Continuing our highly praised series cataloguing and exploring Steve Ditko's extensive, decades-long portfolio of work, Dripping with Fear: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 5 features another 200+ pages of meticulously restored, full-color artwork, featuring the time period when Ditko began sharing a studio with fetish artist Eric Stanton.
Our fantastic designers have done it again! Here is the cover art for the fifth volume of our acclaimed series on the inimitable Steve Ditko. Titled Dripping with Fear, this volume features another 200-plus pages of meticulously restored, full-color, early Ditko work, including the beginning of Ditko's collaborations with renowned fetish artist Eric Stanton and an introduction by editor Blake Bell.
"A mix of evocative, geometric watercolors and fluid pen-and-ink cartoons, How to Be Happy tells stories of sad people, lonely people, strong people, confident people, all trying to find a tiny bit of happiness in life…Davis’ clever and sometimes jaw-droppingly beautiful artwork makes those stories feel real." – Dan Kois, Slate Book Review
"The use of Adam and Eve’s human bodies to communicate to one another, to seek the bliss that’s coming, to lift that weight, is the image Davis wants us to leave with. No moral, no punchline, no muted epiphany — discarded along with all the other distractions, they leave only Edenic bliss behind." – Sean T. Collins, The Comics Journal
"A valuable gem to add to any collection focusing on independent comics and alternative storytelling with its avant-garde narrative voice, classical art style, and brilliantly paced sense of adventure" – Alger C. Newberry III, Library Journal
"Wood (1927-1981) conceived of witzend as a haven where he and his peers could publish personal work and burst the chains of mainstream comics. Though 'personal,' it must be said, often meant drawing generously endowed women flaunting bared breasts." – Dana Jennings, The New York Times
"It felt like a fan publication, but was produced by professionals. It appeared at the dawn of underground comix, but featured standard genre material, including a (great) Wood jungle hero named "Animan." And, most significantly, it had a philosophy that proved problematic, though intriguing." – Jake Austen, Chicago Tribune
Exposing the seamy underside of Martin Goodman's publishing empire, this never-before-told history of Goodman's pulps and scandal sheets and the Marvel artists who worked for them is chock full of unseen art. Blake Bell is also the editor for our sumptuous Steve Ditko Archives. Congrats!
A massively overdue collection of Online Commentaries and Diversions, now on a weekly (or so) basis:
Review: the Absolute on The Amateurs by Conor Stechschulte. "Where The Amateursand Stechschulte truly shine are the moments of calm reflection that heighten the tension between episodes of violence and dismemberment. The butchers continually discuss their predicament, shifting between sorrow, fear, rage, and exhaustion." – Marie Anellothe Absolute
Review: Comics Worth Reading recommends An Age of License by Lucy Knisley. "Like the best travelogues, An Age of License shows you what it would be like to visit a place while reminding you that you can never have the same experience. If you liked her last book, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, you should definitely check this out — there are some food mentions you’ll appreciate, but where Relish focused on past events, An Age of License gives more insight into the person Lucy Knisley is now." – Johanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
Review: The Irish Times discusses how The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez exemplifies the strengths of the graphic novel format. "As ever with Hernandez, it’s funny, complex, unsettling and beautifully drawn. It’s also a reminder that a graphic novel can do things that a novel told in straightforward prose simply can’t." – Anna Carey, The Irish Times
"That's the fascinating paradox of John Severin's war comics, and of Kurtzman's war comics in general. A story like "Night Patrol!" may have all the details of the soldier's uniforms correct, portray their formations precisely and even be photo-referenced from the landscape of the region in which these men hike. But what really stands out here (maybe my favorite piece in the book due to its noir feel) is the sense that the men are trapped by their surroundings and their job, oppressed by the desolate landscape, unfeeling sky and cold rain that conspire to make their lives miserable." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
Review: The Comics Alternative examines the political and historical contexts of Wallace Wood's Cannon. "For anyone familiar with spy fiction, the stories serialized in this collection are fairly standard, often serving as political mirrors that reflect the disillusionment felt by soldiers and veterans exiting the Vietnam War. In the course of the book, Cannon fights South American insurgents (led by Hitler in disguise, of course), domestic terrorists, right-wing militias, emasculated conmen, and neo-Nazis (but not the ones led by Hitler in disguise)." – Kenneth Kimbrough, The Comics Alternative
Check out this amazing video on S. Clay Wilson, with highlights from the upcoming Pirates in the Heartland: The Mythology of S. Clay Wilson Vol. 1:
