Steve Ditko - 3 Ways to celebrate his 90th Birthday!

Originally Published November 2nd, 2016

Republished November 2nd, 2017 (lightly edited)


The man who has given us Dr. Strange and Spider-Man turns 90 today, and VillainPaper extends our sincerest birthday wishes and bows of respect and gratitude.

Ditko's impact on Golden Age comics and the vast landscape of comic book artwork that followed is hard to overappreciate. He is a transcendant man, a Gene Wilder with his pencils and ink, he can make you feel whatever his pencil can draw.

I think I related more literally to the early 'Spider-Man' comics from Steve Ditko because it could be upfront and direct about the problems of being a kid. He captured being a teenager so beautifully.
- Gilbert Hernandez

Ditko and Stan Lee captured lightning with Spider-Man. Hernandez was spot on; Ditko brought Stan Lee's stories of a socially awkward but brilliant teenage superhero to life. Thanks to Ditko, we actually got to watch as Peter Parker discovered himself while at the same time discovering how to sling webs and stem the epidemic of baddies that arose on a monthly basis from Lee's mind. This early Spider-Man had a knack for stumbling over his own shoelaces and a quick wit, and Ditko's art and Lee's words together could really paint a picture, as in these panels from The Amazing Spider-Man #2:

The bold colors, shifting perspectives (Spider-Man falling away in the first panel, then moving toward The Vulture in the second), body positioning representing motion ... simply masterful. And it probably was second nature to Ditko.

But Ditko was drawing long before Spider-Man. With an early inspiration from his father's love for newspaper comic strips he become a fan of  Hal Foster and Will Eisner. Then after serving in World War II he studied under the great Jerry Robinson (Batman).

He went on to work for and with Lee, Jack Kirby, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Charlton Publications and Archie Comics. Through all these brands he made a name for himself. Steve Ditko is a man worth celebrating.

Here are 3 ways we want to help you celebrate Ditko's continuing legacy:

Read The Thing #12

The Thing #12 Ditko coverIn February1954, an 18-year-old Steve Ditko got his first comic book cover published in The Thing #12. He also did the first story in that issue, "Cinderella", an eight-page tale about a young girl with three vampire step-sisters and a wicked curfew.

Read now FREE

Follow his Super Fans

As one pages through Ditko's catalog, one comes to appreciate the wonderful subculture that has developed from his craft, crowd-funding repubs and collecting anthologies. We here at VillainPaper have our hand in these activities too, but here are some other Ditko devotees you should definitely check out:

Nick Caputo & Blake Bell

Nick and Blake have some absolute mint Disko posts, and they are powerhouse writers to boot. Nick has some major comic history chops, and Bell has written several Ditko works

  • Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko - Jul '08
  • Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol.1 - Nov '09
  • Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2 - Nov '10
  • Mysterious Traveler: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 3 - Apr '12
  • Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol .4 - Nov '13
  • Dripping With Fear: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 5 - Aug '15

In one post Bell fills in the B&W stat of the original art before production was finished with theories on scrambling to hit deadlines, working within limited frames, and last minute pre-press reworks.

They volley theories about Black Magic # 27 (Nov-Dec 1953), which later features Ditko's first published story "A Hole in His Head", picking it clean frame by frame.

They also point out some first passes by Ditko that have to be redrawn. Jack Kirby's hand is detected in the framing of a monster both in signature 'Kirby poses' and musculature. Some really fascinating reading, and a wealth of knowledge and passion for early Ditko work.

70 years later there is still so much to be enjoyed, because even back then you could see a genuine talent.

Robin Snyder

Snyder who was Ditko's editor at Charlton, Archie Comics, and Renegade Press in the 1980s, has done several publications with Ditko since. He even spearheads the aforementioned crowd-funded publications for new cuts, essays, and commentaries on his works.

Keep an eye out for his next fundraiser, they never disappoint, with some great exclusive content.

Read all of his works

Steve Ditko notable charactersDitko started in science fiction, horror, and mystery with some of his early work (by virtue of not yet being under the purview of the Comic Code Authority established in 1954) far more macabre than his superhero art. As Ditko rounded out the late 50s, he showed effortless illustrations, which he had perfected over thousands of lines.

 He created Captain Atom for Charlton Comics in 1960, later bought by DC Comics. Then he co-created Spider-Man in 1962 with Lee and Jack Kirby, and the following year Doctor Strange made his debut, whom he also co-created with Lee.

