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Unexplored Worlds: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 2 Hardcover – Dec 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books; Reprint edition (December 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606993801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606993804
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 2.5 x 25.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #716,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Even if you ve read the first volume [of The Steve Ditko Archives], Unexplored Worlds offers plenty more surprises.... As always, Fantagraphics top-notch presentation makes the publisher the go-to stop for comics preservation. --Rod Lott"

Ditko is one of the most elusive and complex characters of comics golden age, but these volumes ( with illuminating forwards by Blake Bell) at least give a compelling glimpse into the creative development of the man behind the panels.--Chris Mills"

Fantastic... Raw and grotesque and beautifully drawn and presented.--Dave Gibbons, co-creator of Watchmen

About the Author

Steve Ditko continues to create comics in his studio in New York City.

Blake Bell is the author of Strange & Stranger (a retrospective of Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko); The Secret History of Marvel Comics, Fire & Water: Bill Everett, The Sub-Mariner, and the Birth of Marvel Comics; Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives; and Strange Suspense and Unexplored Worlds (two volumes in The Steve Ditko Archives). He lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his son.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa434bb04) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa32cc0c0) out of 5 stars Vol 1 was much better March 3 2012
By grafdog - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me say that without a doubt vol 1 which includes a very diverse line up of stories and continuous experimentation by Ditko in art style, has much more zing than the pedestrian stories in vol 2 which were written under the comics code.
Similar to EC comics extra, are the post code ditko stories.
Nothing shocking or wild in the stories, and other than a couple of bold artistic masterworks, they are very mundane and downright forgettable.

That being said it provided a modest momentary diversion on occasion. But with the overall cookie cutter short story format I tended to start reading stories twice before I realized I had read them already.

Format wise its excellent, with nice paper(a bit thinner than in vol 1) and great reproductions right from the original comics.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa41a6c00) out of 5 stars It is far better than Volume One. Oct. 27 2011
By Red Eyes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It is far better than Volume One. Whilst the first volume has consistently great artwork, the stories, narrative and prose styles are really poor for the most part. In the second volume, all the stories are from the stage when comic books were under the thumb of the comics code regulations. Popular wisdom says that when the writers and artists had to give in to these conservative code restrictions, the integrity and value of the work was gone, to be replaced by 'safe', dull stories.

There is a lot of truth in that statement of course -- so much of the inventiveness and wit and art disappeared from comics when the new control mechanisms were in place.However, the opposite is true here -- clearly, Ditko did feel restrained -- but he reacts by producing some clever, thoughtful , reflective artwork for the stories here, to compensate for the limitations placed on him by the comics code and the authors,and the art work is astonishing on every page.

One to buy and value and read again and again. Looking forward to Volume Three for sure.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2959294) out of 5 stars amazing!!!!!! Jan. 9 2012
By SALRUNARAT - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
the stories are very unique, the artwork will literally take you into another world. I love Steve Ditko, I seriosuly reccomend him to anyone, you'll be treating yourself to a truly unique experience. Get this and volume 1, volume 3 will be released soon. you'll enjoy them!
HASH(0xa2959360) out of 5 stars Ditko vs The Comics Code Feb. 8 2012
By Hwy61Joe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Two interesting things about this volume which continues the representation of the early works of Ditko's career: First, these stories happened after the Comics Code Authority tightened its grip on the comics community forcing a dramatic change in content. Interesting to see the results of Ditko's creativity within these guidelines. Second, this volume presents Ditko's work in the order they were produced, not necessarily the order in which they were published. I wondered about the seemingly random order of the stories in volume one, now it might make a little more sense! Anyone who loves comics SHOULD love Ditko and therefore this collection is must reading!!!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa294f234) out of 5 stars Nice to look at, difficult to read Dec 19 2012
By Michael Grabowski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
These comics, mostly from 1957, mostly from Ditko's work for Charlton, are plain awful to read for the most part. The stories are junk and nonsense, written largely in a far too serious a tone but with no attempt at logical plotting to support it. This is true of other 50's comics, of course, not least some of the EC work that is otherwise revered, but in this collection there are so many terrible stories that it is difficult for me to read more than one or two at a time.

The saving grace is the purpose for the book's existence: Ditko's art. This early in his career he had already developed his unique style. Do you ever freeze frame an athlete in action? A pitcher just after a throw, a boxer about to punch, a hurdler in mid-jump? We see heroic leaps and gestures and poses in the photos that get published, but if you ever see the rejected pictures taken of the transitional moments between "poses", or the still frames in a video, you'll see a human body under exaggerated exertion look all distorted, awkward, and just plain wrong, and yet for the instant that image shows, that person had that position. Jack Kirby's art gives us the glorious classical, powerful poses. Steve Ditko's focus is on illustrating that awkward moment, even when power is exerted. Fingers splay, arms flail, eyes are wide. The only characters who move with confidence are the villainous ones shortly before their newly-inflicted Comics Code-mandated comeuppance.

Another strength is his characters' faces and features. Distinctive, unusual hairstyles--no Toth glamour here--especially women's hairstyles and men's facial hair. For perhaps a hundred lead and supporting characters in dozens of stories cranked out in roughly a year's time, I don't think he ever repeats a single face in different stories. Every one is a new face. Compare to (for instance) several of the EC artists who seem to have casts of recurring players in different roles in their comics.

In those faces Ditko powerfully illustrates people in the midst of desperation, obssession, paranoia, panic, maniacal glee--so much so that when he draws someone happy, as in the occasional romantic conclusion in some of these stories, it actually looks forced. His approach to using the face and eyes to express a character's degree of anxiety as they weigh events and motives to make decisions to action is an aspect that is key to so much of his work.

Then there are the strange worlds he takes us too. In this collection there's not a whole lot of that but it is there is some stories and we see creative attempts to suggest invisible events in "this" world as well as impossible things out-of-this-world environments. Ditko's imagination in creating these places and images is unforgettable, a lasting contribution to comics art.

But the stories for which this art was created are a waste of time. It's difficult to justify even the Amazon discount price for this book, let alone the full cover price, for a book that works best if you can ignore the words. The art is well-reproduced, including the coloring, though I wish many of the off-register bits copied from the originals had been tidied up. I am curious about the other volumes in this series but I can't say I really want to pay for them, though I do believe this series is important for archiving Ditko's early and easily disposed Charlton work.