Tuesday, 18 May 2010


An Amazon 4star review, slightly revised.
Ditko: Strangeness and charm.
Steve Ditko is one of those comic book artists that you either 'get' and love or you just can't understand what the fuss is about. He's an artist who polarises the audience and he's probably appreciated more by critics and afficionados than the average comic book fan to whom his style seems crude and ugly. Sometimes it can take a while before you 'get' Ditko, in my case it took decades as I saw the light when I happened to read a book Strange & Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko which proved quite a revelation.

This volume is a collection of his early pre-Comics Code 50's work for Charlton Comics whose publishers were solely concerned about product not quality. Mostly horror, it also includes crime, western, SF, and romance. The Ditko style is already in place albeit not quite so initially defined as his work would later become, though it does evolve in the course of this volume. While I wouldn't recommended it as a Ditko-starter pack, there is more than enough to satisfy fans of his work who will find it a real treat. The horror stories are often gleefully grotesque. A couple of the more effective ones are gruesome reworkings of Cinderella (with vampires) and Rumpelstiltskin (a skin-collecting demon). 

The book is a solid production with high quality stock paper but the source material isn't always in very good condition, though I can't imagine it being any better given that the original comics are over 50 years old and weren't exactly collectible back in the day.

It's a nice, quirky book to have in your graphic story collection and I'll certainly be buying the second volume when it comes out later this year. 

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