The World of Steve Ditko
As a tour guide to the world of one of the great comic-book artists of the twentieth century, this book could hardly be bettered.
Most comic-book fans will know Steve Ditko as the creator of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, and his work on these iconic characters is well covered here. But the author devotes just as focused an attention to Ditko’s work at Charlton Comics in the 1950s, and to his later career, following the acrimonious split with Marvel Comics in 1966. Since then, scant popular recognition and very little commercial success has come Ditko’s way, even though the quality of his work has generally remained high.
It has to be said that Ditko has not always been the best custodian of his talent and, following stints at Warren Publications and DC Comics and a brief return to Marvel in 1979, he has tread an independent and an increasingly idiosyncratic course from about 1988 – and he continues to do so. Those well-intentioned souls who have sought to work with the artist – and there have been many, among them Frank Miller and the late Will Eisner – have found him a difficult person to deal with; most have regretfully given up on him.
Still, once Ditko was a boy who persuaded his mother, an accomplished seamstress, to make a Batman costume for him. Once he was a young man with a burning ambition to become a comic-book artist, and he did so under the tutelage of the great Jerry Robinson. Once, he drew Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, his own creations. And he put much of his own life into both of these characters, especially Spider-Man, as Blake Bell clearly demonstrates. But between the duplicity of the comics industry and Ayn Rand’s Objectivist ideas and maybe something in his own make-up, his head got messed up and he lost his way.
Here, along with a full biography, Bell gives a perceptive appreciation of Ditko’s achievements and a generous selection of artwork from all stages of his career, ending with a gallery of comic-book covers from the 1950s. Sure, Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, a large-scale art book, is gorgeously designed and produced.Explore posts in the same categories: Art review, Book review, Comic review comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.