This is an art book, not a traditional collection of comic books, featuring rare and beautiful imagery, a collection for connoisseurs of the form. Simonson’s groundbreaking work on Fantastic Four and other Marvel titles helped revolutionize the comics medium and his work is on full display here in all its original, high-resolution glory!
Collecting eight complete issues from Walter Simonson’s run on the Fantastic Four, #337–341 and #353–354, story and art by Simonson.
- IDW Publishing, October 03, 2023
- ISBN 9798887240350
- 12″ x 17″, 204 pages, hardcover
- $150 USD
- Order online: Amazon, Things From Another World, Books Etc.
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.
Two complete stories from eight issues that are written, pencilled and inked by Walter Simonson. Nothing missing, complete with covers. Plus, an introduction by Simonson and a one-page biography to close it all out. This is how Artist’s Editions are meant to be.
Scans are crisp and clean, with the only issue being the splash to issue 340 that is slightly blurry. Editor Scott Dunbier scanned all the pages himself. Simonson keeps all his artwork so these have been stored in envelopes since publication and have aged very well, with pages going a light tan. I took my photos in the sun and they get darker as you move from top to bottom: the art is uniform. Blacks show limited gradients, but that seems to be from the type of ink used. Minimal use of correction fluid. A whole lot of paste-ups, all yellowed from the rubber cement. No margin notes, since Simonson was doing it all. Every page neatly marked along the bottom with title, issue and actual art page number, not page of publication. No visible pencils.
I really enjoyed Dahlk’s design here. The colour cover moves through the book as two different shades, along with a tech/circuit esthetic in the boxes throughout. Image enlargements are spot on. Chapter dividers act and a wrap up of the issue, appearing opposite the last page, as each issue begins with its cover. Page numbers in the table of contents but no numbering of the actual pages.
Production is excellent: a sewn binding of heavy matte paper stock. The book lays flat after smoothing the center, except where the signatures meet and are glued. I seemed to have hit a lot of those as I was taking the pictures. The book comes shrink wrapped in a cardboard case which has a colour sticker showing the cover image, ISBN, UPC and price. The box is the standard IDW style where the left side opens fully to get the book out.
I had forgotten what a pure joy it is to have an Artist’s Edition with complete issues telling a story. While that’s generally what is provided in French AE format books, I struggle with the language. This book was a harkening back to the early Artist’s Editions when the possibilities were endless and they were all complete issues telling a story. Then we had Artifact Editions, because something was better than nothing, when pages are scattered to the four corners. Then that label became passé and Artist’s Editions became a random collection of comic art, an art book. But Walter Simonson’s Fantastic Four Artist’s Edition brings it back to being a comic experience.