From the people who bring you the Eisner Award-winning Artist’s Edition series, comes the next Artist’s Edition portfolio: the legendary G.I. JOE Year Book #2 by Michael Golden. The cover and all 22 interior pages are all presented here on individual pages that mimic Golden’s gorgeous original art. And, remember, this is a HARDCOVER portfolio—like the Neal Adams Thrillkill and Bernie Wrightson Much Monster portfolios before it—and matches the exacting quality of all previous Artist’s Editions.

As with all original artist’s gallery editions, 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.

The complete Michael Golden story from G.I. Joe Yearbook issue 2, twenty-two plates. Unlettered art on one side and lettered art on the other. The following notes are included:

Note: the lettering for this story was done on opaque vellum and adhered to the art after it was inked. Since initial publication, portions have been damaged or lost entirely. The remaining lettering has been removed from the art, restored, and mounted on clear acetate. The restored balloons in the story, appear as stark white. Additionally, since there are now, in essence, two versions of the original art – one with lettering on acetate and one without – both versions are printed on opposite side of each portfolio plate.

Special thanks to Albert Moy for generously allowing these pages to be scanned.

The marks on the art where the glue held the word balloons are clearly visible, but in no way detracts. Scans are clear and clean. Blacks show minor gradients. No margin notes. Pages show minor ageing, with slight yellowing. Judicious use of Zip-A-Tone.

It’s interesting to see IDW use a standard design with colour variation for their Artist’s Edition portfolio line but not with the book line. It’s a great look and works very well as packaging for the individual plates.

Production is excellent. Very heavy matte paper stock. Thick hardcover stock for the portfolio with a glued pocket for the plates. It’s a tight fit to get all twenty-two back in at one time; I have to insert them in two batches.

Golden’s art from this period is stunning and really shines in this portfolio. A complete twenty-two-page story of prime Golden art: yes, please. Being able to view the art with and without the word balloons is a very nice touch and greatly increases the value of the portfolio. It provides something we wouldn’t get with an Artist’s Edition book.