P. Craig Russell’s Strange Dreams Artist’s Edition

This gorgeous 12″ x 17″,  Artist’s Edition features two classic stories by master artist P. Craig Russell. The first is the final Killraven collaboration between Russell and McGregor in Marvel Graphic Novel #7, followed by Russell’s Doctor Strange: What is it That Disturbs You, Stephen? Both stories are complete and stand-alone adventures and delicately delineated in Russell’s lovely illustrative style. Rounding out this Artist’s Edition will be a gallery section with earlier examples of Russell’s Killraven and Doctor Strange works.

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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.

Collecting work from two very different periods, P. Craig Russell’s Strange Dreams Artist’s Edition allows comparison of this fine artist. Offered up are two stand alone and complete stories, Killraven and What Is It That Disturbs You, Stephen, along with covers and an introduction to each by Russell. Following these is a gallery of early Russell Marvel work, and a one page biography closes this volume.

Scans are clear and clean with no softness. The work is from two different eras of Russell’s work, with the Killraven pages using a judicious amount of Zip-A-Tone, margin thumbnail sketches and blacks showing a wide degree of gradients. Interesting to see people’s names and addresses on pages as well; shipping information for buyers? Some corrections visible, either through correction fluid or new text pasted into word balloons.

The Doctor Strange pages are in Russell’s current style and present much cleaner. Most pages have the word balloons drawn and lettered on the page, while others are pasted on. No margin notes. Blacks show minor gradients.

Bold colour choices for Dahlk’s design. The black and red very aggressive, with the green accenting the indices and title pages. I especially enjoyed the characters in the thought balloons opposite the Killraven introduction.

Production is excellent, as is befitting a book from IDW’s Artist’s Edition line. Sewn binding of heavy matte paper. The book comes shrink wrapped in a cardboard case with a small colour sticker showing cover image and UPC.

There is some issues with page ordering, as the table of contents appears after the Killraven introduction. It’s wonderful to have introductions to both work by the artist, but there should be some indication he wrote them.