Press Release for upcoming book on Steve Ditko


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Friday November 2, 2007


Eric Reynolds

206.524.1967 x218



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


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 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


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