Frank Miller’s Daredevil Artifact Edition (IDW)

Miller DD Artifact

CREDIT: IDW / Marvel

Rating: 5/5 – A Must Have for Fans of Vintage Frank Miller Art.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

I’ve talked about IDW’s Artist’s Editions before.  They are reproductions, at full size, of the original art used to make a comic book.  In the case of this volume that’s about 12″ x 17″.  They are also full-color reproductions of the black & white original art, which may at first seem kind of strange, but in reality allows you to see blue lines, light penciled notes in the page margins, white-out, tape, etc.  You can see the age of the pages as some are yellowing a bit.  It really is a great representation of what looking at an actual page of original art is like.  And given that any single page of Miller Daredevil art sells for $1000s nowadays, suddenly the $100 price tag for 149 pages of art starts looking like a pretty good deal…at least it does to me.

An Artist’s Edition reproduces complete stories by an artist.  So while it’s not ideally meant to be used like a big black & white collected edition, you can theoretically use it like one and read complete stories.  An Artifact Edition, like this one, is a bit different.  The folks at IDW (editor Scott Dunbier in particular) were not able to hunt down complete stories of original art.  In the interests of sharing historically significant works of comic art, they put together an edition like this one with as much Miller Daredevil art as they can lay their hands on.  Which gives us 106 pages of art from multiple issues from Daredevil #159 through 190, including nearly complete issues for #175 and #181.  Add to that a double page foldout of a Daredevil poster and the wraparound cover to Elektra Saga #4.  Then they add in 4 pages from Spider-Man Annual #15, 2 pages from Bizarre Adventures #28 featuring Elektra, and 4 pages from Miller’s Wolverine mini-series issue #2. They bring it home with 24 Miller covers, 18 of them from his run on Daredevil and 5 pin-ups and house ads!  This is a cornucopia of Miller art, including some of the strongest examples of his work from the era that helped him rise to legend status in the comics world.

While this is not a replacement for the collected editions of Miller’s Daredevil, it’s a wonderful tome for fans of his art that want to see what it looked like in its raw form, white-out and all!  Personally, I love these tomes and am eternally grateful to Scott Dunbier and IDW for pioneering the format that has now been copied by a number of other publishers.  If you’re a fan of Daredevil and seminal Frank Miller art, this is a must-buy.  I have a hard time giving any of these IDW editions less than a 5/5, they’re all absolutely wonderful.  If you have a favorite character, artist, or era of comics that has received the IDW Artist’s or Artifact Edition treatment I urge you to save up your shekels and buy some of them.  But, fair warning, you’re going to need a BIG shelf to hold them!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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