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Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko (Anglais) Relié – 17 juillet 2008

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4,5 étoiles sur 5 32 commentaires client

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Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko

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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5 32 commentaires
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Tragic portrait of an innovative artist 10 juillet 2013
Par DJ Joe Sixpack - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
"Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko"
Written by Blake Bell
(Fantagraphics Books, 2008)

This is a highly-readable, well constructed appraisal of comicbook pioneeer Steve Ditko's life and artistic output over a six-decade career. Ditko is of course best known as the co-creator of the iconic superhero Spider-Man, as well as the mystical Dr. Strange and as an early, pivotal contributor to the "Marvel style" of the early 1960s. As detailed in this book, Ditko's glory years quickly imploded, following a bitter break with Marvel Comics in 1966, when Ditko left the company because of editorial differences and also because of disagreements regarding payment and ownership of creative works. After that, his career went into a steady decline, sometimes gradual, sometimes precipitous, and Ditko himself became increasingly difficult to work with and psychologically inflexible.

Much of Ditko's inability to maintain his exalted stature in the comicbook industry came from his rigid adherence to Ayn Rand's "objectivist" philosophy, which valued severe, uncompromising moral ideals and an individualist rejection of social norms that were deemed too lax and unprincipled. Ditko took this ideal to amazing extremes, and after an initial appreciation of the artist's brilliant early work, author Blake Bell has to tackle the unenviable task of detailing Ditko's professional and artistic decline, detailing one burned bridge after another. The structure of the book is much like Bell describes Ditko's art: it is streamlined and fluid, with full attention paid to telling the story, and little that is extraneous to the narrative. What's hard, though, is the arc of the story itself, as a cranky, prickly, embittered Steve Ditko undercuts himself at every turn, pursuing Rand-ian storytelling as his "true" calling, while viewing the outside, mainstream comicbook industry some sort of occupied, enemy territory.

I remember reading as a kid in the 1970s a couple of Ditko's self-published Objectivist screeds -- one collection of his Mr. A adventures, as well as the bafflingly bad, essentially unreadable "Avenging World." This was roughly around the same time that Ditko made yet another last-gasp effort in the mainstream, with the DC series, "Shade The Changing Man," which I enjoyed, though at the time I had no idea that in fact "Shade" was the anomaly, not the other way around: after charting Ditko's working biography, Blake Bell devotes a short, final chapter to a straight-ahead critique of Ditko's Objectivist work, boldly but honestly asserting that Ditko lost his way and forsook his artistic muse in favor of preachy, awkward, tendentious philosophical harangues that no one wanted to read, other than as curios and career post-mortems.

Sad, but true.

Bell offers Ditko redemption with the inclusion of several pages of pure, delicious artwork at the book's end (in addition to the illustrative samples included throughout...) The oversized reproductions of several Ditko comicbook covers from the 1950s are a special treat, vividly reminding us of the power and vitality of Ditko's style. Of course, a great deal of Ditko's work has been reprinted over the years, including noteworthy editions of his classic Atlas horror and sci-fi stories, so you can recapture the joyfulness of his work, if by chance this book leaves you feeling a little depressed. (Try the second volume of the Marvel Masterworks "Tales of Suspense" anthologies, as well as the Craig Yoe-curated "The Art of Steve Ditko," which reprints a bunch of stories done for Charlton Comics a few years earlier. Great stuff.) (DJ Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain book reviews)
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A great overview of a great artist's career 14 janvier 2014
Par Paul Kirchner - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
It was the work of Steve Ditko that first attracted me to comics as a child, moreso than that of Jack Kirby. I purchased this book partly to revisit Ditko's artwork, but also to learn more about the strange path his career took. The book is eminently satisfying on both scores. The art looks as inspired as I remember it, assuring me that my admiration for Ditko was justified. The story is well researched and superbly told--I could hardly put it down. Bell obviously holds Ditko in high regard and tells his story sympathetically and insightfully. Unlike some reviewers, I am completely in agreement with Bell's assessment of Ditko's output in recent decades, when his obsession with delivering dry lectures on objectivism have overwhelmed any effort to create characters or tell a story. At the same time, I respect Ditko more than ever as a man of principle who is doing what he thinks is right, however much he has sacrificed for it economically. He is a towering figure in the history of comics, unique in both his talent and personality.
42 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Ditko, a fascinating and uncompromising artist 21 août 2008
Par Grant - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This is an incredibly entertaining book. Looking at the cover, one can tell they are not looking at just another comic book artist. Opening the book one sees the first glimpse of Ditko, a five page black and white story called "Stretching Things". The story is a look at a man grown bitter by his handicap, so much so that a possible cure to his condition doesn't bring a happy ending, but a descent into evil. This isn't your average "comic book artist". The book is a entertaining yet somber look at the career and art of Steve Ditko. The author touches lightly on his pre comic book days, perhaps too lightly in that the interesting tidbits of his life that the author gives us wets the appetite of the reader but leaves us wanting. The book quickly jumps into his career as a comic illustrator, Eisner, Foster and Jerry Robinson being his early inspirations.

The book has a nice balance between text and what most Ditko fans really want to see, his art. There are nice full page splashes of art opposite the beginning of each chapter. The chapters covering his time at marvel and charlton are laced nicely with art of Spiderman, Dr.Strange, Captain Atom, as well as his later Charlton work with pictures of Blue Beetle and The Question. There is a very interesting chapter on his time working at Warren, the publisher that put out the "Eerie" and "Creepy" magazines of the late 60s. This is interesting in that it shows some of Ditkos "wash" technique, a water/ink brushwork style of art of which Ditko was a master. The book covers his time at Marvel and the historic clashes with Stan Lee that drove him to work at other companies such as DC where he created characters such as "The Creeper" and Hawk&Dove and Charlton where he had more creative reign if less pay.