You get to see first hand from the Golden Age Catalog below how hard he worked, being paid per page of publication.

We are going to start bundling this great work into mini anthologies with comprehensive commentaries. There are 242 stories, and 1,240 pages, so we will find good breaks. Be sure to subscribe to our blog, and for just $5 sign up for our service to get Steve Ditko early works.

Steve Ditko's complete Golden Age List

Those that are green are in our library currently. We will work on getting the rest in so bookmark us and check back often!


Black Magic #27

"A Hole in His Head" (6 pages)

Daring Love #1

"Paper Romance" (6 pages)


Black Magic #28

"Buried Alive" (6 pages)

Black Magic #29 *not in the public domain

"Madame Cyanide and Mister Tricks" (5 pages)

Blazing Western #1

"Range War" (8 pages)

Crime and Justice #18

"Killer On The Loose" (7 pages)

Fantastic Fears #5

"Stretching Things" (5 pages)

Racket Squad in Action #11

"Botticelli Of The Bangtails" (8 pages)

Space Adventures #10

"Homecoming" (5 pages)

Space Adventures #11

"Dead Reckoning" (7 pages)
"Moment Of Decision" (1 pages)
"You Are The Jury" (4 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #18

"Dead Right" (6 pages)
"What Was In Sam Dora's Box?" (7 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #19

"A Nice Quiet Place" (6 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #20

"The Payoff" (7 pages)
"Von Mohl Vs. The Ants" (7 pages)

The Thing #12

"Cinderella" (8 pages)

The Thing #13

"Avery And The Goblins" (8 pages)
"Die Laughing" (7 pages)
"Library Of Horror" (7 pages)

The Thing #14

"Doom In The Air" (8 pages)
"The Evil Eye" (7 pages)
"Inheritance" (5 pages)
"Rumpelstiltskin" (8 pages)

The Thing #15

"Comeback" (5 pages)
"Day Of Reckoning" (6 pages)
"Family Mixup" (5 pages)
"If Looks Could Kill" (6 pages)
"The Worm Turns" (6 pages)

This Magazine Is Haunted #17

"3-D Disaster Doom Death" (7 pages)
"The Night People" (4 pages)
"Triple Header" (2 pages)

This Magazine Is Haunted #18

"Bridegroom, Come Back" (6 pages)


From Here to Insanity #10

"Car Show" (3 pages)


Do You Believe In Nightmares #1

"The Man Who Crashed Into Another Era" (3 pages)
"Nightmare" (7 pages)
"The Somnambulist" (6 pages)
"The Strange Silence" (4 pages)
"You Can Make Me Fly" (4 pages)

Fightin' Army #20

"Gavin's Stupid Mule" (5 pages)

From Here To Insanity #1

"Starlight, Starbright" (3 pages)

Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #3

"A Forgotten World" (6 pages)
"The Strange Guests Of Tsarus" (6 pages)
"They Didn't Believe Him" (4 pages)
"A World Where I Was King" (5 pages)

Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #4

"The Forbidden Room" (9 pages)
"Valley In The Mist" (6 pages)

Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #5

"A Dreamer's World" (6 pages)
"Live For Reunion" (5 pages)
"The Mirage" (5 pages)
"Stowaway" (5 pages)
"Stranger In The House" (3 pages)

Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #6

"Father, Help Me" (4 pages)
"Look Deep Into My Eyes" (5 pages)
"Night Call" (4 pages)
"The Strange Fate Of Captain Fenton" (7 pages)
"Where Is Kubar?" (5 pages)

Out Of This World #3

"My Secret" (6 pages)
"The Supermen" (6 pages)
"What Happened?" (3 pages)

Out Of This World #4

"The Conquered Earth" (6 pages)
"Flying Dutchman" (6 pages)
"From All Our Darkrooms..." (8 pages)

Out Of This World #5

"I Made A Volcano" (5 pages)
"The Man Who Stepped Out Of A Cloud" (5 pages)
"The Night They Learned The Truth" (5 pages)
"The Thing From Below" (5 pages)

Out Of This World #6

"All Those Eyes" (5 pages)
"Plague" (5 pages)
"The River's Wrath" (5 pages)
"The Secret Room" (5 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #31

"The Gloomy One" (5 pages)
"The Man Who Could Never Be Killed" (6 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #32

