Pretty Deadly, Volume One: The Shrike, Vault Edition

Pretty Deadly Vault Edition cover

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of PRETTY DEADLY, Emma Ríos has opened her personal vault and is sharing the first five issues of PRETTY DEADLY in their original, detailed artboard scale.

Collecting the opening arc of the surprise-hit series that marries the magical realism of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher. Death’s daughter rides the wind on a horse made of smoke and her face bears the skull marks of her father. Her origin story is a tale of retribution as beautifully lush as it is unflinchingly savage.

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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 site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Pretty Deadly Volume One The Shrike Vault Edition interior 1
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The complete first five issues of Pretty Deadly, plus a cover gallery and extras including character designs, roughs, and sound effects. It’s a full collection that should satisfy fans of the series and Ríos, but lacks any personal touch that an introduction, afterword, or biography would provide.

This is the third AE format book from Image and it’s always interesting to see how the work will be described. Here we have “original, detailed artboard scale” which does an excellent job. It’s a modern work so there is no lettering, just complete artwork corner to corner.

The photos are darker than they should be, mainly the bottom left corner, even after applying white balance. Please keep in mind that the pages are very white. The art fills the page at the top and bottom with a small margin on the left and right. Each issue is separated by a simple text page, as the covers are double page spreads and appear the main body.

The scans are very well done; clean and clear with no visual issues. Every page has heavy blue pencil and blacks with some gradients. Most pages have a simple margin note along the top denoting issue, page, and artist. No paste-ups or correction fluid; Ríos skillfully moved from blue pencil to ink. The art presents wondefully, with panels practically leaping off the page.

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The design is minimalistic, with no colour used and black with a grey font for almost everything. It’s stark, but the the flecks on the black pages and the text border designs hint at much more. Endpapers are two different enlarged images that show very well.

Production is excellent: a sewn binding of a heavy matte paperstock with a minimal coating, in the 160 gsm range. Most pages lay flat when the center is smoothed, except when the signatures meet. The book comes shrink wrapped in a cardboard case that has a sticker with title, writer and artist, price, and barcode.

This was solicited in September 2023 for November and then was changed to April 2024. Perhaps the realities of getting a book this size printed and distributed warranted the change.

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The extras really flesh out this work. It’s always informative to see character designs and pencil roughs, showing the creator’s process and the works’ evolution. Plus, those sound effects!

Ríos provided this about the book:

This came up because we wanted to do something special for the anniversary and the materials were easy to find. I don’t sell original art from my creator owned books, the ones I didn’t have at home were at Kelly Sue’s. A few of them are dedicated in the margin:)