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Comment: large size white hardcover; no jacket; from a library so it has library markings inside and out; binding is loosening as well; we call it fair to acceptable.............v1 bx107
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The Art of Steve Ditko Hardcover – January 13, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It’s a good time to be a fan of legendary comic book artist Ditko. Fantagraphics is reprinting his earliest work, starting with Strange Suspense (2009), and now comes this lavish collection of stories drawn for Charlton Comics in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. Charlton paid bargain-basement rates but offered scant editorial interference, so it was there that Ditko’s work was most unfettered. The scripts are simplistic tales relying on twist endings. Pretty much the whole show here is Ditko’s jagged, off-kilter artwork. The 1950s stories possess an appealing polish lacking in the later ones, which often seem rushed and unfinished. All, however, display Ditko’s unmistakable style. Scanned directly from the published comics, the images suffer from Charlton’s muddy printing, though that somehow makes them seem more authentic. Rounding out the collection are a handful of pages drawn for other publishers and shot from the original artwork, and tributes written by Ditko’s artistic colleagues, which applaud his work but reveal little personal detail about the notoriously reclusive artist. --Gordon Flagg

About the Author

Steve Ditko continues to create comics in his studio in New York City.

Craig Yoe is a former creative director for The Muppets, Disney, and Nickelodeon. He has authored nearly 50 books and lives in the Hudson Valley, New York.

Steve Ditko continues to create comics in his studio in New York City.

Steve Ditko continues to create comics in his studio in New York City.

Craig Yoe is a former creative director for The Muppets, Disney, and Nickelodeon. He has authored nearly 50 books and lives in the Hudson Valley, New York. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Idea & Design Works Llc; First Edition edition (January 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600105424
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600105425
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 9.6 x 12.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,373,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Craig Yoe's The Art of Ditko is simply great, highly recommended, and one doesn't have to be a comic book collector to enjoy this beautiful volume.

Editor/writer Yoe, himself a celebrated graphic designer and art director, has compiled some thirty comic-book stories drawn by Steve Ditko, best known as the cartoonist who co-created Spider-Man with Stan Lee. Yoe has selected the most colorful and imaginative stories from Ditko's runs at Charlton Comics and Atlas comics during the late 1950's and early 60's, and presented them with a great deal of care and impeccable production values.

These are short, suspenseful fantasy stories from comics like "Tales of the Mysterious Traveler," "Strange Suspense Stories," and "Unusual Tales." Wild and brilliantly drawn, many of these stories have a light-hearted touch that makes them all the more fun. Individual pages of important work done for other publishers are included, such as a sumptuous ink-and-wash sequence he did for Warren Publishing's Eerie Comics, and the first page from the first Spider-Man adventure. Ditko's art has never looked better.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm with the strongly positive reviews on this one! I'm very grateful to have this beautiful book (with its striking cover and high-quality paper) of rare Ditko material from one of his most neglected yet obviously creative periods. The larger size really shows off what I think is most distinctive about these stories (produced for cheap-o publisher Charlton), Ditko's amazing panel and page design, which is often outstanding and innovative despite the silly and generic stories it serves. Filled out with quite a few (hardly the "handful" one reviewer suggests) vivid examples of Ditko's original art (unlike the Fantagraphics volume that recently appeared), the volume is entirely justified in being titled "The Art of Ditko." That's what's fully on display here -- not his complicated life and personality, not his odd ideology, and not his entire career at Marvel and DC, which is easily represented by continual reprints from those companies (or in Blake Bell's earlier book for Fantagraphics). What this volume demonstrates is that even doing what most comics creators would consider hack work, Ditko approached his work as an artist, producing striking individual images and exciting narrative arrangements of these into comics form.

I also don't see any problem with the quality of the reproductions and color here -- this is a familiar concern with comics reprints: do you maintain the look of the original comics or re-do the color to match contemporary standards? I'm for the former in most cases. I have some of the original comics these stories come from, and believe me, these look both accurate and even clearer and brighter next to the originals. And as I've said, for these cases, the larger size really helps to reveal their strong points.
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Format: Hardcover
Let's get my one complaint out of the way: This isn't an art book. It's a collection of a lot of public-domain stories by the great Steve Ditko (cocreator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange and iconoclastic artist of underground comics like Mr. A), but it is not a book about him or his art.

Despite that little labeling gaffe, the book does present us with nearly 200 pages of rare Ditko short stories culled from the pages of various Charlton Comics titles from the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. Charlton was a low-paying publisher whose books were notoriously poorly printed, but they gave Ditko and some of their other creators great artistic freedom, and the results, collected here, can be pretty astounding.

A word of warning: As I said, Charlton comics were not well-printed, and the stories in this book are scanned directly from the published comic books, not the original artwork. As a result, the lines break down, the colors bleed, and the text is often muddy. But the stories are more than readable, and the scans capture the physical product of the comics of the day nicely. Just don't expect crisp and clear reproduction or modern coloring.

Almost all of the stories here (few of which are credited to the original authors) fall into the 4-8 page "twist ending" horror/SF genre that was so popular back then. Unfortunately, the stories themselves rarely live up to the artwork and just as rarely give Ditko the chance to shine through the entire tale. Most of these "surprises" can be seen coming from the very first panel, but they do have their charm and style, if few actual teeth. (Remember that these were published at a time when most comics were neutered by the Comics Code Authority, which forbid stories to feature sex, violence, crime, or anything of substance.
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Format: Hardcover
Although he's best known for Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, the bulk of Steve Ditko's work was for Charlton, the comic book publisher most famous for its poor quality printing. How ironic now to see Ditko's work beautifully reproduced in large size on top quality paper.

Ditko's art is surprisingly good here, especially considering how far below the radar these comics were. In some ways, this material is superior to Ditko's comics at Marvel. Given the lack of editorial oversight at Charlton, Ditko experiments with the form using wild page layouts and unrestricted imagination. His style shifts and evolves as he explores new ways to tell stories in the comics medium. No two are alike.

Although the book is mostly full-color reprints of the best of his Charlton output, the comic covers and original art reproductions add to the visual delights. I also enjoyed the essays by other comics professionals. It's particularly nice to read what Stan Lee has to say about Steve Ditko.

To anyone who says "print is dead" I offer this book as a rebuttal. Unlike digital books or recorded books, this book is a physical object that is a piece of art in itself. The handsome, sturdy binding, custom endpapers and gorgeous printing make it a prime example of the bookbinder's art. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a book like this selling for $60 or $75. With Amazon's 34% off, it's a steal. The cover alone is worth the price!
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