IDW proudly presents SERGIO ARAGONÉS’ GROO THE WANDERER: ARTIST’S EDITION, collecting a classic four-part story in its entirety by the Mad, Manic, and Marvellous SERGIO ARAGONÉS! Sergio began his career at Mad Magazine in the early 1960s and has been drawing comics ever since.

In 1982 Sergio, with his frequent collaborator Mark Evanier, launched Groo the Wanderer. Groo has since become one of the most memorable and loveable characters of the last 30 years. This Artist’s Edition measures 12 x 17 inches and features four oversized issues, including extras. Added bonus: the very first Groo story by Sergio (in redrawn form) will also be in this book. This Artist’s Edition is shipped in a custom cardboard box for maximum protection.

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 sixth Artist’s Edition from IDW, released in 2012. Four complete stories, including covers, all scanned from the original art. An introduction by Mark Evanier starts it off, and then the four full issues. A gallery of additional covers, title spreads and page layouts. Closing out the 168 pages is a one page biography of Aragones.

I mention the page count as the book was solicited with the IDW “standard” of 144 pages, and that number was still used after the book was published. Flipping through for this review and checking the gallery table of contents let me to the actual page count.

The gallery table of contents tells us the original art for Groo’s first appearance from Destroyer Duck was lost so Aragones recreated it for Groo Chronicles #2, and we’re lucky enough to have that included here as well. The double page title spreads are a thing of beauty, and including an extra seven from the full Epic run is a rare treat.

There’s no indication why this storyline from the Epic issues 96-99 was chosen. It’s a complete story and a great introduction to the book, with lots of interesting characters and locations to show off Aragones’ style. Here’s the note opposite the table of contents:

Sergio Aragones has been drawing Groo The Wanderer for 30 years. In that span of time he has kept most of his original art, thereby making this book possible.

Scans are clean and clear. Blacks are uniform, with no gradients. Blue pencil visible throughout, as are paste-ups and other production items from the pre-digital production age. The pages show little to no aging; not bad for material from 1992.

A seamless monochromatic design by Dahlk. Great integration of images in a layered presentation. The whimsy of the book was captured; I especially enjoyed Groo and Rufferto running along the bottom of the cover. Here are his thoughts.

This book gave me permission to explore a more humorous approach to design. Of course, the table was already set, based on the subject matter. It’s always fun, and a little daunting, to try to get inside the head of the artist. How is my design paying homage to his vision, without stepping on his toes? I would hate to come across, as if I hadn’t done my homework, and had no idea what this artist was trying to convey. I think part of being a good designer, is to also be a chameleon. You have to disappear into the book, and take on the characteristics of the book’s artist.

Production is excellent; IDW set the standard and they follow it closely. Sewn binding of thick matte paper stock. Most pages will lie flat after the center is smoothed down; binding is a little tight. The book comes shrinkwrapped in a cardboard case with a small black and white sticker showing cover image and UPC. The table of contents lists page numbers but the pages aren’t numbered.