P. Craig Russell’s The Selfish Giant and Other Stories Fine Art Edition

This beautiful 12″X17″ oversized hardcover features complete stories scanned from Russell’s stunning original art. While appearing to be in black & white, each page has been scanned in color to recreate as closely as possible the experience of viewing the actual originals—including blue pencils, notes, art corrections and more. Pages are reproduced at original size on heavy paper stock to provide fans, aficionados and collectors with the best possible reproductions.

This 128-page Fine Art Edition includes the following complete stories—all classic Oscar Wilde fairy tales that have been adapted to comics by acclaimed artist P. Craig Russell: The Selfish Giant, The Star Child, The Young King, The Remarkable Rocket, The Devoted Friend, and The Nightingale and the Rose.

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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 third Fine Art Edition from Wayne Alan Harold Productions focuses on P. Craig Russell’s adaptations of Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales. Original art pages presented in chronological order from 1992 to 2003. Plus an introduction by Russell and a one-page biography.

Something unique to the format is new hand lettering on old art pages. Here’s more information from the publisher.

The Young King, The Remarkable Rocket, The Devoted Friend and The Nightingale and the Rose were originally lettered digitally—and separately—from P. Craig Russell’s original art boards. 

For this special Fine Art Edition, we are hiring talented artist/letterer Galen Showman to hand-letter all four stories on Craig’s original art board, allowing for a more enjoyable reading experience—and even more beautiful art. 

This is a major extra expense for this book, but we feel that it is worth it to properly preserve these wonderful stories for posterity.

The lettering looks great. It has all the hallmarks of excellent hand lettering that has aged. Kudos to Showman.

Scan quality varies. The first two stories have some softness with the bottom half of the pages. The other four stories present very well. Gradients are visible in the blacks. Margin notes on quite a few pages with snippets of dialogue. Blue pencil is used sparingly, as is correction fluid. We do get to see pentimento throughout, pencil lines of unfinished art not inked.

Even though the art varies by a decade it appears aged to the same extent: light tan throughout with some browning at the edges.

The design has advanced this volume from the previous WAH Productions works. A bright full-colour cover and bright endpapers. An engaging font on the title page, colophon and introduction. And cover art as chapter dividers when available.

Production is excellent: sewn binding of heavy matte paper stock. The book lays flat when the center smoothed, except for where the signatures are glued. The book comes in a white padded envelope with a black and white sticker showing an interior image with title, price, UPC, ISBN, and publisher.

Because of the limited print run WAH Productions switched printers and a cardboard case for the book was not available. Thus the padded envelope.

I found two spelling mistakes in The Young King. Altar was spelled Alter (see interior 9 and 12 above). Once in pencil on the page and once in the newly inked dialogue, so Russell must have spelled it incorrectly and Showman followed. I checked Wilde’s original text to confirm it’s Altar and then checked the NBM Volume 2 and it’s Altar.

Russell’s adaptations of Wilde’s fairy tales are among my favourite of his work, and this collects the bulk. If you’re a fan and looking for the others they appear in P. Craig Russell’s Murder Mysteries and Other Stories Gallery Edition. Sadly no The Happy Prince in AE format has been published, and as Russell notes in his introduction he’s still working on The Fisherman and His Soul.

This was first released through crowdfunding in December 2019 and now via Diamond.