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The co-creator behind the masked superhero Spider-man Steve Ditko has passed away at age 90. Ditko was the artist who co-created the now iconic Spider-man and Doctor Strange. New York police announced Ditko's passing Friday and say he was found dead in his apartment on June 29th. Police say they believe he passed away from natural causes two days prior to the discovery of his body.
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Ditko was born in Pennsylvania and first rose to prominence in a group of comics creators who revolutionized the comics industry in the 1960s with a whole slew of iconic characters, concepts, and narrative changes written for Marvel Comics. He first joined Marvel in 1955 at a time when it was still known as Atlas comics. Ditko contributed stories and art in a variety of genres for such stories as "Amazing Adventures," "Strange Worlds," "Tales of Suspense" and "Tales to Astonish."
When Atlas changed its name to Marvel in the 1960s, things began to change and in 1962 Stan Lee and Jack Kirby rose to success with "Fantastic Four". The comics made superheroes popular again after reader interest began to plateau and fall off. The Fantastic Four was followed by several other collaborations between Lee and Kirby. Lee got permission to create what he described as "an ordinary teen superhero" from Marvel bigwigs and a legend was born.
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After Lee rejected Kirby's first attempt at this new character, he turned to Ditko and gave him a basic concept and the name Spider-Man. Ditko began designing what the world would come to know and love as Marvel's superhero Spider-Man. Ditko is responsible for the red and blue colored Spidey suit as well as the web shooters and other elements that compose one of the most popular superheroes in history. Lee continued to use Ditko's talents and the pair collaborated on Spider-Man villains like Doctor Octopus, the Sandman, and the Lizard to name a few.
The New York Times said of Ditko in 2008, "By the ’70s he was regarded as a slightly old-fashioned odd-ball; by the ’80s he was a commercial has-been, picking up wretched work-for-hire gigs. Following the example of [Ayn] Rand’s John Galt, Ditko hacked out moneymaking work, saving his care for the crabbed Objectivist screeds he published with tiny presses. And boy, could Ditko hack: seeing samples of his Transformers coloring book and his Big Boy comic is like hearing Orson Welles sell frozen peas." He was inducted in the comic industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994.
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