Bernie Wrightson Artifact Edition

The Bernie Wrightson Artifact Edition collects some of the best work from the artist’s DC Comics years: Covers, splashes, and interior pages, as well as some rare and never-before-seen art. Included are many covers, including House of Secrets #92 (the first appearance of Swamp Thing) and Swamp Thing #1, all scanned from the actual original art!

Measuring 12 x 17 inches and containing THREE foldouts, this is the ultimate book to date on legendary artist Bernie Wrightson.

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As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index.

This Artifact Edition covers the early part of Wrightson’s DC work with a light sprinkling of later pieces. Most impressive are the three foldouts, presenting six pages of extra-large goodness. The book is split between Swamp Thing in the first half and DC horror in the second half. Being an Artifact Edition the book is made up of available art but this time we get two complete stories, The Siren Of Satan and Molded In Evil.

It’s wonderful to see finished pages, prelims, commissions, covers, and colour work. The breadth of mediums showcases Wrightson’s abilities. There’s also a few spots where the pencil roughs are on the left and the finished page on the right, allowing a peek into Wrightson’s process.

Along with the art we have an introduction by Michael Kaluta, an afterword by Kelley Jones, and the book closes with a one page biography of Wrightson.

These pages come from a large number of collections but Dunbier has done an excellent job of scanning the material: the pages are clear and clean. Aging is another story, with paper colour running the gamut of light tan to medium brown. Blacks vary greatly, with some page having visible gradients and others not. We’re treated to some blue line and correction fluid, but it’s infrequent. Pages were trimmed for printing but it doesn’t look there were any margin notes or doodles; just printing information adorns the edges.

Another excellent design by Dahlk. An interesting use of geometric shapes, hard angles and colour on the indices, table of contents and chapter dividers. A refined skill for using the volume’s art to highlight these pages is present throughout. Two standard covers were offered along with a convention variant, and each has a different combination of the three main colours used.

Production is IDW’s consistent excellence. Sewn binding of heavy matte paper stock. The book comes shrink wrapped in a cardboard case with colour sticker showing cover image and ISBN.