Friday, August 15, 2008

NYT reviews Blake Bell's Ditko book

Book Review - 'Strange and Stranger - The World of Steve Ditko,' by Blake Bell - Review - "When an anonymous donor recently gave the Library of Congress Steve Ditko’s original artwork from the 1962 comic book “Amazing Fantasy #15,” the issue in which he created Spider-Man with the writer Stan Lee, barely anyone took notice. One of American comics’ great visual stylists, Ditko also had a hand in the development of both Iron Man and the Hulk, but his characters’ subsequent mass-media careers have made him neither rich nor particularly famous. He drew his greatest work for a flat page rate; Lee, his collaborator, was the grinning public face of Marvel Comics, while Ditko has refused all interviews and public appearances for decades. The comics scholar Blake Bell’s overview of Ditko’s career, illustrated on nearly every page, is anecdotal and critical rather than strictly biographical. Bell didn’t have much of a choice: the endnotes reveal that he corresponded with Ditko for several years, but that in 2003 the cartoonist decided that both author and publisher were “anti- Ditko” and repudiated them."


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