Legendary comic book artist Steve Ditko passed away over the weekend. Some of the biggest names in the industry have shared their condolences, and you can click here to read the official statements from DC Comics and from Marvel Comics, but I wanted to take a moment to add my own memories. Ditko was on the leading edge of bringing comic books to life. His unique style made the human form jump off the page. He drew people in acrobatic poses that seemed impossible, but that fit perfectly in his fantasy realm.
Ditko’s designs helped create Spider-Man, The Creeper, Hawk & Dove, and dozens of other heroes. He single-handedly invented “psychedelic” comics when he co-created Dr. Strange and the wondrous worlds he explored.
However, it was his work for a much smaller comic company that first caught my eye. As a child in the late 1970s, I didn’t know one comic creator from another, I just knew what looked interesting on a spinner rack. To this discerning 7-year-old, Captain Atom #83 and Blue Beetle #3 were worth 70-cents of my allowance.
I didn’t know at the time that they were reprints of 1960s Charlton Comics. Heck, I didn’t even know what reprints were. I just knew that I liked the looks of Captain Atom, and Blue Beetle, and The Question, and the Madmen. They were different than the Spidey Super Stories and Bugs Bunny comics I had strewn around my bedroom.
I must have read those two comics a hundred times. I still have the tattered remains of them bagged and boarded in my collection, even though they hold no actual value in their current condition. However, they hold all the value in the world to that 7-year-old kid that thankfully never grew up, never got too old to enjoy comic books, and can still find wonder in the world.
Thank you, Steve Ditko, and farewell.
by Rob Otto