Exclusive Preview: Steve Ditko’s Unexplored Worlds

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Before Steve Ditko made his name as the co-creator of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, he had a reputation as a versatile cartoonist–in science fiction and horror comics, as well as a handful of others–who could work incredibly quickly. He had to: his main client in the late ’50s was Charlton Comics, which paid the princely sum of $6.50 per finished page of art. The bulk of Unexplored Worlds, the second volume of the Blake Bell-edited collections of Ditko’s early work (which arrives in comics stores this week), comes from the more than 450 pages Ditko drew for Charlton in 1957 alone–a year he made some substantial creative leaps. Courtesy of Fantagraphics Books, we’ve got a sampling of gorgeous, freaky pages from Unexplored Worlds, originally printed in comics like Tales of the Mysterious Traveler and Out of This World.

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