"The Last Laugh" (6 pages)
"A World Of His Own" (6 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #33

"Director Of The Board" (5 pages)
"Forever And Ever" (6 pages)
"The Menace Of The Maple Leaves" (8 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #34

"The Atomic Clerk" (5 pages)
"The Desert Spell" (5 pages)
"The Man Who Lost His Face" (5 pages)
"The Scar" (5 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #35

"Free" (3 pages)
"Panic" (6 pages)
"There It Is Again" (5 pages)

Tales Of The Mysterious Traveler #2

"What Wilbur Saw..." (6 pages)

Tales Of The Mysterious Traveler #3

"Secret Mission" (5 pages)

Tales Of The Mysterious Traveler #4

"The Desert" (5 pages)
"Escape" (5 pages)
"Operation Blacksnake" (5 pages)
"Test Of A Man" (5 pages)

Tales Of The Mysterious Traveler #5

"Above The Topmost Peak" (4 pages)
"The Man Below" (5 pages)
"The Sultan" (5 pages)

Tales Of The Mysterious Traveler #6

"Little Girl Lost" (4 pages)
"Mister Evriman" (6 pages)
"The Old Fool" (5 pages)
"Tomorrow's Punishment" (5 pages)
"When Old Doc Died" (5 pages)

Texas Rangers In Action #8

"The Only One" (5 pages)

This Magazine Is Haunted #12

"The Faceless Ones" (5 pages)
"His Fate" (4 pages)
"The Last One" (6 pages)
"The Messages" (5 pages)
"The Thing On The Beach" (4 pages)

This Magazine Is Haunted #13

"The Drums" (5 pages)
"He Shall Have Vengeance" (5 pages)
"The Man Who Changed Bodies" (5 pages)
"Menace Of The Invisibles" (3 pages)

This Magazine Is Haunted #14

"From Out Of The Depths" (5 pages)
"The Green Man" (5 pages)
"The Man Who Disappeared" (5 pages)
"The Second Self" (5 pages)

Unusual Tales #7

"The Man Who Could See Tomorrow" (6 pages)
"The Man Who Painted On Air" (9 pages)

Unusual Tales #8

"The Decision" (3 pages)
"Will Power" (3 pages)

Unusual Tales #9

"Clairvoyance" (5 pages)
"Escape" (4 pages)
"He's Coming For Me!" (5 pages)
"The Night Of The Red Snow" (6 pages)


Black Fury #16

"The Canyon Of The Little Horses" (5 pages)
"Fatal Rendezvous" (5 pages)
"The Son Of Black Fury" (5 pages)

Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #10

"Forbidden Planet" (2 pages)
"The Joke" (5 pages)
"One Way Trip" (5 pages)
"The Strange One" (2 pages)

Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #7

"The Angry Things" (5 pages)
"The Cheapest Steak In Nome" (2 pages)
"The King Of Planetoid X" (7 pages)
"Second Hand" (5 pages)

Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #8

"Adrift In Space" (5 pages)

Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #9

"Can This Be Real?" (6 pages)

Out Of This World #8

"Imagination" (5 pages)
"The Secret Of Capt. X" (5 pages)

Out Of This World #9

"Journey's End" (5 pages)
"Manana" (2 pages)

Out Of This World #10

"The Perfect Forecaster" (5 pages)
"Cure-All" (6 pages)
"Journey To Paradise" (5 pages)
"The Most Terrible Fate" (5 pages)
"Through The Walls" (5 pages)

Outer Space #18

"Assignment Treason" (5 pages)
"First On Mercury" (5 pages)
"For Amusement Only" (5 pages)
"Repair Stop" (4 pages)

Outer Space #19

"The Strange Asteroid" (5 pages)
"Ten Billion B.C." (7 pages)
"What Are The Flying Saucers?" (5 pages)

Outer Space #20

"Far Away Voices" (5 pages)
"The Greater Jovians" (5 pages)
"Misfits" (5 pages)

Robin Hood And His Merry Men #38

"Lure Of The Maiden" (5 pages)

Rocky Lane's Black Jack #24

"The Enemy" (7 pages)
"The Fiery Feud" (6 pages)

Rocky Lane's Black Jack #25

"Horse Hunter's Bait" (5 pages)
"A Remembered Friend" (2 pages)
"Storm's Warning" (5 pages)
"Trail Pard" (5 pages)

