I've been thinking about Steve Ditko lately. I recently watched the great documentary "In Search of Steve Ditko" by Jonathan Ross. This in turn lead me to buying the Amazing Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 1 as well as Ditko's Mr. A comic. Steve Ditko is the comic world's JD Salinger, but where they differ, at least I think they differ is in their motives for becoming recluses. To be fair Ditko never did completely drop out of sight and his work can still be found in various comics since leaving Spider-Man (the character he co-created with Stan Lee) and Marvel back in the sixties. He did a productive stint at DC creating Hawk and Dove and the Creeper amongst others things followed by work at Charlton Comics before returning to DC to create Shade, the Changing Man.
Ditko later did work with Jim Shooter's start-up company Valiant working on the companies WWF wrestling comic. Shooter recently talked about this period over at his blog.
The most interesting thing I've read about Steve Ditko was his requirements for accepting work on comics. He believed in the true hero. No gray areas here. The hero must be good. It's black and white and he expressed these ideas as far back as his Mr. A comic. You will never see a Ditko penciled Punisher story. Ditko was profoundly influenced by Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism...
"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged