- Series: The Steve Ditko Archives (Book 1)
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Fantagraphics Books; 1 edition (July 31, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1606997394
- ISBN-13: 978-1606997390
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.7 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 Paperback – July 31, 2014
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Ghosted"
Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Steve Ditko continues to create comics in his studio in New York City.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This period dates from just before the comics code came in (the early 50s), the era of graphic horror exemplified by EC and other publishers. Ditko's work for Charlton at that time really hits "the nail on the coffin," so to speak. And what's quite interesting is that here he is just out of Cartoonist school creating an impressive array of visual story telling. I can see influences of Will Eisner here, and some of the particular shading techniques of Golden Age artist Mort Meskin, whom Ditko has admitted being a fan of. Mort Meskin's use of blacks could easily be compared to Alex Toth, and this simple direct style can be found in Ditko's later work as well.
Take for example an early effort, "Die Laughing". This tale on its own doesn't really go anywhere especially scary. Some college boys in an initiation ceremony enter a haunted house. One disappears and at the end another boy has been frightened so much he turns into a gibbering idiot who then dies. On the face of it, it's nothing much but filtered through Ditko's imagination it really shines. Aside from drawing a creepy-looking haunted house and white lines of a floating mist throughout all the panels, the scenes of the boy's faces with up-lighting from lanterns and flashlights are especially fine. It's difficult to find another comics artist at the time that could handle form in such a competent manner using light and shadow. This tale, typical of his early work is often laid out in a 6-panel grid - two tiers of three tall panels. Later on in the 60s Charlton Ghost Comics work he usually did the more traditional three tier, six panel grid. But even though he used this layout often, in this story you can see some pages divided up in the middle by a long "wide screen" panel, most likely a film influence.
You can find examples of Ditko's take on different genres, ranging from romance, to western to crime and science ficiton, but most readers would agree it's the horror stuff that really takes off here. Imagine some Grimm's fairy tales with a really grim take. That's what you'll find in "Cinderella" where poor Cinderella's stepmother and sisters are all vampires! They all want to go to the ball, and leave poor Cinderella home. She has other ideas having eavesdropped on their evil spells so she conjures up some demons to help her. Ditko draws a coach drawn by scaly forked tongued demon horses! Cinderella, a tall statuesque blonde that Ditko was so fond of drawing wears "the shining cloak of the beyond" a shimmering white gown! And then her vampire stepsisters kill all their rivals at the prince's ball. Again Ditko uses lighting to great effect, and a variety of angled shots, from underneath, straight on and above. All this visual virtuosity adds to the grim doings of this creepy tale!
And speaking of creepy, don't miss "Rumpelstiltskin!" Gee, he's not the typical little man often depicted in this tale! He's one of a clan of demons, a short little man, with bright red hair, a yellow-green face with bulging eyes and a permanent toothy grim. He has a bug like appearance - a breastplate and a furry body. His special name? Well, in a demon competition he submits human skins he's tattooed demon patterns on. He desires a youthful clean skin! Enter the miller's daughter. Again, she's a tall leggy blonde, a buxom gal wearing a low cut raggy red dress. She starts off barefoot but then later on, inexplicitly she's wearing red stiletto heels! Ah, a little bit of artistic freedom Ditko enjoys here! That's the freedom of working for Charlton - no editorial interference!
Those are just a few of the gems you'll find in this well produced book. Timing, close ups, long shots, atmospheric suspense - its all here! And as for production values, I like the decision to print the stories the same size as the original comics. And the use of matte paper is wise as well. I have Marvel's Amazing Adult Fantasy hardback and it's a bit larger with glossy paper. These are scans of the comics pages so at times you are going to get bleeds, and off register colors, but remember this is Charlton Comics so you have the original material to consider. Sometimes there could have been a little more attention to cleaning them up, for example the cover reproduction of The Thing #15. The title has a lot of bleed through from behind. That's typical of how comics age from this era. Who'da thought it? Ephemeral material that lives on after all these years and admired for the artistry behind it! And consider the collector's prices all these original comics from the 1950s command and you have a bargain! All in all, Fantagraphics has come out with a fine collection of the early work of a true comics master. Aspiring comics artists could learn a lot from this book!