Comic-Legende Steve Ditko ist im Alter von 90 Jahren gestorben: „Artist Steve Ditko, who co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange with Stan Lee, has died at age 90. The New York Police Department confirmed his death to The Hollywood Reporter. No cause of death was announced. Ditko was found dead in his apartment on June 29 and it is believed he died about two days earlier.“
Der Mann hatte zusammen mit Stan Lee unter anderem Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, dessen ebenso legendären Villains Doctor Octopus, Sandman und Green Goblin, sowie die großartige Superheldin Doreen „Unbeatable Squirrel Girl“ Green erschaffen und damit die Comic-Welt komplett auf den Kopf gestellt, denn letztlich war es sein Spider-Man, der den bis dahin relativ einfach gestrickten Superhelden einen Anti-Hero in Form eines gemobbten Schülers entgegensetzte.
Neben seinen Mainstream-Superhelden kenne ich Ditkos Arbeit vor allem von seinen Covern und Artworks für die alten Charleston Horror-Serien wie The Thing, This Magazine Is Haunted oder Strange Suspense Stories, die hierzulande teilweise in den Gespenster Geschichten veröffentlicht wurden und vor ein paar Jahren als Hardcover in den Ditko Archives neu veröffentlicht wurden.
Legendär waren aber nicht nur seine Comic-Artworks, sondern auch seine Kompromisslosigkeit. Dikto gab so gut wie keine Interviews, machte pragmatische Auftragsarbeiten um seine Unabhängigkeit zu wahren und weigerte sich, seine Artworks zu verkaufen, die ihm locker ein leichtes Leben versprochen hätten. Stattdessen benutzte er seine eigenen Zeichnungen als Cutting Board, Snip vom Comic Journal:
In 2007, a BBC documentary, In Search of Steve Ditko [ed. Video below], tracked Ditko down to his New York office but could not coax him to appear on camera or be interviewed. Although Spider-Man co-creator Lee made a career of being in the public eye, Ditko gave no interviews after 1968, turning down even a request from his hero, Will Eisner.
He declined to cooperate with Blake Bell’s 2008 Ditko biography Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, calling the book, sight unseen, a “poison sandwich,” and turned the biographer away from his door, as he had many journalists over the years.
When prominent novelist Jonathan Lethem asked to include a Ditko story in the 2015 volume of The Best American Comics, Ditko turned him down.
Despite living a Spartan existence eking out a meager living his final years, he refused to sell his original art, which would have been worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Small-press publisher Greg Theakston told of finding the artist using original Ditko art from 1958 as a cutting board.
To describe Ditko as uncompromising is not to deny his willingness to hire himself out as an artist to just about any publisher who was prepared to sign a paycheck. As a result, whereas Lee worked for one employer his whole life, Ditko turned up all over the comics-industry map, nomadically drifting between comics publishers large and small. But when Ditko inked his own pencils, whether he was working on a co-created character like Doctor Strange as part of the Marvel bullpen or turning in a fill-in, for-hire job like a Get Smart story for Dell or a romance tale for Daring Love, the quality rarely varied. Ditko’s influences can be traced to artists like Mort Meskin and Joe Kubert, but his pacing, his compositions, his expressive faces, his choreographed character movements, his organic environments, even the way clothing draped his figures, were instantly recognizable as uniquely Ditko.
For Ditko, his art was all his public needed to know of him. Just before he stopped giving interviews, he told Mike Howell’s Marvel Main fanzine, “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 [but] what I did and how well it was done.”
Ich bewundere diese Haltung und mit Steve Ditko geht einer der ganz großen. Mach's gut, „Swingin’ Steve Ditko“ und danke für die ganzen bunten Bilder. Sad day.
Hier die Doku In Search of Steve Ditko und ein paar seiner Artworks, u.a. aus der großartigen Ditko-Sammlung von Mickey the Pixel.
The documentary is part of the Comics Britannia season and follows Jonathan Ross' attempts to track down comics artist Steve Ditko (known for Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Mr. A etc.). The programme featured interviews with comics creators, editors and others including Jerry Robinson, John Romita Sr., Neil Gaiman, Joe Quesada, Ralph Macchio, Flo Steinberg, Alan Moore, Mark Millar, Stan Lee, and Cat Yronwode.
Ross, accompanied by Gaiman, met Steve Ditko at his New York City office but he declined to be photographed or interviewed for the show. He did however give the two a selection of some of his old comic books. At the end of the show Ross said he has since spoken to Ditko on the telephone and was now on first name terms with him.