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Dripping With Fear: The Steve Ditko Archives Volume 5 features another 200-plus meticulously restored, full-color pages from Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko in his early prime, at the time working in near anonymity for Charlton Comics in the then-popular horror/suspense genre.
Comics like Tales of The Mysterious Traveler and This Magazine Is Haunted saw an explosion in Ditko’s ingenuity, as he manipulated the traditional comic-book page layout with masterful results.
It was during this time that Ditko and his art-school colleague, the famed fetish artist Eric Stanton, began sharing a studio in Manhattan. The introduction by editor Blake Bell examines Ditko’s stylistic evolution and delves deep into his association with Stanton. Ditko’s secret collaborations with Stanton on his female bondage material remain a highly controversial topic, and Bell’s introduction highlights numerous examples that prove the allegedly shy and private Ditko contributed with wild abandon to these risqué tales of titillation.
This fifth volume stands as the best example yet of the Steve Ditko that would soon begin crafting such iconic classics as Spider-Man and Doctor Strange alongside Stan Lee at Marvel Comics.
Praise for previous volumes in The Steve Ditko Archives:
Named one of the 10 Best Horror Comic Releases of 2010 by Fangoria
"Even though he’d only been working in comics for a couple of years when he drew these 1956 tales, they already display Ditko’s distinctively cockeyed style and his characteristically powerful compositions. [...] As Bell remarks in his insightful introduction, what makes Ditko's early work notable is 'the dichotomy between what he was given and what he was able to accomplish.'" – Gordon Flagg, Booklist
"[In] Fantagraphics' second volume of Ditko's portfolio... Ditko moves away from gore to short sci-fi tales, yet his grasp at relaying natural character depth and dramatic heft is evident. His zealous work as the exemplar artist for Charlton Comics showcases his ever-blossoming abilities at setting scenes in stark relief to multi-hued characters. [...] This collection single-handedly erases memories of Ditko hacking Transformers coloring books during the '80s. [Rating] 8/10" – Kyle Lemmon, Under the Radar
"Fantastic... Raw and grotesque and beautifully drawn and presented." – Dave Gibbons
"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." – Steven Grant, Comic Book Resources
"...[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, Rue Morgue
"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."
— Entertainment Weekly
"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-" – The A.V. Club
"The bold dynamism and moody linework that would characterize Ditko's Spider-Man and Dr. Strange work just a few years later, as well as his horror tales for Creepy and Eerie, is in evident throughout.... essential for classic horror comics fans, and further cements Ditko's reputation as an artist without peer." – Joseph McCabe, FearNet
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