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Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko
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Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  215 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko is a coffee table art book tracing Ditko's life and career, his unparalleled stylistic innovations, his strict adherence to his own (and Randian) principles, with lush displays of obscure and popular art from the thousands of pages of comics he's drawn over the last 55 years.
Hardcover, 220 pages
Published July 17th 2008 by Fantagraphics
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Jun 30, 2008 Rick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
The first critical retrospective of the co-creator of Spider-man, Strange and Stranger grants an inside look into the workings and artistic life of this unusual man. Bell successfully argues Ditko's place within the pantheon of great artists while at the same time presenting the many shortcomings of Ditko the person. Ditko's strong adherence to Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism ostracized and made a pariah out of the artist. Bell shines light on many diverse corners of the comics industry in ...more
Richard Donne
Dec 28, 2012 Richard Donne rated it really liked it
Illuminating and educating; the first half of this bio is fascinating and doesn't shy away from some if the technical details of Ditko's work. The influence of objectivism on not just his narratives but also, and more importantly, his professional approach are unflinchingly discussed later.

Ditko comes across as an inspired and professionally-minded artist - especially in his early days - and a maddening but empathetic man. There is some strong research and good writing here - but more care in r
Mar 05, 2016 Dominick rated it really liked it
Given Ditko's notorious reticence, this is probably as good a biography as one might expect, with insightful chapters on all aspects of Ditko's career, and a far from flattering evaluation of Ditko's more personal Objectivist work. Lavishly illustrated, though at least one complete short story might have been nice.
Gus Sanchez
This critical overview of Steve Ditko, the artists most famous for creating Spider-Man, does the artist justice. With Ditko's blessing, author Blake Bell presents a visual study of Ditko's famed work, and also digs deep into his personal and professional motivations.

An excellent resource for comic book fans.

MB Taylor
I just finished reading Stranger and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko (2008) by Blake Bell. Strange and Stranger is a biography of one of my favorite comic book artists, Steve Ditko, co-creator of two of my favorite comics books characters, Spider-Man and Dr. Strange.

While other comic book fans from the early 60s enthuse over Jack Kirby’s work, I was always a Ditko fan. His art is somewhat on the quirky side and wasn’t always a good fit for the stories and characters, but when they fit (as the
Apr 24, 2009 Travis rated it liked it
Probably not too interesting for non-comics nerds, but the writer does a decent job of getting into the treacherous mechanics of working on mainstream, superhero art. But those of us into self-publishing & zine culture might will enjoy his troubled relationship with hobbyist editors and things taking years to come out (or never coming out).

Ditko's later conversion to Ayn Rand's philosophy is also gruesomely compelling. Sidenote -- the Rorschach character in Watchmen is a mocking nod to Ditko
Sep 02, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-art
Nicely illustrated monograph of the Spider-Man co-creator, who I didn't initially appreciate until this book. (I was a John Romita acolyte when it came to Spider-Man artists.) Ditko's story also has built-in drama as he comes more under the sway of Ayn Rand's Objectivism teachings that compromises his professional relationships and ultimately credit for his work. I'm still not swooning over his rubber band figural renderings, but I can now appreciate his impressionistic style and unique approach ...more
Oct 16, 2008 Violet rated it did not like it
I met Blake Bell at MOCCA at his Q&A about this book. He wasn't really prepared to answer any questions that were not covered in this book, and generally got the fame-seeking, annoying nerd vibe from him. Basically, I understood why Steve Ditko wouldn't want him to do a biography. His analytical skills are pretty bad, and his thesis--Steve Ditko could've made a lot of money if he had disregarded his ideals--doesn't really endear him to me either. Ever heard of artistic integrity, Blake?
Serge Pierro
Aug 09, 2014 Serge Pierro rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, art
An excellent book for those interested in one of comics greatest (and enigmatic) legends. There is a good amount of biographical material scattered throughout, however, there are very few pictures of Ditko himself. It is also fascinating, to see how his adherence to the philosophy of Ayn Rand, influenced both his storytelling, and his professional decision making. Lots of great artwork featured throughout.
Gian Luigi
Sep 04, 2015 Gian Luigi rated it it was amazing
La migliore antologia possibile del grande Steve Ditko, un autore che sa scavare nelle paranoie, nelle ossessioni e nelle paure come pochissimi altri. Il testo aiuta ad approfondire l'opera del grande autore in modo superbo e mi sento di consigliarlo a tutti.
Aug 06, 2011 LemontreeLime rated it really liked it
I need to reread this one. There is so much to comic art that I don't know. The way pencils and inks are done, how that can change everything, the design of the panels, the 'lighting' of a 2d page. I have much to learn. And Ditko was incredibly inventive and creative at all those things.
Jun 24, 2009 Daniel rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at a legend in the comics industry. The story of his life and his philosophies are intertwined with examples of the art he was producing at the time. It's a shame that his personal beliefs led to the destruction of his career.
Aug 10, 2011 Jamie rated it liked it
No one can say Ditko lacks principles, but there is a distinct whiff of "squandered talent" here. He couldn't leave behind superheroes or objectivist philosophy - both, taken together, rarely work in the examples provided. That said, Spider-Man #1-#38 is still nothing to sniff at.
Apr 28, 2016 Grant500 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I had no idea the co-creator of Spider-man and Dr. Strange was such an eccentric guy. Fascinating story of a guy who seemed to sabotage his own success every chance he got.
Apr 29, 2015 Jazzy rated it really liked it
Shelves: study-of-comics
steve ditko is the genius behind many marvel characters. he is most famous for fighting stan lee over intelectual property.
he then went a little nuts and became ann randyn crazy.
Sep 30, 2011 Jon added it
Good history, great samples. Quick read if you're a comic buff, particularly either a horror comic buff or a marvel fanboy ;).
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Jan 26, 2011
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Writer of multiple books on comic-book creators. Books include "Fire & Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner & The Birth of Marvel Comics"; "Strange & Stranger: The World Of Steve Ditko", "I Have To Live With This Guy!", plus multiple introductions and forewords for Marvel and DC Comics. Also, editor of "The Steve Ditko Archives" volumes for Fantagraphics.
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