Jim Lee DC Legends Artifact Edition

Jim Lee began his career at Marvel comics in the mid-1980s. Rising in popularity at a rapid pace, he soon took over the company’s flagship title and made it his own: The X-Men. In the ‘90s, Lee formed his own company, WildStorm Productions, which was later bought by DC Comics, allowing the artist the opportunity to draw the adventures of some of comics’ oldest and most iconic superheroes: Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, to name a few.

This Artifact Edition will focus on the last 25 years of Jim Lee’s storied career, showcasing his rendition of the Dark Knight Detective, as well as the last Son of Krypton, all the while placing his own unique stamp on each character. Additionally, there will be examples of WildC.A.T.s and other pre-DC work.

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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 really could be called the Jim Lee Poster Edition. Taking out chapter dividers and text pages there are 129 pages of art. From that are 49 covers, 2 pin-ups, 1 poster, 1 print, and 75 interior pages, many of which are splashes or half splashes. There is a lot of poster-like images of characters posing, which is Lee’s specialty and thus should make this volume appealing to the fan base. Along with that is a table of contents and at the end a one page biography.

This one seemed completely out of left field when announced since Graphitti Designs has been releasing “modern era” DC AE format books with IDW releasing silver age DC. Scott Dunbier announced this is the last IDW AE format book for the foreseeable future. Let’s hope this means Graphitti Designs will pick up their recent page of two volumes a year.

Scans are clear and clean, with no visible issues of softness or blur. There are some oddities in the colour of the pages. While yellowing is to be expected on comic pages, several Batman: Hush pages show as gray to steel blue. Since this is only happening on select pages from a run, and all the paper is official DC art paper, this is most likely a scanning issue. It’s quite noticeable since they are opposite normal slightly yellowed pages.

Blacks vary greatly, from no gradients to very visible gradients. Surprisingly few margin notes since Lee worked with Scott Williams inking these pages. We do get some pricing at the top of pages, like 18k and 25k on the Metal covers. As well very little correction fluid used on corrections; mostly used as a medium on the art. Plus a complete redesign on the biography page, with a background image and prominent photo of the creator.

A very clean design from SERBCO! as usual. Burgundy and gold on the chapter dividers and endpapers, with a more brown colour with gold on the title page and colophon. Oddly the cover colours don’t appear in the interior design. Excellent panel enlargements throughout.

Production is good: thick matte paper stock in a sewn binding. This is the tightest binding I’ve encountered from IDW, as the book would not lay flat when viewing the front or back of the book, as seen in the photos. Gently stretching the binding didn’t resolve it. The book comes shrinkwrapped in a cardboard case with a small colour sticker showing cover image and UPC.

A truly excellent artifact edition of Jim Lee art. For the amount of inking Scott Williams contributed to this volume his name should be more prominent, with 112 of the pages his inks.

Surprising there isn’t more very new Lee interior artwork available, especially Justice League. Only eleven people thanked indicating a small pool of sources for this art.

Jim Lee DC Legends Artifact Ed HC

from Things From Another World