Now we're talkin'! The first two volumes in Fantagraphics' Steve Ditko Archives (edited by Blake Bell) were rewarding collections of the offbeat auteur's early work, and among the best archival books of horror comics published in the last several years. But in volume 3, a.k.a. Mysterious Traveler, we see Ditko's lunacy reach its full maturation, in 237 pages of stories from titles like Charlton's Unusual Tales and Strange Suspense Stories -- all of which were originally published in 1957 (the man was that prolific). 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 evident throughout. And his characters the Mysterious Traveler and Dr. Haunt prefigure bizarre DC heroes like The Phantom Stranger and Mister E. Volume 3 is essential for classic horror comics fans, and further cements Ditko's reputation as an artist without peer.
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