Friday, November 2, 2012

Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4 title and Cover Art

It's Mr. Steve Ditko's 85th birthday today! Amazing that the man continues to produce work (now approaching Issue #18 of his new series that's been coming out regularly since 2008). Yes, he's up to eighteen x 32 pages of story and art in the last four years. How many self-published/independent creators half Ditko's age have produced that much in the same time frame? Not many, I suspect.

Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter blog has a "Five for Friday" featuring Ditko, where you submit your five favourite Ditko issues. Artist Michel Fiffe has a nice, long piece on his Ditko Connection. And here's a whack of Steve Ditko images to get you in the celebratory mood.

'Round here, we're only up to 1958, compiling the first five years of his almost 60-year career in putting together comic books.

And 1958 is where you'll find us in Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4, coming out next May from Fantagraphics Books, Inc.

I'm scanning like a Mad Man this weekend for the upcoming volume; a great way to spend Steve's birthday immersed in all this fabulous artwork from one of the definite peaks of his career. Here's the publisher's blurb for the volume:

"Five years before Steve Ditko began work on his now legendary co-creations for Marvel Comics, the Amazing Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, he was producing some of his best work in near anonymity for Charlton Comics. Like its predecessors, Impossible Tales: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 4 features over 200 meticulously restored full-color pages of Ditko in his early prime - stories that have never seen a proper reprinting until now, thrilling stories of suspense, mystery, haunted houses, and unsuspecting victims all delineated in Ditko’s wildly idiosyncratic, masterful style. This fourth volume ranks as the best in the Archives series to date thanks in large part to the inspiration Ditko took from comics derived from the classic host-narrated radio shows, which gave an extra oomph to his creepy yarns. Moreover, comics such as This Magazine is Haunted and Tales of The Mysterious Traveler bore witness to a veritable explosion in Ditko’s ingenuity in terms of manipulating the traditional comic-book page layout. This new level of excellence also manifested itself in his work on other books, such Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds, Out of This World, Strange Suspense Stories, and Unusual Tales, all of which are amply represented in this volume."