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The Steve Ditko Archives, Volume 1: Strange Suspense
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The Steve Ditko Archives, Volume 1: Strange Suspense (The Steve Ditko Archives #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  97 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Before the Amazing Spider-Man, before the mysterious Doctor Strange, before the black-and-white world of the Ayn Rand-inspired Mr. A, 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 Com ...more
Hardcover, Anthology, 240 pages
Published November 30th 2009 by Fantagraphics
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Before Spider Man, Dr. Strange, Batman and Robin... there was Ditko's horror comics. Read these delightfully horrific comics before the "code" changed things in comic world. I enjoyed these very much. :)
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Although I may be a minority of one on this, I actually enjoyed this book MORE than the EC Comics treasuries I've thumbed through in the past. While EC is heralded as the alpha and omega of 50's horror and crime comics, I always found them a little hokey and pat -- more of the open-and-shut plot twists I associate with "Twilight Zone" than anything actually surprising or disturbing. Certainly nothing I've read from EC has ever made me understand what made people think our nation's youth was bein ...more
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
There have been a lot of Ditko reprints recently, so I've seen a few of these stories in the last little while, but this is nevertheless an impressive collection. It appears to be (the introduction and contextualizing material could be more thorough) a comprehensive collection of Ditko's early work for Charlton, pre Comic Code. And it's impressive stuff, at least visually. The stories are for the most part standard-issue 1950s ephemera, mostly in the horror and SF genres, though there are occasi ...more
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I never was a huge Steve Ditko fan growing up, but lately I've come to enjoy and appreciate his work. (His philosophy? Not so much.) Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives is the first of a multi-volume series, the fourth volume of which, Impossible Tales, should come out in May 2013.

The tales in Strange Suspense are all pre-code stories with writing of varying quality, ranging from clever Twilight Zone-ish tales to really bad morality tales that certainly have not stood the test of time. A
Rob McMonigal
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
So unbelievably good. Ditko was amazing. Even from these early comics, you can see the visual tricks and strong sense of dynamic action that he still uses to this day. Well worth grabbing, if you can find it in print.
Bill FromPA
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
      This Ditko anthology from Fantagraphics presents over 200 color pages of covers and complete stories from Steve Ditko’s earliest published comic book work, coinciding with the last years before the establishment of the Comics Code Authority. The comics are mainly horror with some science fiction and crime and single examples of romance, western, and satirical stories. Steve Ditko is the only named creator here, but in this collaborative medium, it’s likely that other hands were involved in ...more
Chris Turek
Apr 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was a complete joy to read. The plots and writing are mediocre to poor a fair amount of the time, though there are more than a few slick ones. If it were not for the EC books coming out at the same time, this writing would read as more than adequate for its time period.

The art is what you're after here. Even when clunky, you can see Ditko experimenting with balloons and other new ideas. Most of the work is well worth dissecting, and all of it is worth reading. It is undeniable that you are
Dec 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
A perfect title for the contents. Still tame compared to today's comic's content (especially some underground comix), this collection features pre-comics code stories by the man who later co-created Spiderman with Stan Lee. Unlike similar horror comics that followed, such as Creepy and Eerie, not everything here had to have a crazy twist at the end (though many often do). Occasionally gruesome, often imaginative, always weird.
Mike Gallagher
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Steve Ditko is a master of the macabre. This volume of stories from early in his career are breathtaking in their strangeness and imagination. The writing is what you would expect, run of the mill stories of 'evil', but the art elevates them into frightening tales.
The volume itself is gorgeous. Thick archival paper, beautiful cover reproductions, and enough stories to make it worth the price. This is a treasure.
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comic
these early messterpieces by ditko are cheapie nightmares of the pre-code era, starring his zany and unconventional face-masking and some altogether amazing (but rare) monsters, but the effects fall way flat after reading them strung together, the repeating cycle of the 'gotcha' narrative becomes annoying even as you watch his narrative craft improve.
Jan 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection contains Ditko's pre-code, pre-Marvel horror and suspense (plus one humor) comics from Charlton and others. This is young, raw Ditko unleashing his feverish imagination and some fairly routine stories, drawing about 200 pages of nightmares in a year. They don't have the polish of his later work, but they have his singular, truly bizarre vision.
Aug 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Very early Ditko. You can witness his signature style come to life from beginning to end of the book. Far from his best work. Best left to die-hard fans and academic types.
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Sometimes tedious, there are some real gems and laugh-gassers in here. There's a place in my heart for Ditko without question!
Khairul H.
Jun 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Before Spider-Man, before Dr. Strange, before the Comics Code, Steve Ditko did horror. And the world is a lesser place now that he's not involved in comics anymore.
Jacob Dougherty
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING stories/artwork from before the Comics Code ruined horror comics. If you thought Steve Ditko only had Spider Man on his repertoire, you really need to check out this work...
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Stephen J. "Steve" Ditko is an American comic book artist and writer best known as the co-creator of the Marvel Comics heroes Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

He was inducted into the comics industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990, and into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994.
More about Steve Ditko...

Other Books in the Series

The Steve Ditko Archives (5 books)
  • The Steve Ditko Archives, Volume 2: Unexplored Worlds
  • The Steve Ditko Archives, Volume 3: Mysterious Traveler
  • The Steve Ditko Archives, Volume 4: Impossible Tales
  • The Steve Ditko Archives, Volume 5: Dripping with Fear

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