Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives, Volume 1

Overview

The first volume in the classic Spider-Man artist’s horror comic series is now in paperback.
Before Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, the legendary comic book artist Steve Ditko was conjuring all manners of horrors at his drawing table. In his first two years in the industry (1953 and 1954), Ditko drew tales of macabre suspense that were not yet hobbled by the imminent Comics Code Authority (adopted in October 1954). These stories featured graphic bloodshed, dismemberment and ...

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Overview

The first volume in the classic Spider-Man artist’s horror comic series is now in paperback.
Before Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, the legendary comic book artist Steve Ditko was conjuring all manners of horrors at his drawing table. In his first two years in the industry (1953 and 1954), Ditko drew tales of macabre suspense that were not yet hobbled by the imminent Comics Code Authority (adopted in October 1954). These stories featured graphic bloodshed, dismemberment and blood-curdling acid baths as the ugly end to the lives of the dark and twisted inhabitants of Steve Ditko’s imagination. Strange Suspense features spectacular full-color reprints of every story from those first two years of his career.

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Editorial Reviews

Vice
“This book is chock-full of intense faces and monsters and colors. Strong blacks, horror comics, mean revenge, strange surgery…It’s all horror comics from before Frederic Wertham illegalized good-time comic books. The cover is really thick and the hardcover is hard as hell.”— Nick Gazin
Bookgasm
“With the Fantagraphics logo on the sturdy spine, readers can expect—and receive—a top-quality package with crisp pages and handsome design. It's certainly attractive for some stories Ditko dismissed as 'junk,' but we all know there's treasure buried in trash.”— Rod Lott
Mania.com
Strange Suspense is an absolute must have for any student of sequential art history... It’s an excellent collection of long lost work from a man whose importance cannot be overstated. There’s really no other grade to give it than an A.”— Chad Derdowski
Newsarama
“This just in! Steve Ditko book to be awesome: Seriously, just look at this thing. Wow!”— J. Caleb Mozzocco
Rue Morgue
“[T]he tales in this tome are sheer pre-Comics Code Authority horror, complete with stabbings, decapitations, mutilations and disintegrations. ...Ditko's talent jumps off the page and one of the benefits of reading the stories in chronological order is seeing his art evolve and improve.”— Pedro Cabezuelo
Now Read This!
“This is a cracking collection in its own right but as an examination of one of the art-form’s greatest stylists it is also an invaluable insight into the very nature of comics. This is a book true fans would happily kill or die for.”— Wim Wiacek
Comic Book Galaxy
“[F]antastic! ... [A]n amazing recap of Steve Ditko’s entire career in comics... It’s also one of the best designed books I’ve read recently... There’s a lot more to Steve Ditko than just Doctor Strange and Spider-Man.”— Marc Sobel
The Typing Monkey
“If the infected, deformed teens of Black Hole inspired the reader to linger on each page of that magnificent book, Strange Suspense is worth a look. And for the Ditko-curious, this isn't a bad place to start.”
The Comics Reporter
“It's nice to have a bunch of comics from this time period, particularly the grittier pre-Code or Fear of Code-Like Crackdown work. There are some truly repulsive pieces of throwaway pulp in this book's pages, and Ditko was more than up to the task of illustrating them.”— Tom Spurgeon
The Onion A.V. Club
“Strange Suspense offers page after lurid four-color page of Ditko’s weird monsters, rubber-faced crooks, and abstracted landscapes... The book is a white-knuckle trip through Ditko’s fevered imagination. [Grade] A-.”
Comic Book Resources
“Man! are these some cool comics. ... Ditko... had no restraints, and the stories show it. This is pretty wild stuff. ... We really get a sense of a master at work in this book, even though it was so early in Ditko's career. ... It's totally worth the price!”— Greg Burgas
Entertainment Weekly
“This exhilarating collection of stories by the comic-book artist who co-created Spider-Man captures all the glorious chills and blood spills from the first two years of his career.”
The Daily Cross Hatch
“[A] first-hand look at the singularly warped sensibilities of one of the artists that would go on to shape the modern superhero book as we know it. ...Strange Suspense is a treasure trove of weird excitement from one of the mavericks of mid-century comics.”— Brian Heater
Robot 6 (Comic Book Resources)
“[T]he work contained in this hardcover (and kudos to Fantagraphics on the excellent and handsome production work) constantly reminds you of just how stellar an artist Ditko would prove to be.”— Chris Mautner
