The co-creator of a classic Marvel hero has passed away, and fans are taking the time to honor his legacy. On Sunday, Tom Holland paid tribute to Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko with a message on Twitter. The star is the most recent actor to take on the role of Peter Parker, and he took the time to acknowledge one of the men who set the Spider-Man franchise into motion.
"We all want to leave our mark on the world — this guy crushed it. He made so many people so happy and changed lives — most of all, mine! Thank you Steve — your life lives on man, thank you #SteveDitko".
It's clear that Ditko's work had a far reaching impact, and the character of Spider-Man will be remembered by many. The comic artist and writer has a special significance for Holland, who is the current voice for the character.
Ditko passed away on June 29, and was found in his New York City apartment. He was 90 years old. The artist had a long career, studying at the Cartoonists & Illustrator School under Batman artist Jerry Robinson before selling his first comic in 1953, according to The Verge. His work caught the attention of Stan Lee of Marvel Comics, and Ditko was hired to develop new characters and stories. Lee became his frequent collaborator, and the two men went on to write one of the company's biggest series, The Amazing Spider-Man. His influence on the character's story is still clear - he gave the hero the distinctive red and blue suit still seen on the character today, and conceived of many of the biggest villains in the universe, such as Dr. Octopus and the Green Goblin. He's also behind a few of the other well-known Marvel characters and storylines, including Doctor Strange.
The comic book artist's work was well known, but Ditko was reportedly a reclusive person. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he rarely spoke in public and declined nearly all interview requests after 1970. When Spider-Man and Doctor Strange went on to become major movies, he didn't participate in the publicity cycle. According to Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, Ditko was never available for press ahead of the film's release. "We didn't approach him. He's like J.D. Salinger. He is private and has intentionally stayed out of the spotlight like J.D. Salinger," Derrickson told THR. "I hope he goes to see the movie, wherever he is, because I think we paid homage to his work." On Twitter, Derrickson honored the artist as well, posting one of his works with the caption "Goodbye Steve Ditko".
Even though little was known about Ditko's personal life, Holland wasn't the only person to speak out about the legacy of his work. In a statement, Marvel Chief Content Creative Officer Joe Quesada wrote:
"Only a small group of individuals can claim that they have effected and redefined not just an industry, but popular culture worldwide. Steve Ditko was one of those few who dared to break molds every time his pencil and pen hit a blank sheet of paper. In his lifetime he blessed us with gorgeous art, fantastical stories, heroic characters and a mystical persona worthy of some of his greatest creations. And much like his greatest co-creation, Steve Ditko's legend and influence will outlive us all."
Edgar Wright, the director of Baby Driver and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World tweeted: "RIP to comic book legend Steve Ditko, beyond influential on countless planes of existence. He never truly profited from his comic creations that have lasted for decades, but his work will never be forgotten." Author Neil Gaiman also shared some words about his legacy, writing: "Steve Ditko was true to his own ideals. He saw things his own way, and he gave us ways of seeing that were unique. Often copied. Never equalled. I know I'm a different person because he was in the world."
Holland is the most recent star to play Spider-Man, a role held in the past by Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire. The hero appeared in Avengers: Infinity War, and the next personal installment of his story will be Spiderman: Far From Home. The film is expected to premiere in July of 2019, and will once again star Holland as the title character.
While little is known about Ditko's life behind the scenes, his work will endure well into the years to come. He created several of the most iconic characters in the Marvel universe, and these heroes continue to capture audience's imagination. Holland isn't the only person to feel a personal connection with the comic book artist's work, which is sure to continue to be influential and impactful for a long time to come.