Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1

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NUMBER OF PAGES

240

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED

July 2014

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“...[T]he tales in this tome are sheer pre-Comics Code Authority horror, complete with stabbings, decapitations, mutilations and disintegrations. ...Ditko’s talent jumps off the page and one of the benefits of reading the stories in chronological order is seeing his art evolve and improve.” – Pedro Cabezuelo, Rue Morgue

Before the Amazing Spider-Man, before the mysterious Dr. Strange, before the black-and-white world of the Ayn Rand-inspired Mr. A, the legendary comic book artist Steve Ditko was conjuring all manners of horrors at his drawing table. In his first two years in the industry (1953 and 1954), Ditko drew tales of macabre suspense that were not yet hobbled by the imminent Comics Code Authority (adopted in Oct. 1954). These stories featured graphic bloodshed, dismemberment and blood-curdling acid baths as the ugly end to the lives of the dark and twisted inhabitants of Steve Ditko’s imagination.

Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 features, for the first time, spectacular full-color reprints of every story from those first two years of his career. Beginning with Ditko’s very first story to Ditko’s short stint in the Joe Simon/Jack Kirby studio, to Ditko’s eventual encampment at the Charlton Comics operation in 1954, readers will see the initial works of an artist already at a level of craftsmanship that exceeded most of his peers.

The book also features editor Bell’s insightful introduction, providing historical background and speaking to Ditko’s influence and his unique craft.

• Top 5 comics of the year – Tom Neely,
The Daily Cross Hatch, “The Best Damned Comics of 2009 Chosen by the Artists”

“Fantastic... Raw and grotesque and beautifully drawn and presented.” – Dave Gibbons

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REVIEWS

Comic Book Resources

•Comics website

“It’s fascinating to see [Ditko’s] nascent style coalescing as he tackles a variety of material, already starting to work out the design genius that would mark much of his work, including – especially! – Dr. Strange and Spider-Man, for the next 20 years.”

The AV Club

•Pop-culture website

“Strange Suspense offers page after lurid four-color page of Ditko’s weird monsters, rubber-faced crooks, and abstracted landscapes... The book is a white-knuckle trip through Ditko’s fevered imagination. [Grade] A-.”

The Comics Reporter

•Comics website and blog

“A handsome book … It's nice to have a bunch of comics from this time period, particularly the grittier pre-Code or Fear of Code-Like Crackdown work. There are some truly repulsive pieces of throwaway pulp in this book's pages, and Ditko was more than up to the task of illustrating them.”