IDW had some announcements at Wondercon this past weekend, but the one that caught my eye was the release of Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition. Here’s their blurb:
San Diego, CA (April 1, 2011) – IDW Publishing is thrilled to announce the expansion of the company’s acclaimed Artist’s Edition series with WALTER SIMONSON’S THE MIGHTY THOR: ARTIST’S EDITION. Launching in July, this oversized, hardcover collection will present Thor 337-340, Simonson’s first classic story arc, which introduced Beta Ray Bill, and Thor 360-362, Simonson’s choice for the second arc in the book. WALTER SIMONSON’S THE MIGHTY THOR: ARTIST’S EDITION will be the first in a series of Artist’s Editions featuring legendary creators and comics from Marvel.
“I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to be able to do a book like this,” said IDW Special Projects Editor, Scott Dunbier. “Each page is shot from Walter Simonson’s original art and printed same size—really just too cool. Thanks to Marvel Entertainment for being so enthusiastic about this project from the start!”
Debuting at San Diego Comic Con, WALTER SIMONSON’S THOR: ARTIST’S EDITION leads with Thor #337, a groundbreaking issue in modern comics that introduced Beta Ray Bill and kicked off Simonson’s legendary run on this fan-favorite title. All the pages in the ARTIST’S EDITION have been scanned from Simonson’s personal original art to ensure the highest possible quality reproduction. While appearing to be in black and white, each page was scanned in color to mimic as closely as possible the experience of viewing the actual original art—for instance, white-out corrections and blue pencil notations.
WALTER SIMONSON’S THOR: ARTIST’S EDITION ($100, hardcover, black and white, 176 pages, 12” x 17”) will be available in stores in July 2011. ISBN 978-1-61377-038-2.
This is the second volume in the Artist’s Edition series, the first being Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer Artist’s Edition. That was released last year at the San Diego Con and later through Diamond distribution: I have a copy and it’s stunning. It’s a hardcover collection of scanned art pages at full size, no colour; as close as you can get to owning the original art. Since Stevens kept almost all his original art this kind of project was possible.
Now we have the second volume in the series from Walt Simonson, another artist who keeps most of his original art. The older the art the harder it becomes to assemble a full story so this series of books will no doubt focus on stories where the original art has been kept together. Plus it will need to be old enough to have lettering applied to the page so that leaves out at least the last decade of digital lettering. If it’s just art pages with no words it becomes an art book and not a comic hardcover. Price is certainly a concern but I doubt IDW would release more than two of these volumes a year.
The interesting item from this press release is “will be the first in a series of Artist’s Editions featuring legendary creators and comics from Marvel”. Dunbier is quoted as saying “we actually have a fair number of Artist’s Editions that we’re working on, at San Diego we’ll probably announce a couple more at least“. Looking forward to it.