Spawn: Vault Edition II

TODD McFARLANE has once again opened his personal vault to showcase SPAWN #8-15 in their original artboard form! This new oversized SPAWN VAULT EDITION art board book will include never-before-published original artboards, plus a few extra surprises from series creator TODD McFARLANE—including the chance of a one-of-a-kind sketch by McFARLANE himself, which will be inserted into randomly selected books! Collects SPAWN #8-15.

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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.

McFarlane goes back into his archive of original art for a second Vault edition, this time collecting Spawn issues 8-15, including covers. All pages are from original art. Along with that material is a foreword by McFarlane and a one-page biography. Plus, every copy includes a signature page signed by McFarlane. While it was solicited as Vol 2 the colophon and cover show Roman numeral: Vault Edition II.

The scans are very nice, with some minor softness on a few pages. Very few gradients are visible in the blacks. With McFarlane handling the pencils and inks, we see a lot of margin notes for the colourist, Steve Oliff or Reuben Rude. Also on every page is the title, issue and page number. Limited blue pencil or correction fluid visible. The occasional paste-up for word balloon corrections; I did spot two spelling mistakes. Pages are off-white to mild yellowing.

The design is clean and well defined, closely following the format established in the first volume. Colophon, table of contents, chapter dividers, and biography all on an angle with clean enlarged art. The table of contents lists page numbers, which only appear on the chapter dividers. The art is full-page size vertically with small margins horizontally.

I believe the design is by Ben Timmreck, who also worked on the first volume. Unfortunately, the credit titles are a bit nebulous, with Timmreck as Art Director and Jordan Butler as Production Artist, which I’m guessing means the scans.

Production is excellent: sewn binding of heavy matte paper stock. The binding is good but there seems to be a large number of signatures, and where they’re glued together those pages don’t lay flat. It is 208 page after all. The book comes shrinkwrapped in a cardboard case with a colour sticker advertising the contents but not the price. This may be the first time I’ve seen the sticker horizontally on a vertical book.

I was surprised when I saw the box sticker at my local comic shop: none of the solicitations mentioned every book being signed, even though this was a big part of the first volumes online promotion. And once I started this review and searched online for an official image of the book’s cover, I came across a post from McFarlane dated April 2019 saying “ALL BOOK will be autographed yours truly. And 1 in 100 books will have a RANDOMLY inserted ORIGINAL SKETCH hand drawn by ME!!“.