Fantagraphics Announces "Stranger & Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko"

Fri, November 2nd, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
CBR News Team, Editor

Official Press Release

On his 80th birthday, Fantagraphics Books is proud to announce the

June 2008 release of the first critical retrospective of Steve Ditko,

the co-creator and original artist of the Amazing Spider-Man.

In the wake of the astonishing success of Sam Raimi's three Spider-

Man movies, Steve Ditko's status as a driving force behind the pop

culture icon has been revealed to an audience the world over. But, in

the context of Steve Ditko's 50-year career in comics, his creative

involvement with Spider-Man is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Ditko is known amongst the cartooning cognoscenti as one of the

supreme visual stylists in the history of comics, as well as the most

fiercely independent cartoonist of his generation. From his earliest

days in the 1950s, working for the notorious low-budget Charlton

Comics (the Roger Corman Productions of the comics industry), Steve

Ditko broke every convention in comics, with his innovative special

designs and imaginatively hallucinatory landscapes of Dr. Strange,

the almost plebian earthiness of The Amazing Spider-Man, and his

black-and-white views on morality and justice through his

uncompromising vigilante of the late 1960s, Mr. A (inspired by the

work of Atlas Shrugged author and Objectivist philosopher, Ayn Rand).

Why will this book appeal to such a broad readership, to those who

may not even be comic-book, or Steve Ditko, fans? "For the non-comic-

book reader," says author Blake Bell (author and essayist for the

Marvel Comics' line of Ditko-related Omnibus reprint projects), "we

tell the narrative of Steve Ditko, the artist, from humble beginnings

in Johnstown Pennsylvania; to the dizzying heights of co-creating

Spider-Man; to the spectacular Howard Roark-like determination, and

tribulations, in bringing his personal and philosophical vision to a

recalcitrant audience. There's a fantastic, dramatic storyline

running through Ditko's career; the artist having walked away from

the Spider-Man franchise (and the billions it was to generate) as it

was reaching the height of its popularity. What price did Ditko pay,

and what was the impact on his work?"

Comic-book fans have also been waiting for a definitive examination

of Ditko the artist; a chance to have the entire artistic scope of

his career in one volume. "Fans of Ditko, and comic art, will not be

able to put the book down," says Bell, "as we explode many of the

myths surrounding key moments in Ditko's career, as well as present

reams of rare and unpublished Ditko artwork. For the comic art

scholar, we also break down the "hows" of Steve Ditko as a great

sequential storyteller, dissecting his work in depth for the first

time, also with analysis and commentary by some of the most skilled

and articulate comic creators of the day."

While Steve Ditko himself remains absent for the World Wide Web

(minus a summer back in 2001, when Bell himself worked for Ditko as

his official web site designer), Strange & Stranger will assault the

'Net with similar intensity to that of the creator himself.

In addition to updates to Bell's unofficial Steve Ditko web site at, readers will be able to keep abreast of updates

with pages on Facebook, MySpace, and a dedicated feature page at the

Fantagraphics web site, found through the portal and launching soon. This will have a web log

offering on-going commentary on the process of creating the book,

with commentary by Bell and the staff at Fantagraphics. It will also

publish commentary by professional comic-book creators on Ditko's

career and artwork, and feature artwork that won't make it into the

book. As the book speeds to its June 2008 release date, teasers,

convention appearances by Bell, as well as book store signings will

be featured on the site.

2008 will mark the year when Steve Ditko fans the world over will

have the opportunity to celebrate the artist's 50-plus year career

with this definitive volume from Blake Bell and Fantagraphics Books.

A selection of images in a variety of formats is available for

publication. For additional information, contact Eric Reynolds at the

numbers above.


Strange & Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko

By Blake Bell

$39.99 Hardcover

220 pages, full-color, 9" x 12"

ISBN 978-1-56097-921-0


CBR News