San Diego Comic-Con 2011 hosted the debut of the Walter Simonson’s Thor: Artist’s Edition. The book is scheduled for wide release next Wednesday, August 3, but attendees at the convention were able to purchase the exclusive San Diego Comic-Con edition of the book which is limited to only 300 copies. Walter Simonson was in attendance and signed countless copies of this book.
Published by San Diego comic publisher IDW Publishing with special permission from Marvel Comics the original publisher of the material, the book collects the original art from Simonson’s seminal stint as writer and artist on the character’s comic book. It starts off with the introduction of Beta Ray Bill in the first story arc from Thor issues 337-340, and continues with the reproduction of issues 360-362.
This collection was made possible because Simonson has held onto every single page of art from his ground breaking run on Thor in the 1980s. While the art is in black and white the scans were done in color to capture the original blue line marks of the artist. These are the lines that do not appear in the final production of the book. Also captured by this process are all of the art corrections done directly on the page with white-out and correction tape. This is as close to owning the original art as anyone has ever gotten and is a great way to see the art in its rawest form. The way the artist originally envisioned the book.
While getting the chance to see the original artwork on these issues of Thor is amazing, the stories are also wonderful to read. The introduction of Beta Ray Bill into the mythos of Thor not only redefined the character of Thor in the 1980s but also introduced one of the most beloved characters from Marvel in the horse-faced Bill. The second story collected here is the war against the Asgardian Goddess of Death, Hela. This story is an epic battle in Thor’s home of Asgard involving Asgardians from every corner of the Norse mythology.
The package presented by IDW Publishing is also gorgeous. A sturdy hardcover surrounds the book with the use of color to frame the cover image that is in black and white. The paper is from thick stock and feels heavy enough to stand the test of time. This book is a thing of beauty and a real treasure for any art collector and comic fan.
IDW Publishing also announced at San Diego Comic-Con the next books in their Artist’s Edition collection. Over the course of the next year IDW will release John Romita’s The Amazing Spider-Man: Artist’s Edition, Wally Wood’s EC Stories: Artist’s Edition, Will Eisner’s The Spirit: Artist’s Edition, and available now is the original Artist’s Edition:Dave Steven’s The Rocketeer: Artist’s Edition.
The Comic-Con Exclusive edition can be found only in the secondary market in such places like eBay. The regular edition can be purchased anywhere comics are sold by special order or directly through IDW’s website.
The decision: This is a spectacular book. Not only is it a unique way of viewing the original art in a book but the book also has two stellar Thor stories within.
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