Frank Thorne’s Ghita An Erotic Treasury Archival Edition Volume 1

In 1978, fresh off his run on Red Sonja, Frank Thorne went on to create the lusty warrior-goddess, Ghita. Imbued with the spirit of a mighty general, she would lead a rag-tag band against bloodthirsty armies, and along the way get in some tumbumping. This initial volume showcases some of Frank’s earliest art of Ghita including her first appearance in the erotic epic “Ghita of Alizarr,” early character designs, un-produced movie storyboards, the Wizard and Warrior Women portfolio, pin-ups, and covers. This edition, measuring 11” x 17″, the artwork has been scanned from the original pages in colour to ensure the closest reproduction.

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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.

Presenting Thorne’s first volume of Ghita in its entirety, along with a plethora of ancillary material: sketches, character sheets, pencils, and much more.

Let’s talk about the size of the book. The pages are 12″ x 17″ with a margin, presenting the original art at 11″ x 17″. The product description says “the artwork has been scanned from the original pages in colour to ensure the closest reproduction”. The chapter “Unseen World of Ghita” has this to say:

Most artwork done for comic books during the late 70s and early 80s was drawn on 11″ x 17″ Bristol; this is the size Throne worked on when he drew his previous series for Marvel, Red Sonja. When Frank started drawing Ghita of Alizarr, he used similar Bristol stock for the first page of the story (opposite page). Thorne then decided to re-draw this page and the rest of the story using 15″ x 21″ art board.

So we’re not getting the art as it is, but at a reduced size. It was originally solicited as 15″ x 22″ and 144 pages at $129.99, which is still reflected in the Amazon description “This oversized edition, measuring 15″ x 22″, presents Frank’s artwork full size, as originally drawn”. The same for the current Diamond listing for retailers. Here’s a link to the page on Hermes’ site from August 2016 with the same. Like a lot of people I preordered this book based on its solicitation information, and feel cheated paying the same price for a book of reduced artwork and reduced page count.

Scans of the main story have a softness to them, or perhaps a slight blur. It’s most noticeable on the text, especially the page numbers. Perhaps a result of the art reduction? Most of the art extras a clear. Blacks show some gradients. All but two pages are from original art, and those two are not from the main story but included for completeness. Pages have aged very well; all are off white to very light tan. No margin notes at all, but with Thorne doing it all that makes sense.

The design is excellent. Great use of artwork images on chapter dividers, carrying the cover colour throughout as a unifying element. Switching to grey for the endpapers and table of contents images didn’t seem to fit.

The book closes with an index, listing where all the art came from. It’s a wonderful addition and an excellent resource. Peck’s chapter introductions give just enough information to keep the reader informed and interested. A biography of Thorne would have added that finishing touch.

A sewn binding of matte paper stock. Production is good, but not at the level we’re used to for this type of book. And it’s in the comparison that this volume suffers. The paper is a decent weight but is thin compared to others. The book comes without a box or even shrink wrap, which surprised me for a $130 volume. Add to that the reduced size and soft scans.