Review: Comics Bulletin on Mickey Mouse Outwits the Phantom Blot by Floyd Gottfredson. "This is a gorgeous, surprising, wonderful package of stories full of thrills, surprises and a heady level of quality cartooning. The twists and turns that the masterful Floyd Gottfredson delivers are wonders to behold. If you think that Mickey is just a boring corporate icon, you need to read his battles with the Phantom Blot." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
Review: Comics Bulletin on M.K. Brown's collected works in Stranger than Life. "Brown is one of those rare cartoonists who's been able to follow her own muse for most of her career, and while some of the material presented in this book has the sort of off-center approach that many of the bestNew Yorker cartoonists take (as in the excerpts above), other pieces are more freeform, more of what seems like a reflection of Brown's unique inner life; all bulbous people drifting through life, doing faintly ridiculous things for pretty much no good reason." – Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
Review:Comics Alliance looks at Inio Asano's Nijigahara Holograph and it's legacy of violence. "Nijigahara Holograph manages to do many things very well. It's a sprawling story that never loses its focus on characters. It's symbolically laden without being heavy handed...It carries a palpable dread that will haunt you well after you put it down." – Kevin Church, Comics Alliance
Review: HTML Giant on Cosplayers by Dash Shaw. "This comic looks to both examine and excise our notions of otaku, nerds, geeks, and the like. Cosplayers will strike a chord with anyone who turns to reading as an escape, be they lit-nerd, comic geek, messageboard troll, or a little mixture of all of the above." – HTML Giant
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
264-page black & white 7.25" x 10.25" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-749-9
"With crisp inks on heavy stock paper, Fantagraphics' BOMB RUN is a pleasure to hold and leaf through." –Spectrum Culturenbsp;
"All of these books are essential purchases for comics fans... These are the books that best show off how EC took genre stories seriously, striving to create comics that didn't treat readers as naive or ignorant." - Los Angeles Times
"Fantagraphics' current series of handsome hardcovers makes familiar material fresh by focusing on individual artists... it's never been easier to appreciate the contributions of these iconic inkslingers." - Chicago Tribune
240-page full-color 6.75" x 9.75" softcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-739-0
"...[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
"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
"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." – The A.V. Club
"This book is chock-full of intense faces and monsters and colors. Strong blacks, horror comics, mean revenge, strange surgery…It's all horror comics from before Fredric Wertham illegalized good-time comic books." – Vice
"The 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." – 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
Before the Amazing Spider-Man, before the mysterious Dr. 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 Comics Code Authority (adopted in Oct. 1954). These stories featured graphic bloodshed, dismemberment and blood-curdling acid baths as the ugly end to the lives of the dark and twisted inhabitants of Steve Ditko’s imagination.
Following up on Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, Blake Bell’s 2008 best-selling critical retrospective of Ditko’s career, Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 features, for the first time, spectacular full-color reprints of every story from those first two years of his career. Beginning with Ditko’s very first story to Ditko’s short stint in the Joe Simon/Jack Kirby studio, to Ditko’s eventual encampment at the Charlton Comics operation in 1954, readers will see the initial works of an artist already at a level of craftsmanship that exceeded most of his peers. The book also features editor Bell’s insightful introduction, providing historical background and speaking to Ditko's influence and his unique craft.
As great as the new cover for the forthcoming paperback edition of Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 looks on screen, it looks even better in person as we ogle the advance copies fresh out of the box today. And, of course, the guts are still phenomenal, collecting Ditko's earliest pre-Code horror and suspense work, expertly restored in full lurid color, and compiled by acclaimed Ditko biographer Blake Bell.
If you missed out on the hardcover edition of this volume, be sure to snap up this version right away — you can reserve your copy, and read an excerpt with 3 full stories, right here!
At four volumes and counting, our Steve Ditko Archives series continues collecting the early work by this prolific comics legend, and now we go back to the beginning for a new paperback edition of the sold-out first volume, Strange Suspense. This is the earliest, pre-Code stuff, which means that it's the grisliest and most horrifying, just like you like it!
Our downloadable excerpt includes the Table of Contents and two complete short stories: "Library of Horror" ("Good heavens! I've trespassed into the beyond -- and there's no escape!") and "Die Laughing!" ("I-I'm clearing out! This joke of Chandler's is too grisly for my taste!"), plus one of Ditko's eye-popping covers. Pre-order your copy today for delivery in June.