Fantagraphics and Blake Bell team up for hardcover Steve Ditko art book

Press Release

Steve Ditko rose from the flood-ravaged surroundings of Depression-era Johnstown Pennsylvania to become a master of sequential arts. After working for scraps at the Mafia's favorite comic company, Charlton Comics of the 1950s, Ditko co-created the greatest pop icon in the past 40 years in the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. His conceptual vision on strips like his creation DR. STRANGE gave birth to a legend as prominent today as then until he walked away from it all to become the Greta Garbo of the graphic arts world.

Developing a fascination for Objectivist philosopher AYN RAND, Ditko became Howard Roark - the work became the message, the message overwhelming the work. Talent unbound or talent wasted? For 50 years, Steve Ditko has recreated the visual laws of sequential art. He will die having reaped but a pittance of the wealth he could have amassed had he simply compromised his Randian views of art, commerce and morality.

Author BLAKE BELL, whose first book "I HAVE TO LIVE WITH THIS GUY!" (on shelves October 9th from TwoMorrows Publishing) examined the lives of comic creators of all generations and genres through the eyes of their spouses and partners, teams up with FANTAGRAPHICS to bring you "STEVE DITKO: THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER."

In the tradition of Fantagraphics volume on Bernie Krigstein, this will be the definitive volume on the artwork of Steve Ditko. At 224 pages in length, over 50% in color, and a 9x12" hardcover format, the tome will be swinging onto shelves in June of 2003.

"I'm ecstatic about the chance to work with a company with the courage to put together a book like this," says Bell. "Fantagraphics' commitment to the highest production values and the most daring of subject matters made this a natural choice."

"Steve Ditko is among that small circle of brilliant, quirky, eccentric mainstream artists whose life's work transcends all the commercial limitations he worked under," says GARY GROTH, co-publisher of Fantagraphics. "He's also among that tiny elite of his generation - among whom I would count Bernie Krigstein, Wally Wood, Gil Kane - who felt constrained by the aesthetic boundaries of mainstream comics and, against the odds, liberated themselves from it to one degree or another. Stylistically, he's among the most fascinating and original artists in the history of comic books. It's about time a coffee table book covering his entire career and contribution to comics is published."

The man with a face few have seen contends 'the work speaks for me' and this book peels back the layers with help from those who worked with and admired him from his days at Charlton, sharing studio space with noted bondage artist Eric Stanton, to his tumultuous days at Marvel and D.C. Comics (as creator of THE CREEPER and THE HAWK AND THE DOVE), through his trail-blazing work in the fanzines of the late '60s and '70s, to his desperate struggle to bring his vision of a black-and-white morality to a four-color world through the examination of his THE QUESTION and MR. A. characters.

Mr. Bell is also looking for copies/scans of original artwork for the highest quality of reproduction, as well as professionals willing to share stories and dissect Ditko's work/career. For updated information/queries, e-mail him at ditko37@sympatico.ca and keep your eye on www.ditko.comics.org for news on the first in a string of Ditko-related projects from the man who brought you five years of the web site DITKO LOOKED UP the ART OF STEVE DITKO panel at the 2002 San Diego Comic Con and now...



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