It was a tribute to the power of Spider-Man that his “co-creator” Steve Ditko received far more attention when he died recently than he ever had while he was alive. It marked the way we’ve taken the comic book heroes of half a century ago and turned them into mainstream culture, which has brought many comics creators fame that Ditko never saw. Or necessarily wanted.
While the obituaries of Ditko all led with Spider-Man, and followed with his other key creation, Doctor Strange, most skipped past the turning point in Ditko’s career. In 1966, with both his characters wildly popular, and Marvel benefitting from their redefinition of the entire comic market, Ditko abruptly quit the company. Marvel’s main rival was DC Comics, home of Superman and Batman, but Ditko moved instead to lowly Charlton, where he worked on revivals of super hero characters like the Blue Beetle and Captain Atom (which he’d created for them in the Fifties) and created a new hero who provides the real clue as to why he’d left Marvel. He was called The Question.