In celebration of the 25th anniversary of SPAWN, Todd McFarlane has opened his personal vault and is collecting the first seven issues of SPAWN in their original artboard form. Included in this SPAWN VAULT EDITION Artboard Book: •Never-before-published original art boards •New oversized (12.25”x 17.25”) hardcover book •Included in this special edition, are a few extra surprises from TODD. •Randomly selected books will be inserted with a one-of-a-kind sketch by TODD McFARLANE.

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.

Image joins the ever-growing list of publishers offering Artist’s Edition type books, closely following IDW’s established format. The spin here is every book includes a signature page, with 1 in 6 being notarized and 1 in 100 having a sketch on that signature page. Total print run hasn’t been offered anywhere, but McFarlane states in this video that 250 signature pages are being notarized and 15 signature pages will have a sketch, so if that’s 1 in 6 for the notarized pages and 1 in 100 for the sketched pates then the print run is 1500. A week after release Diamond listed the book as Backordered No Stock which basically means it’s sold out, but online retailers still have stock at a significant discount.

The book consists of a foreword by McFarlane, the first seven issues of Spawn with covers, and a one page biography. There are chapter dividers ending one issue and another beginning the next issue.

All the pages are from McFarlane’s files and we can assume all scans were done by the same person on the same equipment. Scans are sharp and clear with no softness or blur. Blacks are solid throughout with minimal gradients. Most pages are quite clean and white to off white, with some minor yellowing. Minimal correction fluid and minimal margin notes; since McFarlane was doing everything but colour the notes are all for the colourists. There is a nice mixture of Marvel paper for the first three issues and then Image paper for the rest.

The first issue has what looks like overlays pasted on the art boards; you can see where they don’t perfectly line up. There’s a clear colour difference between the overlay and the art board. They appear to be for lettering as the page inks frequently go below the overlay.

Not a lot of credits listed: Publishing Coordinator is Shannon Bailey and Art Director is Ben Timmreck. The design is minimal, utilizing enlarged panel images for end papers, indices, table of contents and chapter dividers. Colour is minimal as well, with a deep red on page headers and the Spawn logo here and there. Unfortunately the logo clashes with the contents, much like the cover. While there is a table of contents with pages numbers, no page numbers appear on the individual pages but do appear on the chapter dividers.

Production is excellent: thick matte paper stock in a sewn binding. Most pages lay flat when the center is smoothed. The book comes shrink-wrapped in a cardboard case with a colour sticker showing cover, UPC and advertising. We’re enticed with FREE offers of signatures, notary and sketches on the box and on a shrink-wrap sticker.