right? Ditko and writer-editor Stan Lee defied convention to load their new creation Spider-Man up with cool powers, one of the most unique super hero costumes ever, and a solid supporting cast to prove that, in fact, everybody likes spiders—provided they’re as groundbreaking and engaging as the ol’ Wallcrawler.

Mystery Menace - AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14


To further prove their point about their terrific teenage hero, Ditko and Lee gifted him with a rogues gallery unlike any other. But soon, one frightening figure took the lead in that villainous assembly: the Green Goblin. Sporting a truly terrifying Ditko design and a hidden identity, the Goblin flew high to become Spidey’s greatest foe—an enmity that exists to this day.

Someone to Fight For - AMAZING FANTASY #15


Peter Parker's never flung himself into a fight without the guidance and goodness of his ever-lovin’ Aunt May in his heart. When she was created, Lee and Ditko built her up as a typical old lady on the outside, but on the inside they endowed her with everything Spidey stood for. And with that, she became one of the most beloved figures in the Marvel Universe.

Sorcerer Supreme - STRANGE TALES #110


With Spider-Man populating the scientific corner of the ever-growing Marvel Universe, Ditko saw an opportunity to hit new heights in flights of fancy and fantasy with the character of Doctor Strange. Stan Lee whipped up crazy chants for the doctor’s spells, but it fell to artist Ditko to craft the panoramic planes of mysticism with unique vistas that could only come from his immense imagination.

Dread of the Dark Dimension - STRANGE TALES #126


Doctor Strange discovered adversity while visiting realities sprung from Steve Ditko’s imagination, and among those dimensions he also earned an enemy: Dormammu. The Dreaded One sported another definitively Ditko design, one that stood apart from other such villains and cemented him in fans’ nightmares as someone they wouldn’t want to meet while hopping across realities.

Mistress of Magic - STRANGE TALES #126


While exploring the Dark Dimension, Stephen Strange came across a wondrous woman who’s change his life forever. Clea, she of the stunningly silver hair and the greatest, kookiest garb in comics, captured the doctor’s heart and eventually won rulership of Dormammu’s dark realm.

The Red and the Gold - TALES OF SUSPENSE #48


Industrialist Tony Stark burned through his first suit of armor before realizing that his Iron Man identity needed something more lightweight, compact, and streamlined. Enter Steve Ditko, who along with Stan Lee gifted the Armored Avenger with a new set of fighting togs that would, with slight variations, go on to become the most recognized Iron Man suit of his career. Yet again, Ditko was there when it all began.

Master of Men - TALES TO ASTONISH #63


It soon became known that brute force alone would never be enough to destroy the Incredible Hulk, and from that realization rose the malevolent mastermind known as the Leader. Lee and Ditko teased readers an issue prior with a masked menace, but when Marvelites laid eyes upon the grotesque countenance of the Leader—courtesy of Ditko—they knew the Hulk would encounter a world of hurt.

Bouncing Off the Walls - AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #22


Steve Ditko and writer Tom DeFalco took all the amazing acrobatics of Spider-Man and turned them up a notch for a new teenage hero, Speedball. Possessed of extra-dimensional energy in the form of bubbles, Robbie Baldwin grew into his role as a champion of justice and eventually bounced his way into every strange corner of the Marvel Universe.

Never Call Her Nuts - MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #8


With just about every other animal on Earth serving as inspiration for a Super Hero, writer Will Murray and artist Ditko decided to run Doreen Green up a tree and bring her back down again as Squirrel Girl. Somehow, Ditko seemed to gravitate toward the creations that perhaps no one else was uniquely suited for, and by arming Doreen with specialized weaponry, he helped usher in yet another Marvel age of greatness…with acorns and stuff!