First announced during October' New York Comic Con, the DC Comics graphic novel Batman: Death by Design has become one of the new comics projects I'm most looking forward to in 2012. Set outside the confines of DC's New 52 universe, the story of Death by Design deals explicitly with the construction of Gotham City, one of superhero comics' most iconic locales that has obviously inspired some excellent graphic design and illustration over the decades. Auspiciously, Death by Design is the first graphic novel written by Chip Kidd, the award-winning graphic designer and Dark Knight documentarian behind such works as Batman: Animated, Batman: Collected and Bat-Manga!; illustrated by the supremely skilled Dave Taylor (Judge Dredd); and edited by DC's VP of Art Direction and Design Mark Chiarello.

We previously looked at some concept sketches and other Death by Design drawings by Taylor, but DC has released a new set of increasingly gorgeous images that track the artist's process from script to finished page. Check them out below.Taylor discussed the project at DC's The Source:

"This book is the culmination of all my years dreaming of working on a special Batman project, this is the summit," said Taylor. "Chip's writing, his total knowledge of the character and his environment, has made this a very special story. It's full of what I call Batman reality. The tone and feel of this book are as close as anything I've read to a real sense of being. Gotham exists. The Batman is real. All these people are as real as you and I. And the story then is real also. The amount of research I did on it's own shows that I was into something way bigger than I'd first thought. I now know more about 1939 than I do about the year of my birth! The book contains some of the truth behind how a city is built, literally. The corruption, and misplacement of power rings true to the point of making this book a timely record. But what this book does above all is show how easy it can be to bring that corruption and power down, all you need is one hero!"

Batman: Death by Design goes on sale in May of this year.

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