After hearing over the recent weekend that Hall of Fame legend Steve Ditko had passed away sometime in and around June 29, 2018 due to numerous health complications, I realized that over the past year or so a number of other comics industry luminaries had left us and I either never got around to featuring them in the Catacombs (or became too busy, and the opportunity passed).
So today in acknowledgement of the huge impact that Mr. Ditko made upon the comics art form, I want to back up and include a lengthy list of his contemporaries who have also left us since last year.
STEVE DITKO created numerous characters for several publishers including The Creeper; Hawk and Dove; Mr. A; The Question; Captain Atom; Shade the Changing Man and The "Silver Age" Blue Beetle (Ted Kord). It was of course his ground breaking work as co-creator of the Amazing Spider-Man and Doctor Strange that cemented his status as one of the cornerstones of the Marvel Universe, and like his contemporary, Jack "The King" Kirby, the importance of Ditko's role in the early days of Marvel can be clearly seen by how many of his actual creations have prominently been featured in those blockbuster Marvel Studios films we all love. Think about it! In the various Spider-Man and Hulk movies alone we have seen classic Ditko creations such as Betty Brant; Electro; Mac Gargan; J. Jonah Jameson; The Leader; The Lizard; Aunt May; Mysterio; Doctor Octopus; Harry & Norman Osborn; Gwen Stacy; Glenn Talbot; Flash Thompson; Uncle Ben; The Vulture; and Mary Jane Watson. In the single Doctor Strange film (plus indications from that movies upcoming sequel that have been floated) there were or likely will be versions of The Ancient One; Dormammu; Baron Mordo; Nightmare; and Wong.
That is an impressive amount of four-color content from a curmudgeon who famously spurned interviews by and large, and who had mostly been self-publishing small press material over the last couple of decades. Steve Ditko was an original, and again like Kirby certainly deserved far more remuneration from the company that has made so much money off of his famous properties. The Catacombs extends its sincerest condolences to his friends and fans worldwide.
In addendum: 2017 was a rough year that saw many industry veterans leave us including Dan Spiegle, artist (Dell Comics, DC Comics, Marvel Comics) at age 96. Dave Hunt, artist (DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Disney Comics, Hanna-Barbera) from cancer at age 74. Underground comix artists Jay Lynch (Nard n' Pat, Bijou Funnies), and Skip Williamson (Snappy Sammy Smoot), both at the age of 72. Martin Greim, writer and artist (Thunderbunny) from heart failure at age 74. Rich Buckler, artist (Deathlok the Demolisher, All-Star Squadron) from cancer at the age of 68. Sam Glanzman, artist (Hercules, The Lonely War of Willy Schultz, U.S.S. Stevens) at the age of 92. Martin Landau, American film and TV actor and cartoonist (The Gumps) died at age 89. Flo Steinberg, American underground comics publisher (Big Apple Comix) and former secretary to Stan Lee at age 78 from a brain aneurysm and metastatic lung cancer. Len Wein, writer and co-creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing at age 69 and syndicated strip artist Dick Locher (Dick Tracy).
2018 has also seen syndicated strip artist Mort Walker (Hi and Lois; Beetle Bailey) leave us along with Nick Meglin, writer and editor-in-chief (Mad Magazine, Superfan) from a heart attack at age 82.
Those few highlighted in boldface were great creators that I am terribly glad to have had an opportunity to meet and chat with over their incredible runs in comics or in the case of Mr. Landau, his television and film work. The Catacombs extends a big round of condolences to their families, friends and fans all over the world!