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EXCLUSIVE: IDW Publishing’s Artist’s Editions of Gil Kane’s Spider-Man and Mark Schultz’s ‘Xenozoic Tales’ [SDCC]

Regular ComicsAlliance readers are very aware of this site’s affection for not just the great comic book and sci-fi/fantasy/pin-up illustrators, but also the handsome, deluxe volumes in which their work is often compiled. There is no better meeting of artwork and archival reproduction than IDW Publishing’s luxurious Artist Editions, which reprint classic comics work at the same size as the original art, scanned in high resolution from the original pages.

Thursday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, IDW announced its newest products in the auspicious line: Kil Kane’s The Amazing Spider-Man Arist’s Edition, which collects 1970s material that’s absolutely crucial to the Spidey mythos such as the infamous LSD storyline and “The Night Gwen Stacy Died”; Mark Schult’z Xenozoic Tales Artist’s Edition, collecting six issues of the 1980s cult hit adventure series; and a much demanded new edition of Dave Steven’s The Rocketeer Artist’s Edition, the volume which inaugurated the A.E. series.While the massive, true-to-life size of IDW’s Artist’s Editions is impressive enough, what makes these books especially cool is the fact that the original artwork is scanned in color. This way, readers can see blue-line sketches, the color of the original paper, editorial notes in red ink, and all the other subtleties that go a long way towards approximating the experience of looking at the original pages in your own hands. Additionally, the reprint stock is meant to be as close as can be found to that upon which the artwork was originally created. You can see some examples of this in my piece on The Rocketeer, which includes many images from IDW’s various Dave Stevens art books, which were scanned in color.

Click images to enlarge

Gil Kane’s The Amazing Spider-Man Artist’s Edition collects the late master’s work on The Amazing Spider-Man issues 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, and 121. Among those stories is the memorable LSD story which Marvel published in the 1970s without the Comics Code Authority seal of approval. Kane’s work on this story is hugely innovative, and his work on “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” is arguably the most critical Spider-Man tale in the history of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s superhero. Additionally, this volume comes with the story that introduced Morbius, the Living Vampire.

“These Spider-Man stories by Gil Kane are the ones my generation grew up on,” said Special Projects Editor Scott Dunbier, “The ones we read and reread until they fell apart. Now we can look at them with a fresh eye and see these stories as we never have before.”

Coming in at 216 pages for $125, Gil Kane’s The Amazing Spider-Man Artist’s Edition will go on sale in November .

Xenozoic Tales is a real surprise. This is arguably the most cultish release of the Artist’s Edition line, and the original material is no longer in print (although you can still find trades from the Dark Horse reprints circa 2003). Which is not to say the work isn’t gorgeous, as it very plainly is. Starring the talented mechanic Jack Tenrec and the beautiful scientist Hannah Dundee, Xenozoic tales invokes the sexy, high-adventure pulps of the golden age with a story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where dinosaurs have retaken the Earth. The work is truly masterful.

“If Mark Schultz was drawing in the 1950s he would have been very much at home working for EC Comics,” said Dunbier.

“I look forward to seeing my pages reproduced at full size with a mixture of both fear and
excitement,” Schultz said. “Given their excellent track record, I have no doubt that the folks at IDW will do this book up right.”

Coming in at 144 pages (including a cover gallery), measuring 14″ x 20″, Mark Schultz’s Xenozoic Tales Artist’s Edition is planned for release in June 2013.

Finally, by popular demand and due to the fact that it won the 2011 Eisner Awards for Best Archival Project and Best Design, IDW will reissue its Artist’s Edition of Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer. The book will come with a new cover and go on sale at the beginning of 2013.

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