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Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko Hardcover – July 17, 2008
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The portrait that emerges here is of an artist whose principles have ossified into bitter perversity. (Douglas Wolk - The New York Times Book Review)
This fascinating tale of a bull-headed individual who gave his all to the masses and then withdrew from their adulation offers a stark twist on the American Dream. (R. C. Baker - The Village Voice)
A must have for both fans of the artist in particular and comic book history in general. (Rick Klaw - Sfsite.com)
Blake Bell does the impossible and explains Steve Ditko. (Alan David Doane - Comicbook Galaxy)
Now even the comics newbie can experience the full range of Ditko’s accomplishments, thanks to Blake Bell’s masterful, copiously illustrated biographical study. With passionate, yet unremittingly objective scholarship, Bell chronicles the life and work of this notoriously reclusive and stubborn artist. (Paul DiFilippio - Barnes and Noble Review)
Bell’s insight into Ditko’s work and its enduring appeal combine with an abundance of powerful artwork to make this lavish volume indispensable to comics fans. (Gordon Flagg - Booklist)
Ditko’s life, like that of R. Crumb or Harvey Pekar, has enough obsessive oddity and outside struggle to be a tale told wide. But Bell goes the opposite direction, getting as narrow as the lines Ditko used to restrain the action in the old Marvel and Charlton comics. (Geoff Boucher - Los Angeles Times)
A personal and professional portrait of the brilliant storyteller and polemicist. (Richard Pachter - Miami Herald)
Ditko is one of the most enigmatic, mercurial talents in comic history. (Newsarama)
His legacy is undeniable…visually he was revolutionary. (Macleans Magazine)
Ditko remains widely recognized as one of the comic world’s most admired visual stylists. (The List)
Peculiar and tremendously talented writer and artist. (Steven M. Bari - Weekly Comic Book Reviews)
About the Author
More About the Author
* Co-author of the upcoming book, "Secret History Of Marvel Comics: Jack Kirby and the Moonlighting Artists at Martin Goodman's Empire", coming out in the Summer of 2013.
* "Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko" - a biography/artbook on the co-creator and original artist of Spider-Man - published in June '08 by Fantagraphics.
* Editor of the ongoing "Steve Ditko Archives" reprint volumes from Fantagraphics. Vol. 3 - "Mysterious Traveler" out in May '12; Vol. 2 - "Unknown Worlds" out Dec '10; Vol. 1 - "Strange Suspense" out Nov '09. Vol. 4 - "Impossible Tales" coming in Summer of 2013.
* "Fire & Water: Bill Everett, the Sub-Mariner, and the Birth of Marvel Comics" - a biography/artbook on the co-creator/artist of Daredevil, plus the creator/artist of the Sub-Mariner for the very first issue of Marvel Comics (#1, 1939).
* Editor of "Bill Everett Archives" reprint volumes from Fantagraphics. Vol. 1 - "Amazing Mysteries" out in Feb '12. Vol. 2 - "Heroic Comics" coming out in Summer of 2013.
* "I Have to Live With This Guy!" - stories of the wives and partners of famous cartoonists like Will Eisner, Stan Lee, Howard Cruse, Alan Moore, Dave Sim, and more, published by TwoMorrows in Oct '02.
* Multiple essays/articles/interviews/linear notes for Marvel and DC Comics and various publications.
* Father to my son, and best friend, Luke.
Top Customer Reviews
The book has a nice balance between text and what most Ditko fans really want to see, his art. There are nice full page splashes of art opposite the beginning of each chapter. The chapters covering his time at marvel and charlton are laced nicely with art of Spiderman, Dr.Strange, Captain Atom, as well as his later Charlton work with pictures of Blue Beetle and The Question. There is a very interesting chapter on his time working at Warren, the publisher that put out the "Eerie" and "Creepy" magazines of the late 60s. This is interesting in that it shows some of Ditkos "wash" technique, a water/ink brushwork style of art of which Ditko was a master. The book covers his time at Marvel and the historic clashes with Stan Lee that drove him to work at other companies such as DC where he created characters such as "The Creeper" and Hawk&Dove and Charlton where he had more creative reign if less pay.Read more ›
Bell traces Ditko's early life and career, showing how even small motifs, like Ditko's penchant for showing the interiors of crowded curio shops, were often traced to his experiences as a young man, or how Peter Parker's high school mimicked Ditko's own high school layout.
In the early 1960s, Ditko created Spider-Man. Writer/editor Stan Lee got 99% of the glory, but nearly every feature of Spider-Man that is famous today came from Ditko, and Bell does an excellent job of tracing individual features of Ditko's style and artistic theories in the creation and evolution of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. In a similar fashion, he dissects another extraordinary Ditko creation, Dr. Strange, showing both in words and in superbly chosen illustrations how Ditko's unique visual style created a unique comic book character and world.Read more ›
crass commercial exploitation and marginalizing an artist's vision in favor of what the industry seems to perceive as a mindless comic market, while remaining blind to the artist's true vision. Some of us simple-minded comic readers actually "got" the message in Ditko's work, and comic books have never been the same since without him.
I personally think that the world and the message Ditko creates is perfect in itself,and the real loss is that no-one in the industry just let go and let him share it with us, nor would pay him commeasurate with his genius, or honor his ownership of his work. There are copyright laws for the music business; they should apply retroactively to Ditko and all the other artists in the comic book world that have been exploited.
When I think about a lifetime spent creating such subject matter as the endless conflict between good and evil, the directions that Ditko chose make sense; jst as Ditko's Spider-man or the early Batman were conflicted loners trying to fight for justice in an unjust world, the unjust treatment Ditko received at the hands of Marvel set him on his solitary path to create his own unique vision and world where
there WAS justice for the oppressed, and penalty for the criminals.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was a requested gift. The person I gifted it to absolutely loved it. As a Steve Ditko fan myself, I was very happy with the response I received from gift. Read morePublished 3 months ago by charles swetnam
Proven beyond doubt to be slanderous. Filled with lies and misunderstanding. Gun enthusiast Groth was told this and still allows this book to be in the public. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Thou Art That
It was the work of Steve Ditko that first attracted me to comics as a child, moreso than that of Jack Kirby. Read morePublished on January 13, 2014 by Paul Kirchner
Filled with great samples and revealing history. Showed the growth and fundamental global influence Ditko had. We still see it today.Published on October 2, 2013 by John Lonacker
What can I say? If you like Ditko, you'll love this book! It's oversize, hardback, and covers a lot of material.Published on October 2, 2013 by Gregory Hatfield
"Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko"
Written by Blake Bell
(Fantagraphics Books, 2008)
This is a highly-readable, well constructed appraisal of... Read more
You can claim that Ditko would have been much bigger had he compromised but that wouldn't be ditko. He was a man with strict morals who refused to compromise and in the end that is... Read morePublished on April 3, 2013 by Stevtar
Not only is Steve Ditko one of my favorite artists, he is also one of the most fascinating personalities in the history of American comics. Read morePublished on October 14, 2011 by T.M. Finney
Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko is an amazing book that does a thorough job in capturing a flavor of this very complicated artist. Read morePublished on June 1, 2011 by goldenrulecomics