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Word Balloons: Gift ideas target people who like comic books
You’re sure to agree with some selections and disagree with others. That’s part of what makes a project such as this so much fun. For a closer look at the early work of a master, check out "Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1” ($39.99). Edited by Blake Bell, who wrote the recent Ditko retrospective "Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko,” "Strange Suspense” offers 200-plus pages of pre-"Amazing Spider-Man” art from Ditko. Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, is a reclusive innovator who worked with Stan Lee in the early days of Marvel. This collection contains macabre stories from Ditko early in his career, in the pre-Comics Code era of 1953 and 1954. For an often-humorous, always enlightening look at the stories behind the comics, check out Brian Cronin’s "Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends” ($14). Cronin, a columnist for Comic Book Resources, investigates the truth behind many of the comic-book world’s urban legends. Fans who want a full-featured reference to the characters of Marvel Comics may like the newly updated "Marvel Encyclopedia” ($40), which covers everyone from The Abomination to Zzzax, and provides a decade-by-decade Marvel chronology as well.