Q&A with Scott Dunbier: Session Two

For 2018 Scott Dunbier graciously offered to answer our Patreon patron’s questions monthly. Our first batch of questions was substantial and broken into two parts; if you haven’t please see Session One.

10. How do you decide which volumes warrant variant covers?

It depends on the artist and the book. Some are no brainers, like the World’s Greatest AE—that cover of Fantastic Four #72 is so spectacular that it HAD to be a variant cover. Some people have suggested that it should have been the main cover. Fair enough, but that would mean an FF book without the Fantastic Four on the cover… it works for a limited run but not the main book. With a book like the upcoming John Byrne’s Artifact Edition, John won’t be coming to San Diego so we are releasing a variant cover with a signed and numbered bound in plate—with the near-legendary status of John’s run on the X-Men it made sense to me.

11. Is there any chance that IDW Artist’s Editions could ever be published in a digital format? I understand this may be something that only seems valuable to a smaller market but for those of use with larger monitors I believe it would be a remarkable experience. Perhaps a digital code could be inserted in the books as an add-on if the idea of selling them separately seems unfeasible. Being able to look through my AEs on a lazy day on my 12.9 iPad Pro would be sweet!

I never want to say never, but I really LIKE books, and the point of these books is to mimic the look, feel, and nuances of original art. But, of course, you’re asking this of a guy who has every AE page saved digitally! How about a definite maybe? (which is a big step from my previous “no way” answers).

12. Do you have any interest in writing a book on the subject of your pursuit and publication of original art? Since you began the AE program I have become more and more interested in the process behind the final project, it’s fascinating to say the least! If not a book perhaps a speaking tour (come to Atlanta…Beers on me) or more self published videos on the subject? I understand some stories have to be more confidential than others to maintain access to certain collections but inquiring minds DO want to know how it’s done. Please understand this question is coming from someone that has NEVER purchased or owned any original art but now owns the majority of AE books IDW has to offer, it’s truly my highest compliment when I say “you started this’!! Please give this some serious thought…I know I’m not the only one that feels this way. 

Hmm, a book is an interesting idea. But how many people would really care? LOL, I have to be honest and think that very few people would care… but I am flattered that you are one of those few. Maybe I’ll write a broader book sometime. I’ve been thinking about a memoir (although, again, not sure who would care), I could include a chapter or two of AE related stuff. Would almost have to include something on that topic. I think I would enjoy writing a book, but it would most likely need to wait until I retire before being published.

13. We have had artist editions or artifacts from most of what scholars and fans would consider to be the top artists of the classic era of the medium… Kirby, Toth, Eisner, Kubert, Colan, the EC bullpen. Ditko is of course not represented yet, but I want to ask: Where is Bill Everett? Any chance of a Bill Everett artifact edition? However, it needs to be shoehorned… Bill Everett Artifact, Best of Silver Age Marvel, Sub-Mariner, Legends of the Comic Books… Lets get it made!

I agree 100%, but it would take some serious digging on my part. Maybe part of a larger book, an anthology of some sort… I’ll mull it over.

14. Now that Marvel has regained the Conan license are any plans or talks under way to get some of the great Conan artists represented? Barry Windsor Smith, John Buscema, etc.

LOL, could be, Rabbit…

15. Will the next EC AE be devoted to a specific artist or will it be a compilation?

I have two in my head, one I can talk about now. I would like to do a book of nothing but EC Covers… but many of them have been published already in other EC books. Let ME ask a question (of you and the Patreon folks)—would that be a book you would like to see and consider buying? I really love the idea of 130 plus EC covers in the AE format… how about you?

16. Is the portfolio line dead? And if so will we see an AE of the collected portfolios?

Looks like it. The sales aren’t so bad but the cost to do a hardcover portfolio is prohibitive. Too bad, I think they are cool.

17. Have you ever started an AE with just an idea but without knowing where any of the artwork was? Or did you always have a starting point? 

Ha, many! I have so many scans of potential books. I keep collecting Arthur Adams Marvel scans in the hope that one day I will reach the magic number where I can put one together. Same with John Romita and Al Williamson’s run on Daredevil (and Man Without Fear); would LOVE a book.

18. Any upcoming special editions you can let us know about (signed/variants/sketched), or any upcoming ones you can’t let us know about?

Well, I spilled the beans on the John Byrne one above. There will be TWO variants at Comic-Con for Jack Kirby’s Marvel Heroes and Monsters… one a hero, the other a… well, you know. 😉

19. What caused the G.I. Joe Artifact Edition to be cancelled?

Lack of sales.

20. The AE lines are numbered in the indices. If Steranko Vol 2 was supposed to be 31, what happened to number 20?

Hey, never said I was good at math!