Space Adventures #24

"Moon-Run" (5 pages)

Space Adventures #25

"The First Satellite" (5 pages)
"The Great Martian Drought" (5 pages)

Space Adventures #26

"The Men From Hsin-Chiu" (5 pages)
"Menace From The Moon" (5 pages)
"Return From Saturn" (5 pages)
"A Visit To Planet 3" (5 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #36

"The Elixir" (5 pages)
"Failure" (5 pages)
"Mystery Planet" (6 pages)
"The Shadow" (3 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #37

"The Dancing Cat" (5 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #39

"Doorway Into Tomorrow" (5 pages)
"Glow Of Woe" (5 pages)
"Mystery From Mars" (5 pages)
"Orgo Serves!" (5 pages)
"They Say It's Haunted" (5 pages)

Tales Of The Mysterious Traveler #7

"And The Fear Grew" (5 pages)
"The Heel And The Healer" (6 pages)
"Not Normal" (5 pages)

Tales Of The Mysterious Traveler #8

"The Man Who Saw Again" (5 pages)
"The Vision Came" (5 pages)

Tales Of The Mysterious Traveler #9

"The End Of Edward" (5 pages)
"The Imperial Double" (4 pages)
"The Man Who Forgot" (5 pages)

Tales Of The Mysterious Traveler #10

"Little Boy Blue" (6 pages)
"The Statues That Came To Life" (6 pages)
"Who Knows?" (5 pages)

This Magazine Is Haunted #16

"The Green Peace" (5 pages)
"Impossible, But..." (5 pages)
"The Man From Time" (5 pages)
"The Night Was Strange" (4 pages)

Unusual Tales #10

"The Edge Of Fear" (5 pages)
"Never Again" (5 pages)
"The Repair Man From Nowhere" (6 pages)
"A Strange Kiss" (4 pages)

Unusual Tales #11

"Charmed, I'm Sure" (5 pages)
"Deep In The Mountains" (5 pages)
"The Man Who Couldn't Die" (5 pages)
"Second Chance" (5 pages)

Unusual Tales #12

"A Matter Of Luck" (5 pages)

Unusual Tales #14

"Giant From The Unknown" (7 pages)
"The Greater Life" (5 pages)


Black Fury #17

"The Colt Born To Trouble" (5 pages)
"The Shining Stallion" (5 pages)
"Stranger In The Herd" (5 pages)
"The Tenderfoot And The Outlaw" (5 pages)

Black Fury #18

"Pursued" (3 pages)
"Strange Country" (5 pages)

Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #11

"The Mountain That Was" (5 pages)
"Oggo The Thinker" (5 pages)

Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #12

"Automata Ultima" (3 pages)
"The House That Cheered Up" (5 pages)
"A Lost Dimension" (5 pages)

Out Of This World #11

"The Careless Man" (2 pages)
"The Hammer Of Thor" (5 pages)
"The Time Chamber" (5 pages)

Out Of This World #12

"A Living Doll" (6 pages)
"The World Awaits" (5 pages)

Out Of This World #16

"The Little Things" (5 pages)

Outlaws Of The West #18

"Help Wanted" (7 pages)

Rocky Lane's Black Jack #26

"The Merciless Mesa" (5 pages)
"The Phantom Spring" (5 pages)

Rocky Lane's Black Jack #27

"The Silver-Tip Outlaw" (7 pages)

Rocky Lane's Black Jack #28

"The Last Waterhole" (5 pages)

Space Adventures #27

"The Great Escape" (5 pages)
"The Hostile Planet" (5 pages)
"The Moon Snatchers" (5 pages)
"The Wrong Planet" (5 pages)

Space Adventures #31

"The Enchanted Planet" (6 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #40

"Casy's Kiss" (2 pages)
"The Strange Machine" (7 pages)
"Such A Strange Case" (2 pages)

Strange Suspense Stories #41

"Off Limits" (2 pages)

Tales Of The Mysterious Traveler #11

"Inside The Crystal Globe" (4 pages)
"The Other Form" (7 pages)
"Valley Of Eternity" (7 pages)

Unusual Tales #15

"The Juggernauts Of Jupiter" (5 pages)
"The Mirror" (5 pages)
"They Must Be Like Us" (5 pages)



1000s of vintage comics for only $5 / year!