The book examines Ditko and his objectivist philosophy which he would incorporate into his work often. Such work as "The Question" and his "Mr. A" are examined at length, and holds the reader captive and left wanting more. The efforts of Ditko to keep his work uncompromising are as epic as any Ayn Rand novel. There are a lot of treats for those looking for rare and often unseen Ditko art. The last thirty pages of the book are dedicated to nothing but Ditko art and sketches. A chapter on Ditkos relationship with comic fandom has plenty of examples of his "fanzine" work.

Stories of comic book artists who didn't receive proper credit or compensation for their work are frequent when talking about gold and silver age artists. The book is, if anything, as much an indictment of the industry as it is a look at the artist. The battle over who owns art (and in some cases who "stole" art), over who created what and who didn't are exposed with jaw dropping effect. With Ditko however, the stain on the industry looks even greater by comparison than it does when held up to giants like Kirby or Superman creators Seigal and Shuster. Ditko doesn't come off as being "handled" or "paid off" or "swept under the rug" like so many companies did with artists who were vocal about creative rights. He comes off as an artist who kept his integrity intact, a rare character trait in any era. Ditko was about the "work" not about the money. One can't help reading this book and walk away looking at Marvel, DC, or Stan Lee in the same light.

The end result is both a sad and heroic tale. But Ditko is not easily defined, and when the author tries to do just that in the last chapter, he misses the mark. The author seems conflicted in the end, longing for the Ditko of old, bemoaning the increasing amount of "telling" text in his art rather than "storytelling". He wants to both exalt and scold Ditko for his uncompromising attitude at the same time. The author talks about how Ditko found Marvel/DC just churning out the same old bland retreads of characters come and gone, unwilling to be innovative. He complains about how Ditko spent too much of his story on the villains juxtaposed with Ditkos objectivist vision of "Hero" as opposed to the flavor of the day, the conflicted, or "anti-hero" that had gained popularity. Yet the author makes statements about how Ditko had "become chained by the trappings of the superhero genre".

It's not hard to see that Ditkos work was a scathing commentary on the "anti-hero" and on what superhero comics had become in general. Clearly, Mr. Bell seems somewhat conflicted about exactly what he wants to say regarding Mr. Ditkos legacy. This is a thankfully short bit of editorializing on the authors part to be sure. Yet the author, by trying to define what Ditko is, or had become fails to allow for the possibility that Ditko might have been evolving into something that has no definition. An artist, a master at visual storytelling, an essayist, a commentator on society, one might even say a political illustrator. Combining all of those, one comes up with something that hasn't been seen before or since. Something that eludes even the author. Something new, creative, sometimes polarizing, but definitely original and always indefinable. I couldn't begin to put a name to it, all I can say is that it's pure Ditko. This book tells and shows an incredible story. I wish it was a hundred pages longer. A must have for any comic collector.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The mad genius of Steve Ditko 14 octobre 2011
Par T.M. Finney - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Not only is Steve Ditko one of my favorite artists, he is also one of the most fascinating personalities in the history of American comics. If you too are a fan or if you are a student of American comic book culture and history, Blake Bell's book, which is equal parts coffee table art book and well-researched biography, is utterly fascinating.

The presented art, a mixture of pages as they appeared in print and scans of Ditko's original black and white artwork, is beautifully reproduced. It is organized mostly chronologically and it is fascinating to watch Ditko's art change and mature as he hones his craft. There were a few cases where I had to go searching on other pages to find the art referred to in the text, but for the most part, this book is well-organized and designed in this regard.

As for its biographical content, Bell, an outsider to Ditko's world, does an admirable job showing how Ditko absorbed the work of the artists he admired in his youth (especially Jerry Robinson, whom he studied under, and Mort Meskin, whom he worked with for a time when they were both employed by Simon and Kirby) and how he developed the unique art style that made his best stories, especially his work on Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, so distinctive. He also brings great insight into his pivotal partnership with Stan Lee, and how his discovery of Ayn Rand's objectivist philosophy turned him into a real life Howard Roark, a man willing to blow up his career over a set of principles only he could fully understand. Bell shows us the shades of gray in a man who believes in only black and white.

In the end, Bell leaves it up to the reader to ponder whether Mr. Ditko is a sad figure cheated of both the money and the credit for his role in creating Spider-Man or an uncompromising American iconoclast admirable in his stubbornness. What he leaves no doubt about is that Steve Ditko is an American comic book legend.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Yet another person who loved this book! 28 avril 2011
Par A. Parham - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Even though everything I'd say in praise of this book has already been said a zillion times by the other 5-star raters I wanted to add another perfect score to the list! A great book that I can't recommend highly enough (especially to Ditko fans).

The biography of Ditko is as comprehensive as you're going to see anywhere and the vintage Ditko artwork is a real treat. The author does a good job of doing an impartial assesment of even the most contraversial moments in this artist's life (until the last chapter which is essentially an essay in which the author mourns Ditko's strict philosophy of no compromise and how it kept him from high-paying, high-profile jobs in later parts of his life).

Ditko would say that you should never form your opinions based solely someone else's heresay but PLEASE TRUST ME AND THE OTHERS WHO GAVE THIS BOOK 5 STARS AND ORDER IT NOW! You won't regret it.
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