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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 pro- ducing 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 Steve Ditko 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 as Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds, Out of This World, Strange Suspense Stories, and Unusual Tales, all of which are amply represented in this volume.
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