Rating: 5/5 – Another Masterful Presentation of Original Comics Artwork
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
I’m a long time fan of the IDW Artist’s Editions. Series Editor Scott Dunbier is, in my opinion, no less than the patron saint of original comics art preservation. He uses his connections to beg and borrow these precious artifacts so they can be scanned at high resolution and presented to fans of comics in these massive tomes.
The color scans show the original art at its original size warts and all (in this case approximately 11″ x 17″). But I love seeing the age, the white out, the paste ups, and the margin notes. These are not books to be bought simply as a collected edition to read the original stories, though I love that you can also do that. These allow fans of the comics art form to pore over the pages and feel the energy in the black and white art as created by the masterful Jack Kirby and inked by Joe Sinnott.
Take a look at the full page splash from FF #83 showing the Inhumans as originally designed by Kirby. Even better when seen at the full 11″ x 17″ size cradling this massive volume on my lap. If there is any negative to these at all it is the challenge in finding a place to store these massive books and also in comfortably reading them. But I wouldn’t have them any other way, I love the presentation of the art at full original size. I’d also like to give a shout-out to designer Serban Cristescu. There is some really nice spot varnish on the Kirby Krackle on the front cover, as well as on Jack Kirby’s signature and the images of Johnny, Ben and Reed on the back cover.
This edition presents Fantastic Four #s 71, 82, 83, 84, and Annual 6 (with the introduction of Annihilus and the birth of Franklin Richards). We also get stories with the Inhumans, Doctor Doom, and a handful of additional pages, splashes, and covers that Dunbier was able to round up and toss in as extras in the back of this volume. At $100, some fans will consider this exorbitantly expensive. Considering the cost of even a single page of Kirby FF original art, I consider this to be one of the biggest bargains around. I’m hooked on these volumes, though I must admit to preferring the ones reproducing older art that have the word balloons pasted on to those presenting newer art where the letters are added digitally during production. Even though I don’t buy them primarily to read the stories, I do appreciate being able to do so as an added benefit. I cannot afford to get every single volume they put out (I wish I could) but as long as IDW keeps creating them, I’ll keep trying to find a way to set aside the funds to buy as many as I can!
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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