Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko/220 pgs. & $39.99 from Fantagraphics Books/by Blake Bell/sold in comics and book shops and at www.fantagraphics.com.
This critical retrospective celebrates the work and life of one of comic?s most original and fiercely independent cartoonists in the last fifty years, Steve Ditko.
Not only is he the co-creator of Marvel Comic?s Spider-Man and creator of Dr. Strange, he is, without question, the leading proponent in comics of the Objectivist philosophy of life established by writer and novelist Ayn Rand. Objectivism is similar to libertarianism. He has paid a heavy price for that philosophy; Ditko has never received the financial remuneration he deserves, admittedly because of the restrictive contracts that he signed when it was common to do so in the publishing industry.
Ditko?s reality based art has a subtle awkwardness in human stance and an off-kilter perspective in the environment of his characters that has made it unique and perfect, in particular, for teenaged Spider-man and mystic Dr. Strange.
This volume is full of this art, the characters he created, and of his personal history, including a more implied than stated criticism of his philosophy and the negative impact it has had on his career as an artist. Therefore, if you?ve ever wanted to work in comics or to know about the working conditions therein, or what it means to be creative in the world of art, Strange and Stranger is for you.
If you?re a comics fanatic who wants to learn the above plus as much as you can about the man and the artist named Steve Ditko, this book is also for you.
Since Ditko is in his 80s at this writing, I doubt their will be a more comprehensive retrospect published during his lifetime. This wonderful book receives the highest recommendation.
Review by Michael Vance
Check out Dark Corridor #1 for two Michael Vance short stories at www.mainenterprises.ecrater.com.
Interested in the exciting Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection & Toy and Action Figure Museum? Try www.fourcolorcommentary.com, and www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCARtM5BvvU.