The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log
“Okay, I see a lot of books and comics passing my desk every week but ye gods this stood out—pre comic code Steve Ditko. Let me just say that again: STEVE DITKO!! ... And it's a lovely looking hardback edition, the sort you give pride of place on your shelves.”
Nick Gazin - Vice
“This book is chock-full of intense faces and monsters and colors. Strong blacks, horror comics, mean revenge, strange surgery…It’s all horror comics from before Frederic Wertham illegalized good-time comic books. The cover is really thick and the hardcover is hard as hell.”
Rod Lott - Bookgasm
“With the Fantagraphics logo on the sturdy spine, readers can expect—and receive—a top-quality package with crisp pages and handsome design. It's certainly attractive for some stories Ditko dismissed as 'junk,' but we all know there's treasure buried in trash.”
Chad Derdowski - Mania.com
“Strange Suspense is an absolute must have for any student of sequential art history... It’s an excellent collection of long lost work from a man whose importance cannot be overstated. There’s really no other grade to give it than an A.”
J. Caleb Mozzocco - Newsarama
“This just in! Steve Ditko book to be awesome: Seriously, just look at this thing. Wow!”
Pedro Cabezuelo - Rue Morgue
“[T]he tales in this tome are sheer pre-Comics Code Authority horror, complete with stabbings, decapitations, mutilations and disintegrations. ...Ditko's talent jumps off the page and one of the benefits of reading the stories in chronological order is seeing his art evolve and improve.”
Paul Gravett
“These morality fables are seldom subtle or surprising... but it’s Ditko’s artistry that elevates these mostly standard comic book nasties. ... good value, and this is a weighty, hard-packed, deluxe package.”
Wim Wiacek - Now Read This!
“This is a cracking collection in its own right but as an examination of one of the art-form’s greatest stylists it is also an invaluable insight into the very nature of comics. This is a book true fans would happily kill or die for.”
Seattle Geekly
“If you're interested in the history of the comics genre, this is a must-have.”
Alan David Doane - Comic Book Galaxy
“One of the treasures of the year, filled with tons of the master's weird and wonky comics.”
Marc Sobel - Comic Book Galaxy
“[F]antastic! ... [A]n amazing recap of Steve Ditko’s entire career in comics... It’s also one of the best designed books I’ve read recently... There’s a lot more to Steve Ditko than just Doctor Strange and Spider-Man.”
Tom Spurgeon - The Comics Reporter
“It's nice to have a bunch of comics from this time period, particularly the grittier pre-Code or Fear of Code-Like Crackdown work. There are some truly repulsive pieces of throwaway pulp in this book's pages, and Ditko was more than up to the task of illustrating them.”
Steven Grant - Comic Book Resources
“It's fascinating to see [Ditko's] nascent style coalescing as he tackles a variety of material, already starting to work out the design genius that would mark much of his work, including—especially!—Dr. Strange and Spider-Man, for the next 20 years.”
Greg Burgas - Comic Book Resources
“Man! are these some cool comics. ... Ditko... had no restraints, and the stories show it. This is pretty wild stuff. ... We really get a sense of a master at work in this book, even though it was so early in Ditko's career. ... It's totally worth the price!”
Brian Heater - The Daily Cross Hatch
“[A] first-hand look at the singularly warped sensibilities of one of the artists that would go on to shape the modern superhero book as we know it. ...Strange Suspense is a treasure trove of weird excitement from one of the mavericks of mid-century comics.”
Chris Mautner - Robot 6 (Comic Book Resources)
“[T]he work contained in this hardcover (and kudos to Fantagraphics on the excellent and handsome production work) constantly reminds you of just how stellar an artist Ditko would prove to be.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606997390
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 7/5/2014
  • Pages: 238
  • Sales rank: 947,388
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Ditko continues to create comics in his studio in New York City.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome Graphic Novel compilation by The Great Artist Ditko before the comic rating system screwed up the Horror, Thriller comics of the 1950's

    It's inspiring. The art and the vision that Ditko created in the stories with his excellent visual art and writing blending together for a book of short comics that is hard to put down. I'd recommend this to anyone who loves comics and loves great storytelling in general... this book is well worth the money. Ditko is the pioneer of suspense and horror comics as well as Spiderman!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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