FANTAGRAPHICS' STEVE DITKO BOOK Fantagraphics Books has announced a June release of the first critical retrospective of Steve Ditko, the co-creator and original artist of the Amazing Spider-Man, timed for the release of Ditko's 80th birthday. Strange & Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, by Blake Bell, will be a 220-page hardcover that will cost $39.99. "For the non-comic- book reader," said Bell, an author and essayist for the Marvel Comics line of Ditko-related Omnibus reprint projects, "we tell the narrative of Steve Ditko, the artist, from humble beginnings in Johnstown Pennsylvania; to the dizzying heights of co-creating Spider-Man; to the spectacular Howard Roark-like determination, and tribulations, in bringing his personal and philosophical vision to a recalcitrant audience. "There's a fantastic, dramatic storyline running through Ditko's career; the artist having walked away from the Spider-Man franchise -- and the billions it was to generate -- as it was reaching the height of its popularity. What price did Ditko pay, and what was the impact on his work?" The book is also geared for hardcore Ditko fans. "We explode many of the myths surrounding key moments in Ditko's career, as well as present reams of rare and unpublished Ditko artwork," Bell said. "For the comic art scholar, we also break down the 'hows' of Steve Ditko as a great sequential storyteller, dissecting his work in depth for the first time, also with analysis and commentary by some of the most skilled and articulate comic creators of the day." They had me at "Steve Ditko", but the prospect of some unpublished Ditko art has me frothing at the mouth! t: Hope it's Spidey-related!