Frank Miller’s Daredevil Artifact Edition

Frank Miller's Daredevil Artifact Edition cover Proper

This Artifact Editions will collect more than 20 Miller covers, and a staggering display of pages—all shot from the original art—including many from key issues such as the introduction of Elektra… and the death of Elektra! Additionally, a selection of pages from Wolverine and Spider-Man will also be showcased. If you are a fan of Frank Miller’s classic storytelling then this is the Artifact edition for you!

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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.

Here is a collection of everything available from Frank Miller’s time at Marvel. And while the book is mostly filled with Daredevil material IDW has snuck in some Wolverine, Bizarre Adventures and Spider-Man pages as well, plus an assortment of covers. Now this is an Artifact Edition so there are no complete issues here, just a group of what could be found.

Miller fans will revel in the material contained; bold and arresting. The pages have aged, with colour varying from light tan to yellow, brown and pink. They’ve been scattered to all manner of collectors around the world but none of them suffer from the aging colours.

The scans are clean and clear; only one cover seemed a bit soft. A minimal amount of correction fluid around word balloons and character outlines. Generous use of Zip-A-Tone, but it was the 1980s. Blacks are deep and very uniform.

It’s quite a collection, with Daredevil pages starting everything off, followed by Spider-Man and Wolverine pages. In between is a stunning foldout of the Daredevil poster art and an Elektra Saga cover. After that are the covers and then selected pinups, including those wonderful Marvel Universe characters. Closing everything out is a Miller biography.

Design is clean, subtle in its colour choices and fluid in the art chosen. Character dialogue peppered amongst the indexes gives an air of playfulness. Small panels for the first endpaper and one large panel for the second endpaper. Excellent as always. Here are Dahlk’s notes on the design:

It would be hard to design something related to Daredevil without incorporating the color red. So instead of fighting against it, I decided to embrace it. The color choices were actually closer to the CMYK process colors. The blue is close to cyan and the red is sorta close to magenta, but not really. I know that may not make a lot of sense to you, but to me it does. Sorry…  

I wanted to use circular design icons through out. It represents Daredevil’s sensory perception, Bullseye’s mask, braille, and without sounding too philosophical, the story ends up coming full circle. When using particular elements, there is always a fine balance between “enough” and “too much.” Hopefully I didn’t cross the line. I think it’s entertaining to have a common design thread running through the book. I look at it as being a bonus.

Production is top-notch IDW. Heavy matte paper stock in a sewn binding. The book comes without shrinkwrap in a cardboard case with a small colour sticker showing cover and ISBN barcode. Oddly IDW shows the preliminary blue cover on their website still, almost a year after publication. The red cover shown here is the one you’ll find for sale.