Artist Steve Ditko, who co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange with Stan Lee, has died. He was 90.
The New York Police Department has confirmed his death, reports hollywoodreporter.com. 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.
In 1961, Ditko and Lee created Spider-Man. Lee, the editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, gave Ditko the assignment after he wasn't satisfied with Jack Kirby's take on the idea of a teen superhero with spider powers. The look of Spider-Man -- the costume, the web-shooters, the red and blue design -- all came from Ditko. Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy No. 15. The comic was an unexpected hit, and the character was spun off into The Amazing Spider-Man.
Ditko helped create such classic Spider-Man characters as Doctor Octopus, Sandman, the Lizard and Green Goblin. In 1963, Ditko created the surreal and psychedelic hero Doctor Strange. The character debuted in Strange Tales No. 110, and Ditko continued on the comic through issue No. 146, cover dated July 1966.
After that, Ditko left Marvel Comics over a fight with Lee, the causes of which have always remained murky. The pair had not been on speaking terms for several years. Ditko never explained his side, and Lee claimed not to really know what motivated Ditko's exit.
Ditko went on to work for Charlton, DC Comics and other small independent publishers. He returned to Marvel in 1979, where he worked on Machine Man and the Micronauts, and he continued working for them as a freelancer in the 1990s. Among his last creations was Squirrel Girl in 1992, who has become a cult favourite in recent years, reports hollywoodreporter.com.
Ditko maintained a Manhattan studio until his death, where he continued to write and draw, though how much, and what unpublished material remains, is unknown. Ditko has no known survivors. He is believed never to have married.