Dave Cockrum’s X-Men Artifact Edition

By 1975 the X-Men had been relegated to reprint status for a number of years, and the title was not a safe bet to become one of the most popular comic book franchises of all time—but with the launch that year of GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1, by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum, that is precisely what happened! Dave Cockrum was the artist and architect of this newly revamped team, and he co-created Storm, Colossus, and, perhaps most notably, Nightcrawler. After the runaway success of Giant-Size X-Men #1, the title began producing all-new stories with X-Men #94… and the rest is the stuff comic book dreams are made of!

This Artifact Edition contains more than 100 pages from Cockrum’s initial run on X-Men, as well as some pages when the artist returned later for a second run on the characters several years later. As with all Artist’s Edition style books from IDW Publishing (which have so far won six Eisner Awards), the pages presented were all scanned from Cockrum’s actual original art and are printed at the same size they were drawn, mimicking the look and feel of the artist’s hand-drawn work. As an added bonus, there is a gallery section featuring covers, sketches, and a few surprisesthis is an art book MADE for fans of Dave Cockrum’s X-Men art!

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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.

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An impressive collection of page from Cockrum’s work on Marvel’s X-Men. Pages from every issue of Cockrum’s first run on X-Men, with an impressive gallery of additional X-Men art. Plus a lengthy introduction by Chris Claremont giving some inside information about the formation of these famous issues. A double-sided fold out for some extra large art. And for something extra an afterword by Clifford Meth. And closed out with a one page biography of Cockrum.

Scan quality is excellent, with nary a soft panel. Based on the number of people thanked these pages came from a wide variety of sources and environments: they have aged from off-white to yellow and tan. Black gradients vary page by page, but the inks really pop. Correction fluid throughout. Margin notes on a lot of pages, but because the borders were trimmed for printing those notes get lost. Aw, good old glue staining.

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Dahlk brings his usual panache to this design, with two-tone covers and pages. Then he ties them together on the title and colophon pages; love the shadows as an almost greasy haze but in the best possible way. Character design pages as endpapers work beautifully.

Production is of IDW excellence. Sewn binding of thick matte paper stock. Pages lay flat after smoothing the center, except where the signatures are glued. The book comes shrink wrapped in a cardboard box that bears a colour sticker with the cover image and UPC.

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IDW seems to have changed printers, as the box design is quite different than previous volumes, with all parts glued in place. As well the shrink wrap is quite thick.

It was great to see so many pages from Giant-Size X-Men #1, but the splash to issue 94 blew me away. Actually, most of the splashes are truly wonderful works of art.