Creativity of Steve Ditko by Craig Yoe Book Review Vintage Sleaze
As I only pretend to be a comic book historian, and as I contributed to Craig Yoe's The Art of Ditko to the extent that I am graciously thanked in the introduction, this is not a review. It is, however, a brief essay about art, history and a hearty recommendation.
Yes, Craig Yoe has done a fantastic job again, but one expects that from Yoe Studios. In fact one expects no less than META fantastic, a legacy which must be similar to the "third album slump" rock groups face. They shoot the best material on the first one, dribble out a few more on the second, and having spent it all, fade to the pale afterglow of nostalgia shows on VH1. But Yoe has kept it going for dozen books…he is in it for the long ride.
Yoe keeps growing and keeps digging. Serious artists grow, and Yoe grows like Kudzu. He digs up roots of comic art and shares the bountiful harvest. The Creativity of Ditko is no exception, and if you thought you knew Ditko you have much to learn.
I first found Yoe with Secret Identity. A book so fascinating and courageous it still amazes me. Yes, there was always a hint of smut in the comics of old…Kefauver went after them as where there was smoke, there was a raging pulp fire. He didn't find it, nor did he win the election he hoped saving youth from perversion would accomplish. It took Yoe to find the dicey parts, and when he shared an unseemly truth from the 1950s, he shined light on more than Superman's fortress. He revealed an entire unknown history with real life shady characters which make a James Ellroy novel plausible.
For me, the value and audacity one expects from Yoe is here in the hidden origins of Spiderman. There has been hints and speculation about the role fetish artist Eric Stanton played in the invention of Spidey, and that can now be confirmed. First through the rare photographs of the two young artists in their Hell's Kitchen studio (previously unpublished and simply fantastic) and second in the lovely essay by Eric Stanton's daughter in which she reveals her father kept a secret his entire life…that alone makes this book a major contribution to art history (and a vindication of sorts for those, like myself, who see hypocrisy on a massive scale when it comes to art, commerce and censorship…a hypocrisy which I attempt to point out here on a daily basis.)
There is plenty more for comics historians, fans and anyone interested in art. Not just comic art, but ART. Rare visuals, rare insights and rare truths…I expect no less from Yoe and this volume, beautiful, impressive and true, delivers.
One more? Yoe grows like a well-fertilized Chlorophytum comosum. Look it up.
THE CREATIVITY OF DITKO on Amazon